Hamish Williamson, Thornbury

2024: 142 Keon St Thornbury

Open Date
16 & 17 Nov. 2024
Garden Entry

Open 10:00 to 5:00


From the first site visit, it was apparent that the 1950s home, perched on a hillside in Thornbury, was loved by the family within. Extending that love into the garden was called for and with children ranging from toddlers to teens, there was the opportunity for the garden to play many roles.

The intention overall was to create an inviting garden, with a sense of ease, playfulness and expansiveness. At the front of the house, the curved brick wall leading to the front door informed the curvilinear layout of the garden. The understated presence of the original brick retaining wall, concrete driveway and paths was seen as an asset and so remained. The unused lawn has now been energised with sculptural raised beds for veggies, punctuating the natural fall. A sense of enclosure to the lawn is provided by productive and ornamental planting at its edge.

Given the significant fall across the site, taller trees stand in the lower section of the garden to create a sense of balance. They also serve to anchor the previously exposed rooftop terrace into the landscape, providing privacy and summer shade. Cohesive curves continue to the rear garden in the form of three terraces. The deck and pergola, previously closed off with handrails and roof sheets, now connects directly to the garden, facilitated by the upper terrace which sweeps around to include it. Reclaimed blonde bricks matching the house were chosen for the L-shaped seat, curved steps and central retaining wall. Steps leading down to the middle terrace double as an impromptu amphitheatre for children’s performances and a setting for breakaway gatherings.

The brick retaining wall serves as informal seating and a playful balance beam flanked by the whimsy of perennials. Tucked out of the direct line of sight, a bespoke chook house is the surprise act of the lower terrace. The positioning of trees and boundary planting gives a sense of enclosure while filtering views of neighbouring roof lines and providing summer shade. Underplanting includes a palette of enduring shrubs, perennials, grasses and ground covers.