Kingwell St was an old and tired villa and the front and side of the house were pretty much lawn only. Being on a corner section didn't make it very attractive and totally exposed to the neighbours. So we designed a courtyard with a chess board out the front and worked some plants in down the side to give it a lift.
The side of the house had less than 1m width and so I went to work removing all the grass, and replanting it with.. grasses! It was a windy spot which didn't get much shelter or water being coastal, so Dwarf Toi Toi, Cordyline, Astelia nervosa, Dietes grandiflora were the pick of the bunch.
I planted a taller Griselinea littoralis hedge around the fence line in the courtyard. It was fast growing and a nice green contrast against a black picket fence. With regular trimming it filled out well and I kept it topped high enough so that it provided privacy, but didn't compromise sunlight.
To define the garden beds I went for Teucrium fruticans for its fast growing and easily forming shape which allowed me to craft the balls at the corners to give it something a bit different. This plant also flowered pretty blue flowers and was hardy for all weather when kept trimmed. Mulching the entire courtyard regularly was key to keeping it looking great.
The original brief was semi-tropical, herbs if possible, mixed with form and function. The outcome was planting Bananas, Taro, Agaves, Cordyline, Nikau Palms to compliment the existing Cabbage Tree, and then as ground cover I planted Rosemary. It really worked for the lamb roast! The bananas were challenged by the coastal winds but the owner was adamant that they stay.
And of course you have to find a home by the front door for the obligatory Daphne, alongside some tropical Hibiscus. The end result became another room to the house, a courtyard with privacy & calm - Cheese, Wine and Chess!