Catherine StewartSoaking up good design – a bathroom garden

'Vitality' at Grand Designs Live, Melbourne 2014. Design Stephen Read

An intriguing show garden won Gold at Grand Designs Live, Melbourne. ‘Vitality‘ by designer Stephen Read takes a tub outside – but this bath in a garden is much cleverer than that.

'Vitality' at Grand Designs Live, Melbourne 2014. Design Stephen Read

‘Vitality’ at Grand Designs Live, Melbourne 2014. Design Stephen Read

Contrasting a reused pressed metal wall and reclaimed blackbutt (eucalypt) hardwood decking with the newness of polished concrete pavers, ‘Vitality‘ also adds a rain garden so that drained bath water can filter through a small wetland and, from there, safely water the garden and also recharge the water table. Large plant-filled gaps between pavers also aid permeability.

'Vitality' at Grand Designs Live, Melbourne 2014. Design Stephen Read

‘Vitality’ at Grand Designs Live, Melbourne 2014. Design Stephen Read

Like all good gardens there are trees for shading, and plenty of surrounding greenery to soothe jangled nerves at the end of a long day.

Sketch proposal for 'Vitality' at Grand Designs Live, Melbourne 2014. Design Stephen Read

Sketch proposal for ‘Vitality’ at Grand Designs Live, Melbourne 2014. Design Stephen Read

Stephen is congratulated by Grand Designs' Kevin McCloud

Stephen is congratulated by Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud

Designed to show that you don’t alway need a sharp line defining what’s indoors and what is outside, Stephen Read has created something both beautiful and very appealing. I like the crispness of the built elements and how they contrast with a fuzziness in the planting of raphiolepis, flowering hellebores, orchids and flax. And while there’s a sense of warmth and earthiness from timber and plants that stops this feeling too ‘bathroomy’, I’m glad for the more clinical clean feel of a white bath and wall.

Fancy a soak?

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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Original creator of GardenDrum. South Coast NSW.

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