Nicky & Darren Barnett, Buninyong

2022:  221 Yendon No. 2 Rd. Buninyong

Open Date
19 & 20 Nov. 2022
Garden Entry

Open 10:00 to 5:00


Hillside Oaks
Set on the north-east slopes of Mount Buninyong, the 2 acre garden at ‘Hillside Oaks’ was originally established in 2005 to create a park-like setting for the family home built by the owners.  The essential objectives of all garden design at ‘Hillside Oaks’ have been to ‘connect’ the garden to the family home and outdoor lifestyle, and to preserve and enhance vistas to the surrounding rural landscape.

Original Garden (2005):
The original garden features a sweeping dry stone retaining wall that was designed to simulate the shape and curves of the undulating landscape.  Berberis thumbergii and Buxus sit atop the dry stone wall, with clipped Buxus balls and Tuscan pebble paving below.

The north facing view of the original garden takes in herringbone paved paths, flanked by Buxus enclosed rose garden beds, trailing Clematis and Camelia hedges.  The paths lead to alcoves that feature grouted stone low sitting walls, outdoor pizza oven and dining area, and a three-tiered fountain.

An elevated outdoor chess board constructed using sawn granite and bluestone sits behind a Lophomyrtus hedge and complements this outdoor entertaining area.

The cherry court garden is home to symmetrical beds of established Kanzan cherries, under-planted with clipped balls of Syzgium, Hydrangeas, Loropetalum, Lupins and Erigerons.

Garden Expansion (2017):
Endowed with rich volcanic soils and a reliable groundwater supply, the owners embarked on the design and construction of a significant formal garden expansion in 2017.
The expansion is structured within a multi-level terraced design of the western aspect using extensive grouted stone retaining walls and has created a sheltered garden ‘amphitheatre’ – enhanced by the imposing background view of Mount Buninyong.  Precise axial symmetry of the ‘amphitheatre’ to the western façade of the family home is achieved with diamond-sawn bluestone steps and paths – which lead to a central circular paved area.  The focal point of this area is a rusted steel fire globe sculpture.

The four quadrants around the circular paved area are planted-out with standard Kojo No Mai’ cherry trees, surrounded by Escallonia ‘donuts’, Hydrangea paniculata, and bordered by a soft edging of Uncinia rubra. Adjoining beds are defined and outlined by Buxus hedges, and feature Carpinus betulus ‘pendula’ and Berberis thumbergii ‘rose-glow’.

A large rectangular lawn features surrounding deep beds with repetitive plantings of Acers and Cypressus.  Under-planting consists of Correa reflexa, Cotoneaster dammeri, Festuca glauca, Juniperus, Euonymus and Camellias.

The western aspect upper terrace granite sand path runs on a north-south axis and connects to the central paving via sawn bluestone steps.  A 60 metre long copper beech hedge defines the western boundary of the garden.  Two long border gardens complete the western aspect upper terrace. Plantings to the north contain predominantly drought-tolerant shrubs and perennials – including Miscanthus, Helichrysum, Berberis, Sedums and Achillea.  Plantings to the south include espalier Ginkgo biloba, Osmanthus goshiki, Teucrium, Cotoneaster horizontalis and Leucodendrons.

A key feature of the garden expansion is the potager on the north facing aspect of the upper terrace.  Eight rotational raised vegetable beds built using recycled bricks are surrounded by granite sand paths.  Espalier fruit trees and berries are trained between bespoke rusted steel posts and support wires, with provision for netting during the fruiting season.

The owners’ love for exotic deciduous trees is evident through the diverse planting of various species – including oaks, elms, poplars, birches, beeches, maples and magnolias.