Outcrop Beach House

“We love working with Alpine. Their range, expertise and high level of service made this project a delightful collaboration, especially given the complexity of researching and sourcing some of the more unusual plants featured in the garden”

– Nicola Cameron, Pepo Botanic Design

Architecturally designed by Peter Stutchbury Architecture, Outcrop House is an award-winning home in Palm Beach that saddles the landscape escarpment above Whale Beach. The objective was to rejuvenate the existing garden (originally designed by Stutchbury & Pape Landscape Architecture) in the front and rear spaces of the property. The brief for Pepo Botanic Design was to enhance the sense of place and to ensure an environmentally sensitive approach, while exploring the specific site conditions and researching a safe habitat for native birds. Given the spectacular views over Whale Beach, any plans for the rear garden needed to ensure that views were enhanced and not obstructed.

The existing trees to the entry garden provided a strong anchor point and settled the house into the landscape. Home to a range of mature Cupaniopsis anacardioides (Tuckeroo) and Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad-leaf Paperbark), the understory of the entry garden required replenishment. The existing sandstone steps and oxidised metal rods were to be retained. It was important that the underplanting to the Tuckeroo trees introduce an additional level of screening from the street offering an extra level of privacy. The winter courtyard was to be softened by a cascading groundcover which would be viewed from the kitchen and dining area.

Pepo Botanic Design’s primary brief for the rear garden was to ensure that views were enhanced and not obstructed. The berm originally installed to the top terrace space had sunk and the client wanted this to be reintroduced with plantings to encapsulate a strong, colourful, graphic approach. The new planting proposal needed to consider the natural watercourse and enhance the site’s natural features. The existing Westringia fruticosa (Coastal Rosemary) was to be removed and replaced with a similar form. The lawn area was to be retained and horticultural attention applied, if required. The existing meditation platform was a special place for the client and family, therefore options were reviewed for enhancing a sense of privacy and envelopment. As the site is considerably exposed, plants proposed were to be sourced to ensure they thrive in such environments. Existing large-scale garden sculptures were also to be retained and considered in the planting design.

Given the demands of the steep site and the exposed coastal location, the plant palette includes varieties that are environmentally sensitive, which help to stabilise the hillside and prevent erosion, as well as preventing weeds from being able to take hold and spread. Examples of these include Myoporum parvifolium ‘Yareena’, which was a very useful groundcover throughout, as well as Leptospermum laevigatum, commonly used throughout coastal properties for its salt-resistance and general hardiness. We also used Meeboldina scariosa to stabilise the marshy watercourse running down the escarpment.

Outcrop House

Sculpted balls of Casuarina glauca ‘Green Wave’ (Casuarina She-Oak) are the undeniable standouts of the garden, shaped to mimic the rocky landforms and undulating landscape of the hillside. They are a striking counterpoint the straight lines and hard edges of the architecturally designed house above.

Gardens like this take time to grow in. They are not instantaneous but the joy in watching them develop is tremendous. A garden to be most proud of. It is both strikingly beautiful and memorable, while also responding thoughtfully to the landscape and serving as habitat for native birds.

Landscape designer Nicola Cameron comments “we are thankful to have worked with such collaborative and supportive clients, who appreciated the design intent of the garden and are just as thrilled with its results as we are.”

The project was awarded Gold for Plantscape and Silver for Landscape Management at the Landscape Design Institute Awards late 2022. Well-deserved recognition for the work that the team at Pepo Botanic Design dedicated from beginning to end to this incredible project.

Featured plants included Casuarina glauca ‘Green Wave’ (Casuarina She-Oak), Lomandra hystrix ‘Katie Belles’ (Mat Rush), Westringia fruticosa ‘Mundi’ (Coastal Rosemary), Banksia spinulosa ‘Birthday Candles’, Myoporum parvifolium ‘Yareena’, Rhagodia spinescens (Spiny Saltbush), Doryanthes excelsa (Gymea Lily) and Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’ (Royal Mantle Grevillea)

Project Name: Outcrop House
Location: Palm Beach
Photographer: Nick Bowers
Landscape Designers: Nicola Cameron and Josh Arkey
Landscaper: Pepo Botanic Design