Escape to Paradise

is often an afterthought when it comes to the home. At this North Sound house,
however, the gardens are nothing short of spectacular. 

views that encompass the breathtaking water and a private park for the
children, this is a garden of adventure and relaxation, of joy-filled games and
long afternoons by the pool. 

owners of the home wanted to provide their growing children with plenty of
space to explore without shattering the tranquillity of the gardens.

park is perfect for the kids,” the owner explains. “They can play soccer and
cricket, and they can have all their friends over but I can still keep an eye
on them.

there are also lots of little areas in the garden where you go to relax.”

As the
children have matured, so, too, has their private park. A metal gate engraved
with tigers and Asian-inspired symbols, created by Karoly Szücs of Artisan
Metal Works, welcomes visitors to this secret garden. At once, it feels as if
you have crossed the threshold to a remote sanctuary as the sounds of the
street seem to vanish.

This is the ultimate haven for children, the sort of
playground that every kid wishes they had while growing up. A wooden play house
and swing set stand side by side a large field, where the children can indulge
in their favourite sports. 

“The private garden has developed over time,” says the
owner, who plans on one day creating a sound-proof music room in the area. “The
garden has grown with the children over time. I think it’s so important that
children have their own space in the home.”

the private garden is not just for recreation. There are many elements designed
to pamper the soul, places where each member of the family can enjoy the beauty
of the outdoors.  This emphasis on
serenity is evident in the quiet ponds and Asian-inspired statues that stand
guard around the space.

It is an oasis of calm. A stunning collection of
orchids provides a burst of colour. Lush trees create a canopy under which the
family can relax and seek refuge from the sun. 

are a lot of family elements and the children love the space,” the owner
explains. “I aim to turn it into a vegetable garden one day.”

of which direction the owner eventually chooses to follow, the private garden
has the space and versatility to encompass these many incarnations, from a
vegetable patch to a sound-proof structure. 

to the house, the main gardens are idyllic, with splashes of colour enmeshed in
tropical surrounds. Here, too, are intimate spaces designed to put the mind and
soul at ease, and enable the owners to get away from it all, without leaving
the yard.

The luxurious pool commands centre of attention; the infinity edge
seems to disappear off the horizon, creating a seamless transition between the
pool and the canal. The azure shades of the pool immediately capture the eye
and reflect the multifaceted rays of the sun. This vibrant colour suggests joy
and tranquillity, qualities that are cherished in this quiet, waterfront
garden. An intricate outdoor shower, also designed by Karoly, is a quirky yet
luxurious addition to the setting. 

design the garden of their dreams, the owners worked closely with Craig Stewart
at Vigoro Nursery. 

was fantastic at knowing exactly what we wanted,” the owner enthuses. “He
brought our plans to life and transformed our garden. There are lots of little
areas where you can go to relax. There are no ‘non areas’ in the garden, areas
that have no purpose.”

garden is defined by quaint rock walls. Small stems of grass peek through the
sandy stones in a picturesque backdrop that could be pulled from the pages of a
Victorian novel. A tranquil water feature on the rock wall bubbles with

The ambience of the setting is further enhanced by the delicate wind
chimes hanging from the branches of a tree. It is the ideal spot for a moment
of solitude or an afternoon tea under the shady canopy. The same rock wall has
been used along the waterfront to elevate the yard to the same level as the
home, providing a sense of unity within the garden. 

it came to choosing the flora for the garden, the owner wanted colour, and lots
of it. But, she knew that the home’s proximity to the water would prove
troublesome for many plants. To that end, there is a strong reliance on native
plants, with few exotic species. Striking palms and leafy ferns provide plenty
of shade, while crimson hibiscus flowers seem to pulsate with colour and bring
the garden to life.  

“We wanted to use a colour in the whole garden, but it’s
difficult by the sea,” admits the owner, who was also drawn to fragrant

“You have to figure out what works with the sea. We would love to have
had lots of bougainvillea, but that’s hard next to the water.

wanted a frangipani tree and I wanted gardenia. One of my favourite plants is
the night blooming jasmine. I just love it because it’s so fragrant at night.”

complement the sparkling shades of the pool, most of the outdoor plants are
housed in vivid blue pots. It is just one of the many elements that help create
the sense of calm that seems to descend over the garden. 

For the owner, the gardens are invaluable to creating a place they would
want to call home, a place for fun, frivolity and, above all, relaxation. It is
a place of barbecues, football games, and lazy days spent under a palm tree.
This is the secret garden. And only they have the key.   

Escape to Paradise

Justin Uzzell