Anne King, ‘Back Lake’-Scotsburn

2022: 'Back Lake', 264 Wiggins Rd. Scotsburn

Open Date
19 & 20 Nov. 2022
Garden Entry

Open 10:00 to 5:00


This extensive contemporary rural garden at the foot of Mount Buninyong was created by retired architect/farmer owners Anne and Berry King in conjunction with the design and construction of a rammed earth house and shed completed in 2010.

The “architectural approach” was to try to achieve an original, site specific, functional and liveable solution, appropriate to its time and place, with an emphasis on visual structure and spatial relationships.

The construction and maintenance has been almost entirely by the owners, including the drystone walls and many of the sculptures.

Starting point was a very irregular and mostly bare four-hectare paddock overlooking a secluded four hectare lake, with fertile red volcanic soil, but also rocks, very strong winds and some frosts. Some boundary planting by the previous owner had been badly damaged by cattle but with livestock excluded most trees recovered.

The picturesque lake, created by a dam on ‘Back Creek’, is leased to the Millbrook Trout School for private ‘catch and release’ trout fishing. A further 18 hectares of paddock is leased to a neighbour for grazing.

From the start the project was considered as ‘landscape’ rather than ‘garden’. The plan was conceived at the house design stage, with views from inside the house being an important part of the design, and most of the layout and plant selection documented before any work commenced. The predominantly single level house site is cut into a north-facing hillside. A steep embankment behind protects the southern entry courtyard while the northern patio and lawn area flows down to the water’s edge via broad swathes of planting.

The aim was to incorporate:

– flowing curved lines reflecting the sensuous natural local landforms
– transitional hard landscaping elements to help integrate the strong rectilinear lines of the house into the surrounding countryside
– gravel / paving / local rocks / drystone walls / trees / ornamental grasses / minimal formal lawn areas
– a bold scale with swathes of repetitive planting
– a broader landscape of trees and slashed/mown grass beyond the house
– plants chosen for their scale, colour, form and texture – and toughness, so that they would require minimal watering / pruning / maintenance once established
– orchard and vegetable garden
– some deciduous trees, to emphasise the changing seasons
– sculpture

The bird life on and around the water is prolific, with about 90 species identified. Walk around the lake for a dramatic view of Mount Buninyong.