From the cosy fire pit area to the meandering paths, this rural garden was designed to be enjoyed
This is a unique garden offering something new to engage the eye at every twist and turn. Matt McMahon, owner of McMahon Earth Solutions, designed this industrial and Arid garden drawing inspiration from the owners of the acreage property. “They wanted an outdoor space they could meander through, and they wanted to be able to sit and relax in the garden, gathering with friends and family around a fire pit,” explains Matt.
Matt surveyed the tapered corner of the sprawling site where the garden was to go, contemplated the flat, sparsely turfed expanse and the ideas began to flow. He conceived a design he describes as “industrial and arid juxtaposed with natural appeal and a hint of subtropical elements”.
He imagined a circular fire pit area defined by a curved wall of stone embracing a Corten steel fire bowl, all set within a grassy knoll. He pictured winding paths of lush green grass, feature boulders, eye-catching plantings, and raised garden beds fashioned out of stone that would give the space depth.
He also envisioned the use of sculpture. For something striking that would add a dash of drama and give a nod to the home’s location in the rural town of Yandina Creek on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Matt installed a large sculpture of a bull. For something fun but of a smaller scale, he installed a cactus sculpture. Both are fashioned out of Corten steel in reference to the fire pit.
The path and garden edging is also of Corten steel, with the rust-finish of the metal working in harmony with the blonde granite which has been used liberally throughout the landscape in the form of feature boulders and large stone retaining walls.
“The granite boulders and walling create the structural backbone of the garden and the stone texture perfectly complements the metal art and edging featured within the landscape,” says Matt.
Natural stone also makes an appearance in the guise of the random bluestone steppers placed at the entry to the garden and the bluestone crazy paving installed in the sunken fire pit area.
The stone and metal materials are softened by the turf mounds behind the fire pit. For these mounds, Matt chose Sir Grange Zoysia grass, a fine-leafed, dark green turf. Feature plantings include Cyathea cooperi (Australian tree fern) and the hero planting, placed right in the middle of the garden, is a five-metre-high Brachyton rupestris (bottle tree).
This matchless garden, the worthy winner of the Residential 1 Category (for projects up to $50,000) in the 2022 Landscape Queensland Construction Excellence Awards, impressed the judges who said: “The design and construction execution by the contractor showcases a high level of sophistication and provides visitors with a wonderful element of surprise and delight as you are enticed to meander around the alluring pathways and take in the many wonderful project details.”
The judges also said: “The juxtaposition of soft turf mounds cocooning blonde granite boulders, steel and stone textures with an arid garden and playful metal sculptures among lush planting are all anchored by the hero transplanted bottle tree central to the space. This interesting project has been executed in superb detail and proves a welcoming space to enjoy.”