April 4, 2024

Freshwater Garden

This house & garden located in Freshwater on Sydney’s Northern Beaches was once an original 1950’s brick bungalow on a level block of lawn without a single plant or tree on the entire block.  It also happens to be the family home of our very own, Josh & Anna Harrison.  Make sure you check out the before & after shots at the very end!!

After a major renovation and rear extension a garden design was implemented to compliment the couples lifestyle. “This is the first home we’ve renovated and we love the area, so we designed the house with kids in mind.  Which was lucky because we now have a 12 week old!” Says Anna. “We’re always having friends over so the garden needed to compliment our love of entertaining”.

A large covered Spotted Gum deck extends off the rear of the house providing a protected area to dine and entertain.  “The back of the house faces North” Says Josh, “So the house was designed to capture as much sun as possible.  We selected Spotted Gum for the deck, as we wanted the timber to turn a silvery grey tone to match the internal floor boards.”

The built-in BBQ with a polished concrete bench top is set in front of a vertical Spotted Gum screen with copper spaces were used to separate the batons.

The stairs which lead down onto the lawn, feature an integrated bench seat and provide a great place to sit in the sun.  “It’s the perfect place to sit in the sun with a drink or reading a book.”

Another bench seat, this one made of stone, sits at the north west corner of the property and curves in front of a Jacaranda tree. “A client of mine who owns a property down in the Southern Highlands came across some stone from a 150 year old bridge that had recently been demolished.  He asked if I wanted it, and I was on my way the next day!” Says Josh.


The curved lawn is surrounded with a mixture of coastal, traditional, exotic and screening plants.  The planting scheme and layout creates contrast by blending the texture and tones of different foliage.  Feature trees include a Dracaena draco, Chinese Elm, Jacaranda, Leopard Tree and a Coastal Banksia.

“We live in a suburban area and we’re surrounded by neighbours.  We wanted visitors to walk through the house and forget that they’re in suburbia.” Says Josh. “All my favourite plants are in this garden and I try to spend at least a little bit of time in the garden every day, even if it’s just a bit of pruning. I’m constantly adding and relocating plants too.  Anna thinks the plants have anxiety from a fear of change.”

The entire project can be viewed here.

Home renovation works carried out by Greg McNair from Mac Building Co.

Photography by Hannah Blackmore.


Before and After