Buxus Garden is a particularly special project for our team as it’s the personal garden of Steve, our Construction Manager at Ian Barker Landscapes. When Steve embarked on his own garden transformation in 2021, there were four key items on the wishlist for our design team: bluestone, an outdoor entertaining area, some lawn and a minimalistic planting palette.
To complement the redbrick exterior, bluestone pavers and steppers were laid in the front garden and carried into the rear garden to synergise with the modern extension’s polished concrete render. The original front wall was replaced and repositioned to create clear entry points to the garden. We reused the original wrought iron gate and house numbers to pay homage to the original design. The newspaper hole in the letterbox was made out of the original terracotta pipes found in the rear garden upon excavation.
One of the key focal points of the rear garden is the striking pitched open steel pergola, which mimics the pitched roof of the two-storey garage. Underneath the pergola is a bluestone-paved outdoor entertaining area that seamlessly flows into the lawn area. The lawn is a combination of Tiff Tuff and Pure Distinction Bentgrass – combining the best of cool and warm season grass.
Much of the garden is filled with Steve’s favourite plant, Buxus sempervirens – 302, to be exact. Steve’s garden is affectionally known to many as the Buxus rescue farm, as the majority of the plants in his garden were dug out of existing gardens as they were dying or thinned and would, in any other case, end up in a green waste bin. However, Steve has grown many of them back to health over the years, resulting in a beautiful sea of plants that often resemble clouds.
The planting palette for both the front and rear gardens are simplistic in their design. The Buxus are accompanied by Iris germanica, Ophiopogon japonicus (Mondo Grass), Verbena bonarisensis and Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine) planted along the property’s boundary. Beautiful Lagerstroemia ‘Natchez’ (Crepe Myrtle) trees are scattered throughout the front and rear gardens, providing all-year seasonal interest. Like the Buxus, the majority of the plants have been transplanted from other gardens that were no longer planning to use them. Parthenocissus tricuspidata were planted to creep up the chimney in the front garden and eventually drape over the steel pergola in the rear garden – creating a stunning living pergola, much like the one in our Canterbury Vine project. In the front garden, a small window planter box is filled with bright and vibrant annual flowers that Steve likes to purchase and grow with his young kids.
While the garden is only just over two years old, using established plants has expedited the speed at which this garden feels complete. We can’t wait to watch the garden continue to grow and see how many more Buxus plants Steve manages to save!