Clifftop Garden


Vaucluse, NSW, Australia


Design Team

Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture

Architect: Paul Pholeros

Contractors: Bates Landscape, Puddleton Gardens


WINNER – Award of Excellence AILA NSW Awards 2020

This garden sits on a cliff top site exposed to pacific winds, making it a challenging yet rewarding site for creating a living garden, diverse and interesting.

We wanted to work with what was on site, and expose the true nature of the escarpment. Building on the idea of exposing the cliff face, a tiered complex of roughback sandstone, succulents and grasses, traverses the space in between a lawn and a pond amassed with planting. The series of rocky outcrops, terraces that step and fold, feel as if the topography of the escarpment is pushing up through the garden bed.

Planting design borrows from the palette of pre-existing species, with grasses that wave in the wind, pickup the sun, and collect little drops of water that reflect the light.

The resulting garden is a delicate balance of not just functionality and framing, but creates a space for both humans and wildlife underscored by a slightly wild, rugged landscape.