Outcrop House | Whale Beach, Australia

Outcrop House rests gently on a hilltop overlooking beautiful Whale Beach, this garden feels like it belongs. It enhances the sense of place – almost like it has naturally evolved from the earth over time – in accordance with the rocky outcrops and sandy beaches below.

The existing garden was tired and overgrown with rampant weeds up and down the hillside. Our clients had some existing design features we aimed to enhance, including a yoga deck emerging from the rock face, steel rods lining the paths, and several large-scale sculptures. Our clients wanted an interesting and diverse garden, but given the spectacular views, their directive was that none of the plantings should be tall. Any proposed plants needed to be carefully selected and sourced to ensure that they would thrive in such an exposed (salty, windy) environment, with new planting also needing to be protected from bandicoots and rabbits until established. The soil on site was tired and sandy with not much microbial activity. Removing the existing weeds and their root structures created further challenges, as it disturbed and lifted the soil, making erosion a real threat. Another key complexity was the natural watercourse that ran down the escarpment. With such a steep site, water drainage was a primary consideration throughout every stage of design and planting.

Harmonising new design elements with the natural environment and an existing garden scheme was the key to creating a practical and aesthetically pleasing landscape.

At the heart of the development was the need to integrate existing features, such as a yoga deck, steel rods lining the pathways, and sculptural pieces that had been carefully placed within the space.

Given the steep site’s demands, the plant palette includes varieties that are environmentally sensitive and help stabilise the hillside and prevent erosion. Our selection includes Casuarina glauca ‘Green Wave’ (Casuarina She-Oak), Doryanthes excelsa (Gymea Lily), and Rhagodia spinescens (Spiny Saltbush).

Clusters of Casuarina glauca ‘Green Wave’ (Casuarina She-Oaks) have been shaped into balls to mimic the rocky landforms and undulating landscape. They also speak to the striking architecture of the house designed by Peter Stutchbury Architecture.

Each element has been connected and considered to create a peaceful retreat for our clients and provide a haven for local bandicoots and native birds.

Outcrop House

Location: Whale Beach, New South Wales, Australia

Garden Design, Garden Installation and Maintenance: Pepo Botanic Design
Architect: Peter Stutchbury Architecture

Photography: Nick Bowers

About Damian Holmes 3266 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/