It takes considerable experience; imagination and skill to perceive how an outdoor space can be landscaped to not only to look fabulous, but also serve as a functional and maintainable space. In other words, a space to be admired, and used.

Making a fantasy landscape become a reality is a specialty of David Kirkpatrick of Outdoor Creations. David with more than 30 years’ experience in transforming spaces from across Melbourne , making sure not only a client’s dreams are met, but that a space is going to be used.

“Too often people get caught up with what they believe is ‘in’, only to discover in ten years’ time or less, that the $100,000 to $200,000 plus they dropped into the landscaping is now the devaluing bouffant hairdo of the landscape world, and now, far too expensive to update.

“For example, at the moment the use bluestone paving around swimming pools, very on trend,” adds Kirkpatrick, “but clients often don’t realise that bluestone in the sun gets extraordinarily hot. When summer rolls around people have to wear shoes or thongs for fear of burning their feet, let alone sunbathe, “I’ve actually created a video of cooking an egg on bluestone.

“A recent transformation we did was for a backyard, that beforehand, was filled with a maze of Box hedge that all had to be taken out,” adds Kirkpatrick.” It looked great but there was absolutely nowhere to use the space, Not even room for a table and chair. The new homeowners wanted to fit, a trampoline, an entertaining area for friends and family visit, plus a kitchen garden.

“I had to remind them that on top of that, they also will need a space for the washing line and rubbish bins. More often than not these mundane necessities are overlooked or sacrificed for solely the look,” says Kirkpatrick.

While some trends are more futile than advantageous (such as the perilous bluestone in the wrong spot), some trends can actually be beneficial to not only spaces, but the environment, such as the residential vegetable or Kitchen garden, or the creation of urban rooftop gardens.

“20 years ago, I couldn’t mention growing produce in a garden. Now, there is a growing awareness of quality, organic food and people are wanting designed into the space ornamental vegetable gardens, or kitchen gardens. Spaces to be visually stunning that grow low-maintenance vegetables and herbs.

“Similarly, rooftop gardens are becoming favoured among our clients, with many apartment blocks or multi-storey offices seeking a rooftop entertaining zone and garden,” adds Kirkpatrick.

Making sure every inch of available space is accounted for is a considerable skill of Outdoor Creations, who make sure client’s get “complete bang for their buck out of every square inch,” says Kirkpatrick.

“The garden is a jig saw; each component as critical as the other,” adds Kirkpatrick. “The pool, paving, fencing, entertainment areas, location of the barbecue and even washing line…how does that match to the architecture? How can I add value over and above what I spend?” No real-estate agent said “Oh you can have that space for free because it’s dead space”

“For instance people often organise the installation of a swimming pool, then think about how the garden will fit with it, rather than considering the pool as just one component.”

To approach the garden in a haphazard manner, is a recipe for a haphazard garden and that results inevitably in the creation of dead space,” adds Kirkpatrick. “Every square inch of your outdoor space must be performing a function and to accomplish that planning is essential. A failure to plan is a plan to fail”.

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