Tom Remfry, Vermont

4 Villa Mews, Vermont (2016)

Open Date
12-13 Nov. 2016
Garden Entry

Note: This garden was opened in 2016

The project brief was to design an aesthetically pleasing plant scheme that related to the property’s existing modern architecture, while observing the area’s native vegetation overlay. The garden owners sought a low maintenance and drought hardy garden.

My objective was to select plants that offer seasonal interest, vibrant colour, form and textural foliage that soften the architecture and allow the house to sit comfortably within the landscape. The planting design in the rear garden strives to link in with the existing pool and Balinese hut.

My purpose was to successfully design a blend of native plants and ornamentals, in both front and rear, to create a cohesive and interesting garden that the whole family could enjoy. The Silver Princess, for example, sways in the breeze and offers rewarding flowers for birds and butterflies. They also act as mid tier plantings, which allows for a broader view of the mature Eucalyptus that are a brilliant highlight of this landscape. Ultimately, the plant choice creates a sense of harmony and peace and serves as inspiration for other local garden owners.

The challenge of changing light conditions in the front garden was overcome by selecting plants that could adapt to light during the warmer months and levels of shade in the cooler parts of the year. Beschorneria yuccoides or Mexican lily is a perfect choice here as the dramatic grey, green foliage contrasts well with the soft, pink flowers of the Crepe Myrtles, and adapts to changing light conditions.

Other challenges, such as the poor condition of the soil being compacted after construction, required a choice of plants that could adapt to a relatively shallow soil profile. The Grevillea lanigera, with its shallow root system, is a perfect plant for this position, as its planted along the front boundary of the garden. Soil improvement is ongoing, and with regular additions of compost and seasonal mulching, the soil is now supporting a large array of plants.

A cleverly located swale channels excess rainfall into the natural site’s soil profile at the property’s frontage. Slowing excess rainwater, via a cleverly located swale, ensures water moves through the soil profile. This prevents excess run off in the advent of rainfall, which is of particular importance on this steeply sloping frontage.

The design at 4 Villa Mews contains 487 individual plants, within which there are 42 different plant varieties that together create the perfect contrast to the architecture. With the inclusion of appropriate native varieties, such as Grevilleas and Banksias, this creates a natural ecosystem and habitat for insects, birds, frogs & other invertebrates. As a result, natural microclimates exist and biodiversity is protected. Furthermore, with the management provided by Tom’s Secret Garden, the result is an outstanding, eco-friendly garden.