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Dream Gardens

Time Schedule

Tue 21:30 | Wed 09:30 | Thu 13:30 | Fri 17:30


Dream Gardens is a new eight-part series hosted by Michael McCoy, one of Australia’s leading landscape designer. In each episode Michael follows the transformation of one garden and watches on as the owners, working with our best designer’s battle weather, absent tradies, shifting design visions and budget blowouts.

For design inspiration and clues to what the finished spaces will look like Michael also visits some of Australia’s most spectacular gardens, as well as providing practical design tips along the way.

12-18 April: Episode 6

Matcham, NSW
Nestled behind the Central Coast of New South Wales and surrounded by native bushland, is the rural retreat of Phillip and Maria Visalli. Using materials that are sympathetic to the surrounds including sandstone, weathered steel, and decomposed granite they have big plans to transform their land into a minimalist inspired garden. The planting scheme will be ornamental and mature fruit trees will provide instant impact and help frame the view that leads down to a lake.

The garden is not the only project the couple are embarking on, they are also expecting the birth of their first child and hope to have the garden complete in time for the big arrival. They also run a busy Sydney restaurant so they want the space to be somewhere that they can relax, unwind, and watch their family, and garden grow.

Sounds idyllic, right? However, as with most garden builds, delays, bad weather, budget constraints coupled with an ever evolving design conspire to keep the expecting couple ever waiting.

Episode 7 – Avalon, Sydney
Fashion magazine editor Justine Cullen and events organiser Greg Mathew are wildly busy with three young kids and high-pressure jobs that often take them away from home. It’s their dream to have a garden sanctuary to escape, relax and recharge in.

To achieve this feel they want a design that brings the indoors, out. This means expanding the living area of their small fibro cottage on Sydney’s Northern Beaches by carving an opening into one side of the home. At the heart of the design will be a Mediterranean-style pool and a staggered deck down to a lawn, surrounded by planting and seating.

With her expert high eye for design, Justine is passionate about the finishes and wants her entertaining space to have a timeless, weathered look. The timber finish for the deck must resemble driftwood, a painting technique that the design team have not tried before. Another problem they face is the local landscape; the garden runs through a local flood zone so the pool will need to be raised.

To add to the challenges for the designer, Justine and Greg will be overseeing their project as ‘around the clock’ busy people do – by email, video calls and in person when they are both at home. Will this digital era approach to design – client consultation work?

To find sanity in the insanity they will need to push through one of the busiest years of their lives and pull off the perfect, designer retreat.

Episode 8 – Balwyn, Victoria
Paul and Zoe Mitzi own a fabulous 1920’s art deco home in Melbourne, and they want a garden to match. But creating an ambitious space can take courage and bravery; especially when all of your friends and family think your design plans are crazy. Their dream is made even more challenging by the decision to project manage it themselves, while juggling busy full time jobs and family life with their two teenage kids. “In the words of Alan Bond, bite off more than you can chew and then chew like crazy” says Paul.

The vision is for a design that will create layers of greenery and foliage in multiple spaces that will cocoon the family in a 1920s inspired surrounding. Is it all a case of ambition outweighing ability? Whatever it is, the Mitzi’s are out to prove the doubters wrong.