Living Outside: Reviving the Australian Modernist Garden

Sharon Mackay, Diana Snape, Christopher Frederick Jones (Photographer)

Living Outside: Reviving the Australian Modernist Garden
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Living Outside: Reviving the Australian Modernist Garden

Sharon Mackay, Diana Snape, Christopher Frederick Jones (Photographer)

The Australian garden was born mid-20th-century, a time of postwar confidence and growing national identity. Gardens became outdoor rooms for recreation and healthy living - removing the barriers between inside and out - and bold designs celebrated native Australian plants.

The mid-century modern aesthetic has seen a revival in recent years, with contemporary garden designers reinterpreting the optimism, innovation and independence of that era. The gardens in Living Outside speak to an Australia that draws on the confidence of the last century while pushing the boundaries of experimentation, all to rise to the environmental and social challenges of today.

The featured projects embrace their unique landscapes, from coastal cliffs and expansive grassland to tropical forest and even urban neighbourhoods. They also reflect a return to modernism - not just the look and feel, but also the functionality and values of invention, conservation and wellbeing. These gardens are more than just ornamental backdrops: they provide shade for neighbourhoods, food for pollinating insects, habitat for wildlife, hubs for both social interaction and moments of respite. They are platforms for research into resilient futures, experiments in sustainability and places for families to grow. They have been designed in response to their contexts and exemplify the singular and joyous spaces that can result from a deep appreciation of place.

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