Inner West Project Insight: Sanctuary from a hectic schedule


Seeking sanctuary from a hectic schedule? Prefer a low to no maintenance garden? The view of a neglected outside space can seem insurmountable. Fortunately, Award Winning Landscape Designers and Architects can help you imagine the possibilities for any outside space. And, happily, at Outside Space, we’re often asked to turn their inspiring and challenging designs into reality.

In this case study, a very busy professional with no time for gardening, let alone maintenance, was looking for a solution to what was then a damp, overgrown courtyard in Sydney’s inner west, that regularly hosted visiting bats in a clump of old palm trees.

Inner west courtyard BEFORE
Inner west courtyard BEFORE

They advised their designer Outhouse Design, that they wanted a garden that drew the eye and acted as an extension of their newly renovated home. They wanted an outside space with personality that was clean and crisp, while ensuring that it left plenty of room for off street parking.  Yes, off street parking! This space has been adapted to take off street parking if and when in the future. The back wall and gardens could be removed if they wish and have the option of placing a garage door back in place to use the space again.

The site itself posed some challenges in that the only access to the rear courtyard was through the client’s home.

We couldn’t go over it, we couldn’t go under it, we would have to go through it. And there was a LOT of material that had to make its way into the courtyard to complete the garden design construction. These included  advanced tree plantings and footings for walls.

Regardless of the challenges, the client wanted a low maintenance solution that could extract hidden value from beneath the bat guano. As always, we were up for the challenge.

The result was an open space offering a low maintenance entertaining area. Large format paving complemented the internal timber floors of the renovated home. Smooth render walls, mass native ground cover and a simple edge planting created an area that feels clean, crisp and green. Corten steel laser cut panels on the back wall, bordered with Wisteria on wire, ensured eyes were drawn to the space — now in a good way.

Inner west courtyard AFTER
Inner west courtyard AFTER

The home’s supporting courtyard garden was also rejuvenated, creating a stunning focal point from the lounge with a feature up-light water urn. Lichen paving, the same as used in the rear courtyard, was cut to form a crisp, circular paved island surrounded by a crawling ivy to soften the now intimate space.

The design by Outhouse Design, constructed by Outside Space, went on to win Gold and Best in Category in the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers 2013 Awards for Residential under $50,000. Together, we’d done it, the client had their sanctuary from a hectic schedule and we’d turned bat guano into Gold!

If you have an outside space that poses some challenges, but you’d love to see it rejuvenated, feel free to get in touch. We’re here to help!

Award winning design by Outhouse Design.
Garden construction by Outside Space.