After a renovation, rendering and painting of the house, this suburban property needed a cost-effective overhaul of the barren front garden.

Most properties in this type of situation have a front lawn, but with the changing climate and a view to reducing maintenance and creating something more contemporary, the owners were happy to go with our suggestion of a gravel garden.

Plants are staged and selected for their colour and sculptural potential, and a low native hedge adds a sense of enclosure and privacy without creating a barrier between the property and the neighbours. The geometric edging works with the simple horizontality of the house and provides continuity with the edging that we installed in the back garden.

Two trees – a Flowering Plum and a Crepe Myrtle – will add superb colour from the end of winter through to the end of summer. Three of our favourite plants, Megaskepasma erythroclamys (Brazilian Cloak), Tagetes lemmonii (Mexican Marigold) and Alyogyne huegelii (Native Hibiscus) are also included, planted from small stock courtesy of the Royal Botanical Gardens – surely these brilliant plants will become more common in Sydney!