Garden Tour With Anthony Wyer
Evolving slowly around an existing sandstone boulder this landscape designer's garden has seen many iterations over the years. Home to Wyer & Co's creative director Anthony Wyer, his wife Rebecca and their four young children, the family's surroundings have flourished along with their developing tastes and requirements. Take a seat, we can't wait to show you more.
Q—Hi Anthony, thank you for inviting us inside Boulder House. When did you purchase your home, and how has it evolved since?
A—My wife, Rebecca and I purchased the property in 2015. It wasn't exactly our dream home, but with constant fine tuning we've realised its potential, creating a garden and home that reflects our style and the needs of our young family.
Q—What did the original garden look like, and what was the catalyst for change?
A—Perched high on a corner block the house was decorated in the manner of a European villa, it was trend at the time.
From the front, the home was square and imposing and at the rear, the garden was a labyrinth of overgrown trees, shrubs and climbers.
We approached the renovation in stages, as time and budget allowed, but it wasn't until Rebecca and I agreed that this is where we wanted to stay that we decided to design a garden that reflects us, and our lifestyle.
Q—Did the site impose any challenges? How were they overcome?
A—The greatest challenge of course was to be found in the rear garden, where an entire corner—25 square meters—was taken up by a sandstone boulder.
As I was clearing out the garden, the boulder was a great surprise and the more I cleaned it up, the more significant it became. In addition to this, the rear boundary runs on an angle, leaving one area of the garden much deeper than the other. I had considered for some time how to convert this area into usable space that would also accomodate our love of entertaining, eventually it would become the cave-like cabana you see today.
The boulder is a beautiful natural element, and over time has become the keystone for the entire garden design.
Q—What function does the cabana serve?
A—The cabana was intended as a relaxed, multi-purpose space that sits adjacent to the pool, so seating was an obvious choice, however, it was also important that the outlook be beautiful when viewed from inside the house. The flowing bench seat and feature Ficus lyrata contributes to this, as does the rooftop planter.
Q—Now the design has been realised, can you describe the garden's relationship with the home?
A—Prior to the renovation our home lacked any real indoor—outdoor connection and the greenery was minimal, consisting only of lawn and hedging. Today, it feels grounded, and the layout of the garden complements the layout of the home, allowing the story to continue inside and out.
Q—What are the key materials and plants used, and why did you specify them?
A—We've taken a relaxed, organic approach to planting with seasonal colour and layers of textural interest.
Feature plants include a 30-year-old Olea europea (European Olive) at the entrance. A pair of Kentia Palms (Howea forsteriana) and Bougainvillea 'Scarlet O'Hara' in the private courtyard.
In the rear garden, the cabana is draped with cascading rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus') and there's Camellia sasanqua, Agave americana and Brugmansia 'Feingold' and Chamaerops humilis planted in the rooftop. The Dracaena draco featured in the adjacent garden bed is also very special.
As for materials, it's a simple palette—terracotta, bamboo, limestone and timber—with light, natural, earthy materials for a modern Mediterranean feel.
Q—How do you, and your family enjoy the space?
A—We're a family that likes to be outdoors, so having outdoor spaces that work year-round is really important, as are entertaining spaces. Rebecca and I both have large extended families, so it's common for us to have 30—40 people over for lunch. The garden is designed to entertain that kind of number. We've created different zones to accomodate and entertain people.
Q—What are your favourite parts of the garden?
A—Definitely the plants. We searched from Victoria to Queensland for the right fit in terms of size and maturity.
Q—Overall, how has the design changed and improved the home?
A—It has completely transformed the home and its street presence—the feeling and atmosphere too.