How My Food Bag’s James and Cecilia Robinson doubled their time outdoors through clever landscape design
The Robinsons engaged Shearer Design to double their time outdoors by making their three-tiered garden more purposeful: a low-maintenance marvel for busy people that love to entertain. Cecilia Robinson specified a ‘lush, largely native outlook’ was key. They were conscious several areas of the garden were under-used, including; an artificially turfed section of grass, a sun trap on the deck, an outdoor dining room, and a jungle at the very bottom of the section.
To achieve this, principal designer Ben Shearer spent time honing in on how the family saw themselves spending time together and with others, then specifically zoned each area of the garden to support these interactions.
“Some spaces are for the children and their friends only (towards the bottom of the property), some spaces are perfect for children playing with adults (an artificially turfed strip of green on the second tier) and some spaces (closer to the house) are for adults and their guests to socialise,” says Ben.
- To foster socialising throughout summer and winter: Using an umbrella and bench seating, a dis-used sun-trap has been transformed into a shaded lounge serviced by a cantilevered barbecue. Ziptrack blinds have been installed to an outdoor dining room: breezes, rain or shine, the Robinsons can now dine outdoors.
- To create a space for Mum, Dad, and the kids to play: A strip of artificial turf makes for fuss-free, mud-free play that’s kind on the knees. Crowned with a miniature replica of the house, the Robinsons can hold tea parties, play shop and tumble around together on their lawn.
- To encourage the children to play happily with their friends: The jungle at the bottom of the section has been transformed into an enchanted playground with child-friendly edibles like strawberries and feijoas. Stepping stones past a give way to a trampoline and a slide.
To give Cecilia the lush, native aesthetic she was looking for while keeping in mind the need for a low-maintenance solution, Ben turned to Flox (artist Hayley King). Native trees and birds, many of which can be heard in the garden, have been incorporated into a striking mural which takes pride of place on a feature wall.
The Robinsons couldn’t be happier. It works ‘wonderfully well’ for them as a family, ‘the kids disappear outside and explore for hours,’ she says. ‘Leila loves her play area and pretends to make Mum and Dad ice cream (her favourite!)’
This garden was featured in Your Home and Garden – see the article.