Palm Springs style is synonymous with retro glamor, so it was a perfect fit for this landscape attached to a recently renovated mid-century modern house in Byron Bay. The design goal of this project was to create an outdoor space that offers fun in the sun by day and glamorous charm by night for its celebrity owner with a sunny disposition, Shelley Craft. This design brief was a natural fit for landscaper David Franklin who has a long-running and renowned affiliation with Channel 9’s ever-popular TV show The Block, which Shelley co-hosts.
David and his team were excited to work with Shelley to create a Palm Springs inspired landscape for her and her family including husband Christian and two daughters. The design scope included rejuvenating an existing pool and integrating a newly-built bungalow into the new grounds including generous lawn space, garden beds, an alfresco entertaining area and an outdoor shower.
The pool renovation was an essential part of the overall design and was designed to exude a luxe resort vibe. The old pool tiles were replaced with white tiles, giving the water a cool and fresh light blue appearance. The pool was further enhanced with a stone water feature and a cantilevered polished concrete day bed at one end, softened by custom outdoor cushions and sheltered within a timber clad pergola. The level change stepping up to the pool area presented an opportunity for another design feature around the pool. “By cantilevering the polished concrete pool surround, we created a space to plant underneath which integrates the transition between the concrete and lawn areas nicely.” says David. And instead of just having a step up to the pool gate, David suggested a cantilevered platform, paved with random stone. “It makes a feature of the level change and the stone provides an attractive contrast in between the lawn and polished concrete.” The cantilevered detail is reflected on the other side of the lawn in the porch wrapping around the bungalow, and also in the daybed cantilevering over the shallow end of the pool, pulling the various spaces together with a visual consistency.
And then there’s the plants… you can’t channel Palm Springs without a Palm tree and some luscious foliage! That being said, Byron Bay is in sub-tropical Australia not arid Arizona, so the plant palette had to be refined to suits its geographic location. Shelley was fortunate to already have an establish Palm tree which maintained pride of place in the lawn area, and a Pandanus tree that fitted the aesthetic perfectly. The Franklin Design team then created a palette to complement the existing trees, including a stunning Frangipani planted in a green mound of Zoysia grass. All trees were given up-lighting as well. “The outdoor lighting creates a beautiful ambience at dusk and at night” says David. “We took care to position the garden lighting to highlight the landscape features including the trees, the pool and water feature, and the shadow lines under the cantilevered platforms.”
The landscape entails many other less conspicuous but nonetheless charming details, including a locally made copper outdoor shower, custom outdoor cushions and handmade pots containing a mix of succulents and lush plants.
A window box adjoining the family’s indoor lounge area provides a lovely interface with the outdoor pool area, and is an inviting nook to retreat to. “This is an example of a distinct but integrated zone, which makes the space so dynamic but still cohesive.” says David.
Shelley and her family are delighted with their stylish new outdoor space, which caters to their enviable lifestyle in the warm northern-NSW climate. In summarising the design intention, David says “We wanted to give them space to relax, plenty of room for the kids – and their dog – to play, and of course scope to do what they do best… host people!” It’s safe to say the landscape successfully reflects its celebrity owner’s personality: stylish, sunny and timeless in appeal!