Interest in Pinterest?

Okay so I’m a little late to the party in most cases but for those of you who haven’t already become completely addicted to Pinterest, be warned. Social media is one of  those things I’m never quite sure if I’m into or not. You know its important to stay abreast, you’re just not sure exactly where to draw the line between tire kicking and market leading. More often than not I suspect one could lose a large amount of life while engaging in these fancy apps and social sites but I have been meaning to get into Pinterest, Instagram and all that palava and have a good sniff around for some time but it wasn’t until the christmas hols that I finally got the chance. And so it is that I found myself sitting down every morning over a hot cup of tea and grazing the stage with sexy pics of home interiors, cool outdoor spaces and the new love of my life . .  tiles. What started off in 2012 as a vague attraction to the moroccan inspired tile arrangement has thanks to Pinterest, become an absolute obsession. Thank god we don’t have a house to renovate because I’d be in serious danger of tiling the bathroom, the loungeroom, the kitchen and every hallway. You name it, I’d tile it. And then comes Pinterest . .  and the obsession continues.

Anyhoo, happy new year everyone, we’re all back on board and for those of you looking for a little inspiration, check out our pinterest boards here. Delightful.


cycas design in Richmond this sat

Head down to our Eco Outdoor Richmond showroom in Melbourne to bounce some of your garden and design ideas off Mark Browning from Cycas Landscape Design. Eco Outdoor are privileged to be hosting Mark between 10-12noon on Saturday 5 November. So pop in with a load of ideas, a couple of pictures on your phone, some sketches, plant ideas or just come on in with an open mind and chat with Mark about how your outside space can be designed. See below an interview with Mark, and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

A little from our Spring Expert In-Store

Richmond – 5 November 2011 – 10-12pm

Mark Browning

Cycas Landscape Design

Describe your style.

In a nutshell; modern contemporary. I love floating edges and cantilevers (hence why the guys and girls at Eco are always dropping rebated edge paver samples into my studio!). I also love natural stone and timber and always strive to combine natural materials into my designs.

What inspires you?

The American modernism and contemporary architecture in general; the Kaufmann House in Palm Spring by Richard Neutra in particular. The minimalist approach in landscape design always inspires me and I love seeing product used in unusual and challenging ways to create real beauty.

Your favourite outdoor space?

That’s a hard one… I’m torn between the magnificence of the Walls of Jerusalem national park in Tasmania and some of the incredible designed public spaces in and around Melbourne such as Federation Square. Oh and my own pool once the weather picks up!

One tip for people as they head into Spring?

Get ready for spring as soon as you can because the growth is going to be berserk. I’d also put your solar heating on for grand final day (either NRL or AFL) as a quick dip during game time can be very refreshing!

Mark Browning, Cycas Landscape Design Mark Browning, Cycas Landscape Design Mark Browning, Cycas Landscape Design

interview with luke baldwin of site landscapes

In only 9 days our Waterloo showroom will be hosting another Spring Expert in-store. Between 10 -12 on November 5 Luke Baldwin of Site Landscapes will be in the showroom to talk with you about your garden design. If there are any ideas you may have in the back of your mind, or maybe you’re looking for some inspiration come in and have a chat. Luke is the mastermind behind Site Landscapes’ beautiful work, so check out his interview below, click through to his website and come in and see him next Saturday, November 5!

Describe your style.

My style differs from garden to garden. The inspirational starting point for me is always different; we’re working with a different house, a different outdoor space, not to mention a different client. I try to understand what inspires my client and create a design that reflects that, and resonates with their home and any existing features outside.

What inspires you?

Change. I like the idea of changing a space to create purpose, style and function. For me, a lot of the devil is in the detail. I’m always looking for new design ideas and different techniques and methods. It’s the little things that bring a garden to life and create a space that people want to be in.

Your favourite outdoor space?

Commonwealth Park in Canberra on a sunny Autumn day and Ballast Park in Sydney – I love the form and scale of the place.

One tip for people as they head into Spring?

Spring is the perfect time to get your garden ready for summer! If you’re planning on getting some professional work done, now is the time to get some advice so you can get moving. Do the work now (or better still get someone else to do it!) and you can sit back, relax and enjoy the outdoor living space you’ve created as the weather warms up.

Luke Baldwin

Site LandscapesSite Landscapes

interview with matt leacy

Matt Leacy from ‘Land Art Landscapes‘ will be our first Spring expert appearing in the Brookvale showroom this Saturday, so make sure you’ve put aside some time to come in and say hi!

Here’s a little bit from the man himself…

Describe your style. My style is quite eclectic and varies depending on both the client and the site. Each site is always different and poses different challenges and opportunities; likewise, each client has a different style sensibility so my approach for each garden is pretty unique. I like to understand what inspires my clients and then start with a fresh blank page and create something just for them.

What inspires you? Landscapes that are designed with longevity in mind; gardens should get better with age. Perfect form and structure complemented by the art of soft plantings. For me, the building and landscape should sit comfortably in unison, one should not compete with the other.

Your favourite outdoor space? My mother in lawʼs mountain garden and any national park with a beach.

