Share our trials and tribulations as we build our new home - a custom Dominico by Fairmont Homes NSW

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Final Landscaping Plans

So, we were really slack and didn't even drive by the block this weekend. We were very busy Saturday and unwell Sunday. But there is still news, we have managed to finalise a new landscaping plan.

As I've posted before, after the site cut and slab pour, it soon became apparent that we needed an expert to help us with retaining walls, drainage and ideas to maximise our (small) outdoor space. So, we bit the bullet and employed Nicholas Bray, landscape architect. His help has been great and I've actually had fun tweaking the plans and plants!

We're still waiting on the job to be priced and Developer approval, so there may be some little changes depending on the outcome of those. In the meantime, here are our plans:

Our main problem has been with access down the left-hand side of the block. The fence there is existing and now sits about 40cm above our ground level. This means it needs a retaining wall (so the fence doesn’t fall over). The A/C exchange unit, which cannot be moved (it requires council approval, plus there isn’t anywhere else suitable to put it), is massive. With the slimmest retaining wall (20cm, timber), clearance below knee-height will be 50cm then it will widen above the retaining wall to 70cm. This makes transporting things, like lawnmowers, from front to back difficult. Plus, we had designed the downstairs study with a sliding glass door and ensuite access to the Powder Room with a shower, so that it could potentially be used as a home-office or for in-law/teenager accommodation, and narrow side access is not ideal. Had we realised all this before commencement, we probably would have amended the house plans. To improve things a little, we’re going to pave the area, make more room for storage by creating a separate area for bins, and grow Jasmine along the fence to give it some “pretty.” But, when building there will (unfortunately) always be compromises you have to make.

One of the major changes you will notice is that we’re moving two of our three, mature, Manchurian Pear trees. One had been damaged by the builders and, quite honestly, may not make it. We’re moving this the least distance and crossing our fingers it survives. The reason for the move though is mainly because they are in the way of our side access and bin storage. I really want to keep them though because they are beautiful, I hate killing things, and would cost a fortune to buy brand new.

Now on to the positives…

The parts I most love are the herb garden, alfresco area, climber on the fence and lawn. And, funnily enough, I’m also looking forward to having a clothesline. We didn’t have one in the unit, and my parent’s line is a bit of a trek from the laundry, so I’m looking forward to ours. We've chosen the Hills Supa Fold Long Line. It’s long and narrow, so should accommodate sheets quite easily, folds away and is not far from the laundry. It’s also going to be out of site from the backyard which is nice.

In the herb garden I plan on growing tomatoes, garlic, basil, chives, rosemary, parsley and a passionfruit vine! These are all relatively low maintenance and yummy.

I’m also really looking forward to picking the outdoor furniture. We currently plan on buying low, lounging pieces (like the one below) to add to our BBQ and small fire pit for the Alfresco space. We will also need to buy a small, cafĂ©-style table with chairs for the balcony. I can’t wait to wake up with a tea on the balcony!

Now, the least-favourite part…waiting for the quotes.

Edit (25/09/2012): Stocklands have approved the plans. Step one, complete!


  1. It's all coming together and the Jasmine will make you smile from the smell :)

    1. Thanks KazzaK. I can't wait for the sweet-smelling Jasmine!

  2. Looks fantastic. After our site cut on Friday we too realised we would need some major retaining walls and drainage! Looking forward to seeing how your garden turns out, looks lovely on paper!! Hopefully the quote isn't out of this world!

    1. Thank you. I just can't wait for it to be done and having BBQs out the back. It's a bummer when you realise something that changes your plans or ideas AND will cost a bomb to boot! Here's hoping the quotes don't cause us to feint!

    2. Though I should add that it'll all be worth it. All too often landscaping is an afterthought to people but it really does effect the mood, appeal and usability of your house. Nothing's as Aussie as a great backyard with a BBQ! ...if only we could fit a pool too...