Owners of a rural farm property West of Ballarat wanted to link their traditional homestead through a thriving native garden towards a restful Rainforest Fernery. The entire ensemble, from house to outdoor pavilion to fernery reads as an unlikely bush Oasis amidst an expansive, sometimes very dry rural landscape.

From the House a journey begins along traditional brick paths through dense mounds of native grasses and flowering gems including paper daisies, acacias and poas. Undulating masses of tufted grass and bushy shrub artfully mask dog and chook sheds and make a surprising poetic feature of the iconic Australian Hills Hoist. Here one views across an ephemeral wetland and creek system towards an impressive array of upright granite monoliths. Through this sculptural display of stone are glimpses into the watery, fernery escape beyond.
Across an artfully arranged path of gold rush era cobbles,  a true sense of attention to details is seen in the dry stone granite walls and custom benches that hide in the far reaches of the garden. The connection made by artisan masonry between hill-scape, prairie like plantings and the vibrant greens and peculiar forms of ferns become evident as the sound of cascading waterfalls draw one nearer.
Within the fernery is a secluded seating spot that overlooks tempting rock pools and cascades under cover of grand fern trees. The main pond then extends outside, pointing back towards the house, past granite boulders and intriguing cor-ten steel planters of cascading ferns that hang above the water suspended from above.

So much preparation and effort hides beneath the surface of this garden, both in developing a fernery that will last the ages – and in artfully employed hardscaping elements that tie distinct landscape areas together in harmony. Ballarat is a design that embraces rustic elements found onsite dating back to the gold rush era giving the garden a historical depth and unique aesthetic.



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