One tip for people as they head into Spring Now is the time to get started on your outdoor space! If you start developing your garden or renovating your outdoor space now, youʼll be ready in time to enjoy it during the warmer months when youʼll use it most. Now is also the time to mulch your garden and prepare it for the drier months. The mulch will help to retain moisture and keep the soil cool. It will also assist in combating the weeds or at the very least, make them easier to remove. Spring is also the time to fertilise most plants in your garden, so feed them up as the growing season kicks in and youʼll get you maximum growth during springtime.

interview with matt cantwell

Matt Cantwell from ‘Secret Gardens of Sydney‘ is another expert who will be appearing in store this Spring, so read on and start thinking of some questions you can throw his way…

Describe your style. Sydney is an eclectic city with a range of architectural styles and personalities; so as a garden designer, flexibility and an ability to adapt to different styles is key. I like to focus on the right proportions and ensure that a good footprint and the right balance between the variety of requirements in a garden have been addressed. Itʼs then simply a case of using the right materials (be it flooring, walling, plants, sculpture, pots or furniture) to complete the picture and deliver the desired look.

What inspires you? People inspire me. It could be my clients or simply the general observation of the way people live and interact with their surrounding environment. Be it inner city, suburbia or further afield, there is so much to live, breath and take on board. Keeping an open mind is essential for any good designer. Of course I am always inspired by nature. Itʼs very hard to top some of the beauty created by mother nature, but we can certainly work with it.

Your favourite outdoor space? Having traveled extensively, I love city parks like Central Park in New York. For many it is their backyard, so to see people simply being outside and enjoying the outdoors can entertain me for hours. Throwing frisbees, having picnics, taking a break from work or teaching a child to ride a bike, itʼs wonderful to see people enjoying these public open spaces. Often being outside like this makes people feel good but they donʼt necessarily think about what is drawing them to these areas. As cities grow and become more populated, thereʼs a real focus on this aspect of design and how it encourages good health and peace of mind.

One tip for people as they head into Spring. Look outside the back door, do you want to spend time out there? If so, get organized and get your outdoor space into shape. We have an enviable climate and lifestyle here so make the most of it! Call a professional and get some advice. You may do it yourself from there or you may be in the position to get the job done for you, either way just get it right so that you want to spend time outside at home. Whether itʼs somewhere to eat meals, entertain family or friends, or just get your partner outside in the fresh air! Youʼll be amazed at how spending relaxing time outdoors can provide balance to your life.

Matt will be appearing in our Waterloo showroom on the 3rd of September between 10-12pm, so make sure you come in and meet him!

interview with sharon harris

As one of our experts appearing in-store,  Sharon Harris from ‘Harris Parnell Garden Design’ was kind enough to take a few moments recently and answer a few questions for us…

Describe your style. My style varies as our motto is ʻCreating Individual Gardensʼ. We donʼt really have any one particular style and pride ourselves on planting a garden that suits our client, the house and the micro-climate of the site. Many of our gardens combine both formal and informal aspects; we often incorporate vegetable gardens, and sometimes perennials and grasses depending on the site. However a good base structure in the garden (generally created by plants) is a fundamental part of our designs – I love to use plants with bold colour, hence my soft spot for perennials, but plant form and texture is also key, so we give consideration to multi-seasonal plants as well. We are known for using a good balance of soft and hard landscaping, itʼs one of the aspects of our design that appeals to clients.

What inspires you? A garden space that speaks to the soul; where all the elements in the garden are in balance. By this I mean that no one aspect of the garden stands out, but rather all the elements work together to create a space that welcomes and envelopes
you. A space that is as peaceful as it is beautiful. No matter what challenges we face as garden designers, this is the kind of designed space I always strive for.

Your favourite outdoor space? The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne; itʼs truly a beautiful space in the middle of the city, an oasis and an inspiration.

One tip for people as they head into Spring. Celebrate colour. To add colour into your garden you donʼt need to add more than one or two plants to brighten the space.
If you have areas of your garden that arenʼt working, donʼt be afraid to use colour. It doesnʼt even have to be through planting, it could be outdoor fabrics, a bold sculpture or even just a cushion.

Make sure you get down to our Richmond showroom this Saturday the 3rd of September between 10-12pm, so you too can ask Sharon about any questions you might have regarding your outdoor space.

unity, function, simplicity and scale

Donnell Garden - The deck with oaks - By Cara Ruppert - Flickr

I have recently begun reading a great book on the late Thomas Church called ‘Gardens are for People’, first published in 1955. Thomas Church in my eyes is one of the leading Landscape Architects of the past 100 years. He studied at both Berkley and Harvard University and later in the 1930’s started up his own practice in San Francisco, retiring later then in 1977.

In 1937 he designed the ‘Donnell Garden’ in Sonoma, (…and by this I’m not referring to the great artisan Bread most of us are familiar with, but the ‘County’ in California )……that indeed was a cheeky plug for our neighbour on Danks St.

This garden is a Modernist icon and one of the best preserved examples of its time, take a look here for yourself. Its really hard to believe that this garden was designed 74 years ago and still remains true to his style of simplicity and elegance.

I was first introduced to his work while studying Garden Design in the UK and this is where I discovered his timeless appeal. Or maybe it was my love of the Kidney Shaped Pools!
Church was the instigator of the ‘New Modern Movement’ which later became known as the ‘Californian Style’. Thus the outdoor room is not a new development, its been one of Church’s trademarks throughout his designs in the Californian way of life, not dissimilar to the Aussie way of life.
His basic principles were Unity, Function, Simplicity and Style, apply this to any design process and I think you’ll be a step or 4 in the right direction.