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274
Current Issue

September 2019

#274
September 2019

Interior High Notes: Residential wonders in Atlanta, Whistler, Milan and more in Azure's September 2019 issue!

It isn’t every garden-design project that has a life-sized elephant sculpture as its jumping-off point, but that’s exactly the feature that Australian landscape architect Matt Walsham was asked to consider when he agreed to create a green roof for a backyard studio and carport.

The new structure, designed by Pleysier Perkins for a sloping site behind a single-family home in a suburb of Melbourne, was also entirely exposed, meaning that the roof garden would require hardy, sun-tolerant plantings and a way to irrigate them in extreme weather conditions. The elephant, by artist Geoffrey Ricardo, has yet to be installed, but all of the elements (potential anchoring points, a sufficiently sturdy roof) are in place for the day it does get its perch.

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1Vigorous climbers such as Parthenocissus henryana were incorporated so they could tumble over the new structure’s sides and into the void atop the carport.

2The two skylights’ white tapered housings, made of powder-coated steel, direct light into specific areas of the building and yard.

3Intended to evoke a wild meadow, the rooftop plantings not only soften the structure’s hard edges, but also replace the greenery supplanted by its construction.

4The carport’s grassy surface, dotted with circular pavers, doubles as a fun zone, ideal for games of table tennis or kicking a ball around.

In the meantime, the garden as designed by Walsham serves as a lush, low-maintenance capper to the sixties-inspired studio and open-air garage. To accommodate the plants, he worked closely with the architects to integrate “the desired planting depths into the engineering and design of the concrete rooftop,” as well as drainage discharge points and provisions for water access.

To ensure that the rooms below were entirely protected against water penetration, he subsequently layered in a sheet of micron liner, a plastic drainage cell sandwiched between two sheets of A24 geofabric and, finally, a plant substrate, for a total depth of 130 millimetres. Irrigation is carefully controlled through a timed dripper system.

Previously underused, the awkwardly sloped yard now consists of decks, steps and brick retaining walls leading to a new studio and carport.

Lastly, Walsham developed the plant palette, a mix of creepers and crawlers, hardy meadow species and other Australian natives. In time, many are projected to cascade over the structure’s sides, softening its edges, filling a few voids – and providing an appropriately jungle-like setting for that prized pachyderm.

A Melbourne Backyard Rises Above the Fray

A backyard redesign in Australia doesn’t end at ground level.

AZURE is an independent magazine working to bring you the best in design, architecture and interiors. We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.