Summer Living at its Best in Reimagined Sydney Courtyard

Nestled in one of the city’s bustling harbourside suburbs, Joanne Green Landscape and Interior reimagined this Sydney courtyard to create a true inner-city sanctuary.

Having previously worked with the long-standing design and construction company, the client sought out Joanne Green Landscape and Interior to transform the outdoor space at their new home. The brief was to deliver a contemporary and tranquil area that would encourage indoor and outdoor living, encompassing space for outdoor dining as well as relaxed seating that could be enjoyed into the evenings with friends and family.

Set on a petite 40 square metres and positioned adjacent to the street, the creation of privacy while retaining a sense of openness was paramount. As was shade; the north facing property captured all day sun making the space beautifully light in winter but especially hot in summer months. Having a clear picture of what was required, Joanne Neylon, Landscape Designer and Director of Joanne Green Landscape and Interior worked towards realising the design, and demolition of the existing landscape began. A new levelled entertaining space with New Guinea Rosewood decking created the foundation for the design, and from there layers and details were added in the form of planting, lighting and furniture.

Custom planters were designed and built to fit within the space, framing the central entertaining areas. Along the western side of the property, custom fiberglass planters in Dulux Monument were installed above the decking and planted with Zoysia tenuifolia. “Zoysia is a fun plant with a unique look – it’s also low maintenance. Privacy wasn’t a concern here so the planting didn’t necessarily need height,” said Joanne.Large powder-coated steel edging framed the newly created garden beds that were positioned at the front of the property,creating a sizeable space for a fuller garden, which would ultimately grow to provide privacy and shade. “We included a number of custom features in this design, but my favourite would be the Rosewood gate – it was a small design feature which serves a functional purpose but is equally beautiful,” Joanne added.

The plant palette included a classic mix of resilient exotics to create an informal result whilst providing interest, texture and movement to the space. Palms including Golden Cane (Dypsis lutescens) and Kentia (Howea forsteriana) were selected to add privacy from the street, shade and a sense of lushness, while Camellia (Camellia sasanqua) was chosen for its seasonal change. “Our client had specifically requested a plant that would add colour and something she could pick, so the camellia delivered this perfectly,” said Joanne. The front garden beds also included Buxus bodinieri, Rain Lily (Zephyranthes candida), and Azalea ‘Alba Magnifica’, while Chinese Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) and Stephanotis floribunda was trained to grow as a perfumed backdrop to the relaxed lounge area.

To make the outdoor space functional, the addition of small and subtle details was essential and included strategically placed outdoor lighting, installing irrigation, and relocating gas services to accommodate a barbecue. “Lighting is often something people overlook in a design but is an important element especially for those wanting to enjoy Sydney’s warm evenings outdoors,” Joanne commented. “We used a mix of overhead, wall, step, barbecue and garden lighting in a classic bronze finish to complete the space.”

Through inspired design and detailed construction, the project delivered was an undeniably stunning outdoor space. “It wasn’t until the client had arranged the furniture that I thought, ‘this reminds me of the south of France’,” said Joanne. “It was the combination of colours, the striped awnings, lush palms and perhaps the ‘apartment near the ocean’ locale that evoked these feelings. I love it, and I know our client is very pleased.”

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