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We live in a mud brick house in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne. We have lived there since 2000 and in that time I have fallen so in love with the house and garden that I can’t see myself ever moving. It is 5 acres, though, so I guess one day it will all be too much.

We had to do a fair whack of renovating- our beloved house was owner built and I think the owner-builders were so exhausted by the mammoth task that they hardly touched it in the next decade. But it ‘had good bones’ as they say, and we loved the use of recycled timber and mud brick and the solid slab floor, so cool in summer and warm in winter. The house has a solar passive design, which works very well.

So we re-rendered and replaced where needed and have slowly fitted the house to our needs. And the garden too.

This is the terrace on the North side of the house- that’s the sunny side for any Northern hemisphere readers who might stumble across this blog. Sorry about the poor lighting, this was taken in the evening. I’ll get some better pics.

The outdoor dining setting is a bit cheap and nasty and falling apart. We’ll replace it one day if we can agree on something to replace it with. The terrace was put in around 2003, when we replaced all the windows on that side with French doors. We got those for nix via a builder friend who was gutting and renovating a mansion in South Yarra somewhere. That place was only a couple of years old and built by some rich guy who then sold it to another rich guy whose wife came in and said, after they spent a squillion buying it, ‘Oh yes it’s lovely, but it will all need changing of course’. So we got these tall and elegant French doors which we painted blue and that inspired the terrace, then the garden beds around that.

This plant was planted at the same time the terrace went in. It is acacia cognata ‘Limelight’ but we call it the Dr Seuss plant, as it looks like one of his illustrations. When I planted it, it was the size of a small cat and stayed that way for a few years. Then it grew into a small dog, then a large dog and now it’s like a shetland pony- a very squat one. It doesn’t seem to have stopped growing, even though the label promised it would be 1m wide by 1 m tall. hmm. Sometimes I comb the fallen gum leaves out of it. It really feels more like grooming an animal than tending a plant.