Discover our 2022 multi award-winning Clareville project


The Brief

The owners of this property, nestled on Clareville Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, wanted an outdoor haven they could enjoy year-round.

Having relocated from Sydney’s upper north shore to the northern beaches, they were looking to create a relaxed haven that melded beautifully with the surrounding environment.

“Our focus was to ensure a connection between the house and garden and create a design and plant selection that would enhance their home, newly renovated by Utz-Sanby Architects, and the coastal setting.

With its breathtaking location and wonderful garden-loving clients, this landscaping project was a labour of love,” says Phil Antcliff, Fifth Season’s Director of Design.

Read on to discover more about the team’s ‘labour of love’, which has won multiple industry awards since its completion, including LDI 2022 Landscape Designer of the Year and three TLA 2022 Gold and Best in Category awards.

A plant design for the home’s coastal aspect and location

“Being garden enthusiasts, the planting design was a key focus of this project, with the intent to develop a scheme that met both style and site-specific requirements, like aspect and soils, and complemented the home’s architecture,” explains Levi Carter, Fifth Season’s Design Manager.

The result is a garden that is relaxed yet robust, a style developed to align with the clients’ interests and lifestyle while also responding to the unique challenges of the property’s coastal location. “It showcases what can be achieved with a largely native palette, with each species hand-picked to thrive in harsh conditions,” adds Levi.

Pictured: Although this plant palette is often associated with a dry, sparse environment, the team achieved a layered softness to create inviting and interesting spaces in the front and beach-front gardens. The front garden features flowering natives that thrive in Sydney’s coastal areas, including Banksia serrata, Doryanthes excelsa, also known as gymea lily, which produces striking towering flame-red flowers, and Carpobrotus glaucescens, also called pigface, a creeping succulent with bright pink petals.
Pictured: Burnished concrete stepping stones create generous defined pathways between the front of the home and the verge and the back verandah and the beach entry gate, and along the side of the house. Right: To maintain the water views and blur the line between beach and garden, the design team chose a low-level aesthetically pleasing timber fence and hardy plants that would thrive in the salty sandy largely west-facing environment.

Stepping stones: a functional design element

To create a harmonious look throughout the property, wide burnished concrete stepping stones were chosen for the beach-front, street-front and side gardens.

Pictured: In the front garden, a finishing touch – a custom concrete letterbox – adds a design element and complements the hues of the stepping stones and ball sculptures that welcome visitors.

The owners’ beach-side living wish-list features

Given the owners’ love of outdoor entertaining and water sports, we added lifestyle enhancing features, including a custom concrete built-in barbecue area with charcoal smoker and gas cooking options, outdoor showers, casual seating alongside the entertaining area, and water sport equipment storage, pictured below.

Pictured: Our design also incorporated a number of inviting ‘pause spaces’ in the beach-front and front gardens where the owners can relax and enjoy their garden and the breathtaking views, including a floating concrete bench beneath the back deck, a fire pit zone with outdoor beanbags, and second floating bench overlooking the front garden and its family of sculptures.

The side gardens: far from an afterthought

The side gardens were very much a part of the overall design and needed to be both attractive and user-friendly, to enhance the property and provide ease of movement between the front and beach-front back gardens – and reduce the need to enter the home – and bring unwanted sand indoors.

Pictured:Zoysia tenuifolia, also known as Korean velvet grass, a grass that boasts an inviting lush fine yet dense foliage which grow in gently curved balls, softens the burnished concrete stepping stones and brings inviting lush cool green look and feel to the front and side gardens.

Landscape Design and Construction: Fifth Season Landscapes

  • LDI 2022 Landscape Designer of the Year
  • LDI 2022 Silver Award – Residential Design, Large Scale
  • LDI 2022 Gold Award – Plantscape
  • TLA 2022 Gold and best in category Residential Design over 200m2
  • TLA 2022 Gold and best in category maintenance up to 1000m2
  • TLA 2022 Gold and best in category Residential Construction $150k – $350k

View more photos of our Clareville project here

Photography by Natalie Hunfalvay


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