A Productive Acreage Turned Residential Swimming Hole!

With its illuminated boardwalks, tremendous natural boulders, and enormous glittering swimming hole, you’d be forgiven for thinking this garden belonged to a hotel! In fact, this tropical oasis actually accompanies a family home in Terrey Hills, an inland suburb of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The owners engaged landscape designer Matt Leacy of Landart to reimagine this productive acreage (where horses previously roamed!) as a luscious family retreat.

‘It was one of those projects where, once I had heard the brief, I knew exactly what I wanted to do,’ says Matt. ‘I was very lucky that the client was adventurous and keen to explore the property’s potential.’

The first task was to open up the configuration of the tricky site. The existing layout blocked entry to the rear boundary, and separated the property from surrounding bushy native outlook. ‘We cleared an area behind the pool, and created a dining and seating area, and then built a series of bridges and boardwalk to enable direct access to it,’ explains Matt. The new, integrated seating sections allow for engagement with the enormous body of water even without swimming in it – making it a central focus point of the space.

In order to achieve this perfectly organic arrangement, significant excavation works were required to soften the terrain from a steep escarpment to a gentle, rolling meander. Hardwood timber decking wraps the pool to allow for easy navigation of the undulating landscape, while a cantilevered boardwalk extends over the water like a jetty, protruding 7-8 metres into the centre of the pool. The pool itself is staggered, with a raised sandstone rock pool overlooking the sprawling swimming hole below.

The existing plantings surrounding the house were overwhelmingly exotic, a stark contrast to the neighbouring bushland. Matt’s team set out to integrate the palette properly, introducing native grasses closer to the house in order to transition gently from delicate tropicals to a more robust Australian landscape.

‘I really believe that you can have an amazing space but if the flow is not there then it still doesn’t work as well as it could,’ concludes Matt. ‘We changed the flow, we improved the way the owner can engage and use the outdoor space (especially the pool), and we brought the area beyond the pool into play that had been previously a bit of a dead zone.’ This heavenly garden certainly encourages you to go with the flow!

Loving this project as much as we did? See more by Landart here.


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