when does urban sprawl become too much?

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With rapid urbanization becoming more and more common in the world’s developing cities, one tends to wonder at what rate does this destroy a city and how much can a city take before the urban sprawl over-rides the character of the existing neighbourhoods.

A project by a recent graduate ‘Tom Noonan’ from the Bartlett School of Architecture’ in London looks at just this, but tackles the reforestation of the Thames estuary. With beautifully illustrated hand drawings, he describes his vision as ‘creating an institution building that re-opens the privatised land along the Thames back to the public ‘a landscape connecting Deptford with the river,’ not quite a building at all. It is an ‘architecture that does not conform to the urban time-frame. Rather, its form and occupation is dependent on the cycles of nature.’The architecture is created slowly’. Noonan’s statement here reminds me of the scenic red and yellow leaves of autumn, a space that changes visually with the cycles of nature.

His illustrations strongly inspired by the words of Richard Jeffreys from his book ‘After London’, where a post-human London is described as being, ‘reconquered by forests, mudflats, aquatic grasses, and wild animals’.

Noonan imagines this change with entire buildings and multi-residential blocks and although it is a vision that will very unlikely executed, it does make you consider just how much potential that patch of grass in your yard has and how much it can contribute to the overall architecture of your house.

 

 

 

Flinders open garden

This Australia Day will see two inspiring and contrasting contemporary gardens open for a special twilight event, as part of Open Gardens Australia.

Musk Cottage
Owner and landscape designer Rick Eckersley has created a quintessentially Australian contemporary garden full of character and style. The natural flowing landscape incorporates wetlands and woodlands using native and exotic grasses, strappy-leafed plants and shrubs selected for position, site conditions and aesthetic appeal.

Bagnols
In an elegant garden designed by Paul Bangay, Mediterranean-style plantings complement the French-influenced house. Wide grassed steps lead to an impressive terrace overlooking the countryside and Westernport Bay. The garden also features box hedges, which retain roses, salvias, irises and nepeta, while olives and rosemary blend with mature eucalypts.

Rick Eckersley's Open Garden

 

Opening Information

Saturday 26 January 2013. The gardens will be open from 4pm-8pm.
A joint ticket giving entry both gardens is $25.00, no charge for children under 18.
Bookings not required.
Musk Cottage: 371 Musk Creek Rd, Flinders. Enter from Mitford Rd.
Bangols: 525 Tucks Rd, Shoreham (near Flinders).

Landscape community loves Eco Outdoor

The Eco Outdoor team in Perth attended the Landscape Industries Association awards night this August, and were pleasantly surprised to be nominated as a finalist for “Supplier of the Year” at the Landscape Industries Association of Western Australia (LIAWA) Awards. To be nominated LIAWA members submit their votes, so we are very happy that our landscape clients voted for Eco Outdoor especially as we have only been open for business in Western Australia for just over 12 months. The MC for the night Jack Hanbury noted for “great customer service, fantastic showroom, good product knowledge, friendly proactive trade service.. And great coffee!”

 

A-maze-ing installation

This erratic installation has definitely caught our eye. It mimics a real-life maze in the way it pushes viewers into dead-ends as they interact with mirrors and struggle to find there way out! The installation was built by Martha Schwartz Partners and incorporates both plant-dominated landscapes and industrial walls. The work fell under the theme of “Harmonious Coexistence of City and Nature” for the Master Landscape Architect Garden of the International Horticulture Exhibition 2011. It was displayed in Xi’an, China and captured local history and culture through the landscape, combining natural elements with the sense of city. The piece toyed with the viewers perception of space as they engaged with the installation, creating a sense of relief when they finally made it out.

liav workshop night success

As some of you may already know Eco Outdoor Nunawading hosted an LIAV workshop night last week and it was a huge success! We had an opening introduction by Bruce Winstanley from the LIAV followed by mini workshop groups presented by Aqua Vision, Mapei, Smith & Gordon Nurseries and Light on Landscapes. With a turnout of  over 80 landscapers it was a great, informative night and we’d like to say a big thank you to all who came. If you missed the night, or would just like a little more info download the attached document here (LIAV workshop information), it includes a few photographs of the event as well as a quick re-cap of the key points from each workshop.

LIAV Eco Outdoor Workshop night

behind the scenes

Check out the video below > This little ditty was put together by our photographer Richard Birch to give you a sense of  what happens behind the scenes at a photoshoot. The setting is part of a major lifestyle shoot we did last year for our 2012 summer outdoor furniture range.

We shot at garden designer Michael Cooke‘s own property on the central coast. For those of you who are not familiar with Michael Cooke’s work, he has not only a profound love of garden design but of both art and architecture and the role they play in shaping the outdoor space. His own central coast garden is open every year as part of the open garden scheme and is well worth a visit if you’re looking for a little inspiration, it’s full of delightful little ‘moments’  – from the old school watering cans which hang in the kitchen garden, to the gorgeous old barn doors which back on to a tree that almost feels like the faraway tree it’s so magical. Michael creates gardens that not only look great – they feel good to be in and I think Richard’s captured that in our lifestyle shots.

