Stephen Read, Elsternwick

2022:  16 Rowan St. Elsternwick

Open Date
12 & 13 Nov. 2022
Garden Entry

Open 10:00 to 5:00


This Victorian-era home in leafy Elsternwick has undergone two renovations in the past decade. The first was to restore the old house to its former glory, complete with a garden to match the home’s historic stylings. A more recent modernist extension was completed a few years later, where the garden both complimented the clean lines of the new building whilst also unifying the front and back of the property through planting that complemented both old and new.

In the front, we enhanced the Victorian-era features of the home with expansive gardens wrapping around the two lawn areas and a central honed concrete path. The Victorians and modern-day designers love bold textures, so we kept the existing Golden Elm and filled the garden with swathes of Miscanthus, Canna and Cotinus. To create a sense of uniformity in a sea of opulent plants, we massed Lomandra Tanika along the front boundary and adjacent to the house.

To continue the sense of Victorian-era style. On the West facing side, we planted the tall and narrow Pyrus Capital and under-planted with Clivea, and we kept the existing Camellias (happier now under the shade of the Pears). The East side of the house is cool all year round, so we planted Japanese maples and then underplanted them with various shade-loving favourites.

The back of the property recently underwent a complete renovation with a clean-lined modernist extension. The existing trees were moved to new locations, and we added cpose of Corymbia citriodora ‘Sensuous’, a smaller growing variety of the much larger Lemon Scented Gum that is a hardy alternative to Silver Birch with the same white trunks and habit. The sunnier parts of the garden are filled with bold summer colour, with the shady spaces reserved as quiet retreats.