ISSUE 35  |  Landscape Luxe

Landscape of Restraint: Classic European Formality for Spray Farm in Australia

September 03, 2015 9:00 AM

BY Michelle Slatalla

Australia-based garden designer Paul Bangay, known for his ability to create a classic European formality in even the driest of climates, imposed symmetry, parterres, and precisely clipped hedges on historic, 147-acre Spray Farm on the Bellarine Peninsula (an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne).

One of the earliest farms on Corio Bay, the property has a main house (built in 1851 for an army captain), as well as Victorian era stables, paddocks, and courtyards built a wool broker who was its next owner. Last year, ANZ banking executive Mike Smith and his wife, Maria, paid more than $10 million for the estate:

Photography by Simon Griffiths courtesy of Paul Bangay.


Above: Bangay, known as Mr. Clipped Box, designed a symmetrical layout with low, clipped hedges to define the planting beds’ borders.


Above: Silvery santolinas are kept tightly pruned into distinct balls.


Above: Gravel pathways connect different sections of the garden.


Above: Blue and silver are the dominate colors in the formal beds.


Above: Clipped hedges at various heights define separate spaces in the garden.


Above: The property has magnificent views of Corio Bay and, in the distance, the Melbourne skyline.

spray-farm-australia-gardenista-6Above: Bangay designs evergreen gardens for Australia’s year-round outdoor climate.


Above: “We use our gardens all the time,” says Bangay, adding that other hallmarks of the quintessential Australian garden are “simpler and mass planting and combining lots of recreational activities in the garden, which they don’t do much in Europe and America.”


Above: Grand sculptures are important focal points in a large garden.


Above: Trees underplanted with hydrangeas line a gravel pathway.

For more landscape tips from Australia, see: