Roy Roberts, Woodend

8 Brewster St. Woodend

Open Date
19-20 Nov. 2016
Garden Entry

Note: This garden was opened in 2016

‘Hillside’ at Woodend

‘Hillside’ is hidden from the road and opens to a big sky and treed views extending over the lovely historic town of Woodend. With the intentional use of the borrowed landscape and distant views the garden expands from its modest 1500 square metres to become something much more significant. In springtime the generous gravel path leads you amongst a garden alive with colour and foliage. The garden is undoubtedly a celebration of the subtle beauty of plants with the planting scheme being designed around the generally cool Woodend climate, the south facing slope and local soils. The planting scheme features combinations of over 100 selected plant varieties.

The garden was designed in 2010. The steep 1:6 slope and free flowing water from the hill in the wetter months have both been used to create a unique space based around the true nature of the site.

With this in mind a simple timber bridge was constructed to allow water under the gravel pathway and rills were cut to direct the flow of water down through the garden. A simple fish shaped rock sits in the rill facing upstream, symbolizing effort and endeavour, as it ‘swims’ its way uphill from five mile creek in the valley below.

The site also features an informal rock stairway through the steepest garden bed, a flatter area created by a cut and fill to make use of the sloping site and a curved Elaeagnus x ebbingei hedge defining a more sheltered graveled area with feature tree.

The altitude of 2000ft means snow sometimes covers the garden which sleeps in the winter and wakens slowly with long awaited spring sunshine and warmth. As the weather warms up and the water from the hill stops flowing the tree canopies fill with leaves and offer shade from the heat of summer. This makes the garden an outdoor space to enjoy in all but the coldest and wettest months when the views from the large windows overlooking the garden can be enjoyed with the added comfort of a log fire.

A sense of history predating the house has been retained by keeping the existing slightly uneven grass and the Hawthorn hedge on the west boundary. This provides a living link to the history of the block which was once a paddock for working horses.

The site offered a mixture of boundary tree plantings before development. The best of these were retained and the design worked around them with careful attention to level changes around the root zones.

‘Hillside’ is designed to be an engaging natural space where the more you look the more there is to see.

A more traditional approach to modified landform and the consideration of the local conditions and history has helped to root this garden down with a genuine sense of place.

A list of all plants planted in 2010 will be available along with photos of before and during construction.