-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Saturday, April 17, 2004

wishlist for the garden

To help Prue, we wrote a wishlist of things we did and didn't want in the garden at Amherst. It was quite amusing to do as well as more helpful in a pragmatic way than the dream photos!

Things that we want

BBQ area with a permanent table and space for an umbrella/shade cloth. Also there should be a roof over the BBQ area

Bar area (not necessarily near the BBQ area but it could be)

Quiet reading / meditation area

Petanque playing area where it won’t matter if the grass etc end ups with lots of bumps

Small swimming pool inside a secure brick walled area, so we don’t have to have dorky looking pool security fences. Swimming pool will not be very big and no more than 8 ft deep at the deepest part and it will have steps to get in. It will be around 8 metres long by 3m wide. There needs to be space for sun loungers etc alongside. Also, I would like it to feel secluded and not necessarily entirely in full sun in all places (e.g., it would be good to have trees overhanging in some parts and we’ll just deal with the hassle of leaves). Ideally this would be near to the BBQ area but they would be distinctly separate areas

A pool house, ie: a kind of building that is near the pool that has a place to store towels, get changed, put away deckchairs when it's out of season, etc etc. I don't know what this looks like yet, but there needs to be a space planned for it in the section of the garden that has the pool.

A rotating summerhouse. Ideally this would be like a room with french doors, etc that we could use as a writing or reading or painting room, that would sit on a base and rotate so it could face in whatever direction we wanted. They have them here so you can rotate to follow the sun; that might be good in Australia in the winter, but I expect in summer we would probably be turning away from the sun to keep it cool! Ideally this would be positioned somewhere that there would be a variety of views from different directions to make the most of the flexibility, maybe at one tip of the property up on the hill? You can get them here in ready-made kits. e.g.,
http://www.source-antiques.co.uk/summerhouse.asp (this company say they ship all over the world)

Cricket net, which also could be inside a walled area. This needs to be about 30 yards long and 10 yards wide at a minimum

Space to play croquet if we are having grass. This doesn’t need to be a formal posh croquet lawn but just a space for informal games

Lake, preferably with a little jetty to sit and dangle our feet over or a very shallow entrance bit we can line with pebbles for wading in. I don’t want it to be muddy at the bottom and I don’t want the water to be brown. Ideally the lake will have some waterlilies

Dovecote, which could even be a full-blown dovehouse you can walk into. Even if we can’t get doves in Australia perhaps we could entice some other friendly birds to stay there.

Tree seat – ie: a big tree somewhere that we can build a circular seat around

Potting shed

Lean-to style greenhouse in one of the walled gardens

Old fashioned style cold frame things

Vegetable garden

Steps in some parts of the garden

Herb garden in the broadest sense, so this can include even odd herbs like in a physic garden

Camomile seat or bench

Feeling that the garden is actually an outdoor house, with a series of rooms, each individual, differently sized, but which lead from one into the other with multiple entrances and exits

Decorative fish pond that we can keep a few pet koi or goldfish in. This needs to be well shaded. In fact I love ponds so the more ponds the better

Use of small fountains etc to create a calming and cooling feeling but not formal fountains… more things like water trickling down a wall, etc

If it is at all possible, I would love to have a bog garden even in just a small part. I figured the only thing would be perhaps in the sewerage recycling bit where it will get a lot of water and fertiliser?!! Or perhaps I just have to bury a pool and plant into that. I like those prehistoric looking bog plants, and things like gunnera manicuta (sp?).

Lots of shade trees which are tall enough to walk under

Use of trellises to add height e.g., using grapevines, kiwifruit, passionfruit etc to act as a roof in some areas

Outdoor lounge room area, with lots of space for lying around on cushions, with a central fire pit. Also a wall that has a flat section that we could project movies onto

Orchard area which has lots of trees with spring blossoms even if it doesn’t give us fruit

Shady woodlandy feel section, even if it is small, because it will be a lovely cool place to retreat to in the heat of summer

Long walk which has trellises etc for things to clamour over

A garden that looks different in each season, or at least some sections of it do

Native plants scattered around the garden rather than there being a special “native” garden for them

Patio area around the house that has shade

Pathways around the garden that are barefoot walkable, and pathways where there is shade, at least dappled, for getting around in summer because I don’t like the heat and I sunburn easily

A place for chickens and ducks to live

A proper serious composting area

Space for a blowsy herbaceous border in the old fashioned sense but on a manageable scale

At least a few places where you can sit to get views down the sweep of the paddocks. One of these could be possibly a tower or tree house?

Sweeping driveway which has symmetrical plantings for at least part of the way

A paddock or two so we can have pet sheep, cow, horses as well as a barn for them

Use of things like mirrors to create interesting perspectives in the garden. Also surprising places e.g., plinthes, alcove to display sculptures, little pot plants, etc

An old fashioned lamppost like in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe buried somewhere in the midst of the garden

A herb lawn (e.g., thyme/wild oregano/etc) that you can lie on in the sun when its hot and which is fragrant, like at the cemeteries at Gallipoli

A cemetery area, ideally with wrought iron-like fence where we can put ourselves one day as well as pets

A swing that is strong enough for adults to use; ideally something like a tyre swing that hangs from a tree

If it is possible a small fernery (e.g., perhaps we could create a grotto like area for them where they had shade?)

Flowering meadow

Mini-olive grove

Things that we do not want

A tennis court

A formal rose garden that looks skeletal and clipped within an inch of its life for most of the year. I like roses but old fashioned roses that you don’t prune, that just grow wild and clamour over everything. I don’t like roses all grouped together without anything else around

Formal gazebo stuck out in the middle of nowhere as if it’s the main feature. We want the plants to be the stars not the structures

Gum trees with that horrible harsh brown thick craggy bark, or at least not very many of them

A separate kids play area

Giant boulders scattered around

Things that look plastic

Concrete in wide swathes (but it is OK if it doesn’t look like concrete)


Anything that involves a cupid or dumb statue

Overly modern, stark feel

Overly quaint “English romantic” feel

Topiary figures

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