FOREST EDGE GARDEN
Watagans National Park, NSW, 2014
on the land of the Awabakal and Darkinjung People
Landscape Architects: Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture
Architects: Jonathan Temple and James Stockwell Architects
Client: Rena & David
Change: working carefully to learn how to live respectfully and carefully on the edge of a national park
Located in a disturbed landscape, this expansive bush garden showcases the unique ecology and aesthetics of the dry sclerophyll forest. Shaped by a collaboration between the designer, the client and a bush regenerator, the gardens and landscape surrounding the house have developed over time into landscapes of co-inhabitation. Native animals and birds such as rock wallabies, snakes, echidnas, and lyrebirds intermingle with the human occupants, each modifying the gardens to meet their requirements. The ever-present risk of bushfire informs the native grass and stone terraces leading from the spectacular lap pool (also a fire break and a subterranean fire refuge) to the wide veranda. A functional dam has been transformed into an idyllic water hole and a vibrant habitat for frogs, birds, and snakes. Working closely with a landscape architect over many years has helped ground the immigrant clients in the beauty and responsibilities of living in this unique place.