Honeysuckle House is located on a unique property in Shoreham, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. 

The site contains several buildings previously part of Camp Buxton (established around 1925 by the YMCA) before the new house and garden designed by Planned Living Architects and Plume Studio respectively.

A woodland reserve adjoins the property, providing a natural starting for the new landscape. ‘We wanted to celebrate this and wanted the concept to seamlessly melt into the background,’ says Heath Blair, director of Plume Studio.

The garden design expands on the existing planting palette—both native and acquired—and provides seasonality in the form of colour and texture. ‘The long serpentine driveway passed through an existing landscape full of natives, perennials, succulents and lots of olive trees,’ says Heath. ‘Quite the eclectic mix!’

Materials for the landscape draw on the house by Planned Living Architects that frames the woodland beyond. ‘We had to curate the landscape so as not to impede on these vistas, which meant we needed to be restrained in our decisions,’ explains Heath.

The architects were influenced by the small weatherboard camp buildings with gabled roofs that were originally built across the site, choosing similar materials for the new house and garden. 

‘The transparency of the dwelling and connection of Plume’s landscape from front to back had a huge impact on the seamless link we were looking to achieve from one side of the house to the other,’ said Jay Earles, director of Planned Living Architects. 

Concrete is a bold grounding element that works beautifully as a backdrop to the landscape. Weatherboards are a nod to the existing camp buildings and a traditional rural vernacular. 

A secondary palette of blackbutt timbers features in detailing of the structure, windows, and pergola elements to soften the space and link back to the landscape, while a combination of rusted steel rod fencing and clear glass ensure a seamless boundary around the pool.

Key plants in the garden include feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’) that works to blur the site’s boundaries. Russian sage (Salvia yangii) adds colour and spontaneity, and Crimson glory vine (Vitis coignetiae) provides a soothing green within the main outdoor entertaining space.

Robust, and well suited to its conditions, this is a garden designed for longevity. As Plume Studio’s Heath Blair explains – ‘what you see now is a thriving garden, without irrigation, which rolls with the local conditions’.

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