All in all we shot 4 lifestyle scenes, each beautifully styled by Louise Owens [3 of the shots can be seen above]. The shots looked absolutely fantastic and were a great success. Here Richard gives you a sneak peak of how it all comes together on the day. Enjoy.

guest blogger peter fudge – things that inspire me

About a year ago we packed up the family and moved into a new place. We said goodbye to our small but perfectly formed garden and said hello instead to a larger project altogether. I’d like to use the term makeover to describe the project but I’m not sure it’s strong enough! We inherited a kidney shaped pool with terracotta coping that showcased, much to my kids delight, a faux rock water feature in one corner. Thankfully a beautiful, fruitful mango tree overhangs it!

Long term I can make the garden work with the existing pool, we’ll look at getting some new coping and the enhancement of a new garden. But my very first step was to convert the salt water pool to a magnesium pool. Magnesium can be added to any existing salt or chlorine pool and the end result is great. Magnesium salts are gentle and therapeutic for the skin, no more itchy, stinging eyes or smelly chlorine skin. There is zero chlorine odor and in a properly balanced pool the water even tastes like mineral water. The best part though, is that with an environmentally friendly pool solution you can use the backwash water to irrigate your plants and garden. Even our dog prefers to drink from our pool now!

Magna Pool is the registered product for sale throughout Australia and as I mentioned before any existing pool can be converted. I’m really happy to see there is something environmentally friendly and innovative out in the market.

Our dog!Mango TreePeter Fudge Peter Fudge

open gardens for stephanie alexander foundation

Our good friend Paul Bangay is opening his Stonefields country property on from November 19-20 to support the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation.

Paul has created a magical seven acre garden in Denver, Victoria. It is home to beautiful perennial gardens, walled gardens, woodland gardens, rose gardens, veggie gardens and so much more. Spring is a beautiful time to visit gardens and an opportunity to visit one of Australia’s best is a must.

Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden Foundation is  a great organisation that encourages children to learn about fruit and veg and cooking. The results are amazing and life changing for the kids involved. Have a look on their website for further details.

Paul has also launched a new book: Paul Bangay’s Guide to Plants. It’s a great book for anyone that needs a little guidance or inspiration as Paul details his favourite plants for all aspects.

Paul Bangay StonefieldsPaul Bangay StonefieldsStephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden FoundationPaul Bangay StonefieldsPaul Bangay StonefieldsPaul Bangay Stonefields

eco outdoor at alowyn gardens

Last weekend the Melbourne team was lucky enough to get a guided tour of the spectacular Alowyn Gardens, created by John Vandelinde of Jay Vee Landscaping. John, who created the gardens with his wife Prue, walked us through each section of the garden and gave us an insight into the motivation behind and beauty of each different style.

In 1998 when John first started work on the gardens, there were only 3 trees to be found on the property. One of these trees, the Weeping Elm, is now the centre piece of the entire garden. It’s clear from strolling through the gardens that John takes a lot of inspiration from nature itself as well as the traditional style of gardens found at the “Palais Het Loo” in Holland.

Sprawling over 4 acres, you could easily lose yourself amongst any of the 7 amazing gardens. I know myself and a few others here at Eco will be sure to visit again to see how things have grown and changed and to be inspired all over again.

So the next time you have a day trip or wine tasting in the Yarra Valley, why not drop in and say hello to John and Prue and enjoy an afternoon of inspiration at Alowyn Gardens. While you’re there you can also grab a coffee and a bite to eat at their café. Check out the website for opening hours.

P.S. If you’re wondering where the name “Alowyn” comes from (as we were) it’s a combination of John and Prue’s surnames, Aloyisius and Olwyn.

Eco Outdoor at Alowyn GardensEco Outdoor at Alowyn GardensEco Outdoor at Alowyn GardensEco Outdoor at Alowyn Gardens

Eco Outdoor at Alowyn GardensEco Outdoor at Alowyn Gardens

cycas design in Richmond this sat

Head down to our Eco Outdoor Richmond showroom in Melbourne to bounce some of your garden and design ideas off Mark Browning from Cycas Landscape Design. Eco Outdoor are privileged to be hosting Mark between 10-12noon on Saturday 5 November. So pop in with a load of ideas, a couple of pictures on your phone, some sketches, plant ideas or just come on in with an open mind and chat with Mark about how your outside space can be designed. See below an interview with Mark, and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

A little from our Spring Expert In-Store

Richmond – 5 November 2011 – 10-12pm

Mark Browning

Cycas Landscape Design

Describe your style.

In a nutshell; modern contemporary. I love floating edges and cantilevers (hence why the guys and girls at Eco are always dropping rebated edge paver samples into my studio!). I also love natural stone and timber and always strive to combine natural materials into my designs.

What inspires you?

The American modernism and contemporary architecture in general; the Kaufmann House in Palm Spring by Richard Neutra in particular. The minimalist approach in landscape design always inspires me and I love seeing product used in unusual and challenging ways to create real beauty.

Your favourite outdoor space?

That’s a hard one… I’m torn between the magnificence of the Walls of Jerusalem national park in Tasmania and some of the incredible designed public spaces in and around Melbourne such as Federation Square. Oh and my own pool once the weather picks up!

One tip for people as they head into Spring?

Get ready for spring as soon as you can because the growth is going to be berserk. I’d also put your solar heating on for grand final day (either NRL or AFL) as a quick dip during game time can be very refreshing!

Mark Browning, Cycas Landscape Design Mark Browning, Cycas Landscape Design Mark Browning, Cycas Landscape Design