Until recently, Paul Bangay’s garden designs for the uber-rich were mostly found in the posh suburbs of Melbourne or Victorian country estates, including his own ‘Stonefields’ garden. In the past few years he has been doing a lot more work in Sydney and many of his designs can now be found through similarly wealthy Sydney suburbs like this garden in north shore Killara.
Bangay’s designs are very much about definition and control. Edges are sharp and crisp, plants behave themselves in strict formality and open spaces invite entertaining for hundreds of guests, rather than an intimate family gathering.
I saw this garden as part of the Heartkids bus tour, which takes in some of Sydney’s grander (very) private gardens once a year each October as a charity fundraiser. If you can get yourself on next year’s tour, you’ll need to book early when tickets go on sale in mid winter as they sell like hot cakes.
This garden, which cascades down over several levels, has been added to as the owners were able to buy the land behind them, giving them a second street access and allowing them to put in a pool and large entertaining pavilion. Access is by a driveway from the rear street.
The front garden is strongly reflective of Bangay’s formal style, with clipped buxus hedges restraining white flowering gardenia and star jasmine, a French urn water feature and clipped buxus balls (each with its own paired uplights) defining the front entrance path.
A side path skirts by a mature paperbark (required by Council to be retained) and through a mirror-backed security gate to an expanse of lawn on a scale rarely seen in a suburban garden, punctuated with 4 sentinel plane trees, soon to be pollarded. Edged by a row of ornamental pear trees, a Waterhousia hedge and several crown-lifted mature turpentines, the lawn rolls down to a large pool and pavilion. A small courtyard to the side of the pavilion features more lawn and buxus plus some crab apples and adjoins the vegetable garden, somewhat shaded and about 100m distant from the house, but maybe the cook doesn’t mind walking that far.
Adjoining the sumptuous outdoor room at the rear of the main house, a geometric paving and grass design is decorated with French urns and clipped buxus.
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