The revival of the garden with Eckersley Garden Architecture
As the judges deliberate over the entries of The Design Files Design Awards, we reflect on the importance of landscape design and the work of judge Rick Eckersley and his team at Eckersley Garden Architecture (E-GA).
14 June, 2019
As major sponsors of TDF Design Award’s ‘Landscape Design’ category, we also discuss the role natural stone plays in the garden and creating a cohesive aesthetic.
The revival of the garden
Over the last few years, it’s become evident gardens and outdoor spaces have stepped into their own, becoming more valued to a wider audience than ever before. No longer are gardens and architecture considered as two separate entities. Instead, they’re designed as one and hold equal importance.
“The landscape design industry has now come into its own”, says Rick Eckersley, creative director of E-GA. “From a stagnant idea of looking at gardens, now the garden has become a built environment for living in. Landscape design was previously considered the last thing you need to finish off a property with very little budget remaining.”
Gardens are now built into the fabric of the building – Myles Broad
Director and principle designer of E-GA, Myles Broad agrees saying the garden isn’t just a “greenwash” there for appearance sake and the change in mentality is not just a trend, with liveable outdoor spaces here to stay.
“Gardens are now built into the fabric of the building”, says Myles. “There is a real understanding of the impact natural garden spaces have on our health, mood, lifestyle and the immediate environment.”
As outdoor spaces become more spatially limited, Myles explains architects and landscape designers have had to adapt, getting more creative about how to integrate gardens into the building. “The landscape in many projects now punctuates the large-scale architectural form. Atriums and courtyard gardens are more prevalent acting as the lungs of the building.”
A cohesive approach
Beyond layout, materials are one element that aids the relationship between the built form and the soft landscape. We’re seeing an emphasis on cohesion, with the same materials running from the interior outdoors and a colour palette that continues throughout both spaces.
For E-GA, stone is one such material that holds importance in the landscape. “In our designs, stone paving isn’t the hero. We like to see the hard surfacing become integrated within the garden so that the plants take centre stage.”
One of the beauties of natural stone is it’s a timeless material, explains Myles. “Whether it’s Filetti, cobblestones or limestone, it feels like it has been there in the garden all the time even though it was laid yesterday.” It’s also diverse in its finish, colour tones and format.
“Bluestone, for example, is a commonly specified material particularly in Melbourne”, says Myles. “Yet, you can add visual interest and enhance the texture by choosing a honeycomb finish.” Every designer has their favourite stone or format and for Myles, that is the randomness of crazy paving.
“It’s time-consuming to lay but has an artisanal aesthetic that’s hard to beat.”
TDF has received more than 500 entries into the inaugural Design Awards. Judging will soon commence with all shortlisted entries to be published on The Design Files. Winners of the Design Awards will be announced at the ceremony on Thursday, September 19th 2019 at Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne.