Multi-award-winning designer Noel Brown of Bioscapes Gold Coast brings his significant expertise in creating Bali-inspired gardens to the home of leading importers, Tropical Living.
Noel’s reputation as an expert of tropical outdoor design came to fore in this project, especially considering he was working with experts in their own right. His clients, Bob and Mary-Anne Costar have been travelling to the island to source exquisite Balinese products for the home and garden for their business, Tropical Living, for over 20 years – so it’s fair to say, the pressure was on for Bioscapes!
Drawing inspiration from his own two decades of travelling to Bali and studying their unique landscaping style, Noel set about designing an outdoor sanctuary that would bring the tranquil, zen-like ambience of a Balinese garden to this Queensland home.
With pieces from Tropical Living’s treasure trove of stock including rustic pots, timber furniture and huge statues of deities and gods, Bioscapes have crafted a lush, exotic backyard escape. There’s many carefully considered parts and compelling features, like the authentic, hand-dressed and hand-crafted hardwood shrine, which is the main focal point of the garden with its serene statue of Buddha that instantly transports you to the Island of the Gods.
A bright red backing references the owners’ use of red in other parts of their garden, such as the traditional Balinese umbrellas from Tropical Living that are used as accent pieces in the pool area. “We’ve incorporated a mix of eye-catching plantings here, such as Aechmea blanchetiana or (Blanchet’s Aechmea) a brightly coloured bromeliad, and Buddha’s Belly bamboo to either side.”
The shrine area is accessed via staggered hand-carved Lava stone steps, which are heavily textured to age gracefully, giving that lived-in look you see in older Balinese gardens.
Another essential part of a Balinese garden are water features. Noel has created two raised ponds which are viewed and enjoyed from several vantage points around the property, and spent hours painstakingly scratching out mini channels into the top of the ‘Mountain Rock’ pots from Indonesia to allow the water to flow evenly out and around their perimeter. “In time, the pots will develop an aged patina and grow that beautiful moss that traditional Balinese garden features always have,” he adds.
The custom-designed water features are impressive, and won Bioscapes the Best Landscape Feature Residential 2 category at the 2019 Landscape Queensland Construction Excellence Awards (the garden as a whole received a Highly Commended in the Contractor Design & Construct 1 category).
The garden turns into an enchanting wonderland as night falls. “Both the garden lights and the water features have been put on timers which switch on automatically around dinner time daily so the owners can enjoy the ambience of the lights and the subtle sound of the water trickling,” says Noel.