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Look to the east

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A private outdoor extension of a master bedroom, this courtyard imparts a sense of order and a spirit of tranquillity and calm

Look to the east


A sculptural rock is a feature of many traditional Japanese Zen gardens. Prominently placed, the rock usually symbolises an island or mountains, while the sand or pebbles around it represent flowing water.

These principles – and the discovery of various Japanese lanterns around the property – inspired landscape designer Scott Brown when he set out to create this small east-facing courtyard.

Located along one side of a large, renovated home, the enclosed garden provides a secluded retreat that's accessed from the master bedroom via french doors.

Decking, made of Coolam timber and stained to replicate the look of Jarrah, has been graduated to form subtle steps down to the garden.

Here, a 950kg solid ironstone rock – hand-picked for its natural marking and holes – takes centre stage.


"An underground sump pumps recycled water via bamboo flutes through holes in the rock. The gentle sound of trickling water enhances the theme of the garden – quiet contemplation," says Brown.

Black pebbles, placed to simulate a stream, visually link the water feature to a hand-carved sandstone lantern shaded by a lace-leaf Japanese maple.

"A mound of mondo grass has been used to create a lush carpet from which this maple emerges," says Brown.

Grey-white gravel used elsewhere provides colour and textural contrast.

Lights, strategically placed around the garden, accentuate the mix of water, stone and foliage at night.

First published date: 12 January 2005

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