Like all good artists, a landscape designer’s own home is the perfect blank canvas to trial their new ideas. Here, they are free to experiment creatively, without briefs or restrictions. That impulse to explore never changes, even when you’re one of Australia’s leading landscape designers.
‘When I first designed the garden I wanted it to be a laboratory of all the ideas and styles I see in my travels and readings,’ says Paul Bangay of his monumental garden, Stonefields, at his private home in Daylesford. ‘I wanted to be able express ideas that may be too “out there” for my clients, but perfect for me.’
It’s been 16 years since he acquired the land, and the garden has now reached full maturity – an occasion Paul has commemorated with a new book! Stonefields: By The Seasons builds on the work documented in an earlier publication, and charts the garden in full bloom as it changes over the seasons. It also represents Paul’s shifting inspirations, reflecting the subtle ways his tastes and practice have evolved in the last decade and a half.
‘A new softness has appeared as I age and mellow,’ Paul says, noting that he now favours more wild elements in his gardens. ‘My style has changed to less formal and far more flowers, so this books reveals that new softness in my life.’
There are four very distinct seasons in the Daylesford region which, being in country Victoria, has a cooler climate than other parts of the state. Vibrant autumnal hues give way to rich crabapples and abundant wisteria in the spring; and the entire lawn is blanketed in a dramatic, icy frost in winter. It constantly sprouts new interest at different points throughout the year, even for its owner.
‘Above all I wanted a garden that belonged to the world and not just Australia,’ says Paul, of the ever-changing design. ’It’s a melting pot of international thoughts and travel.’
Join Lucy in conversation with Paul on the beautiful Stonefields grounds for a chat about this incredible 16-year labour of love, LIVE on both @thedesignfiles and @paulbangay ‘s Instagram at 10am this coming Saturday November 14th!
Order ‘Stonefields: By The Seasons’ published by Lantern, Penguin here.