The Secret Garden


Your garden terrace should be a place where you can switch off from the stresses of everyday life and recharge your batteries. Reminiscent of ancient Roman courtyards and atriums, the laid back ambience of the most superior back gardens is best enhanced when there is a natural flow from the interior design of the house, which in turn represents the style and personality of the homeowner.

An example of unconstrained creative vision in the garden is demonstrated by a US couple from California, Leo Marmo and Alisa Becket; their outdoor ‘L’ shape space boasts a swimming pool flanked by flowers. The reason for the simple decoration is not their unwillingness to spend a fortune on it; rather, there’s simply no need to, as they make the most of the beautiful natural environment instead.


For those of us who live in the city, it’s more of a challenge to create a relaxing outdoor space even with millions of dollars at our disposal, but rooftop gardens are one solution. Outside the open door, a grand garden of flowers greets your eyes. This is the extension of the dining room. Oversized urns either side of a sofa add a decorative touch, as do a selection of carefully chosen plants.

In a house in central London, a British interior designer, Stephen Woodhams, has established this secretive back garden. Surrounded by bamboo Persian blinds, the designer has given much thought to lighting. The garden actually sits atop a basement with a glass ceiling to let in sunshine. Green and yellow spotlights provide a modern feeling and the miniature trees bestow a Japanese flavour.

If you’ve ever been to Melbourne, then you may have noticed that most of the suburban gardens are adjacent to the street, with very low fences. The back garden featured here by Ian Lyell Design uses grass flourishes to divide inner and outer areas for extra privacy. With handmade Italian terracotta utensils, a three-seater sofa and dining table plus bronze decoration, this truly is an inviting space.

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