Envisioned by Myles Baldwin, Link House’s landscaping merges contemporary and heritage ideals with artistic expression and green-on-green plantings, resulting in a lush garden realm that is meant to be inhabited.
By Amy Woodroffe
Link House’s verdant gardens bare the hallmarks of their maker, Myles Baldwin. The Sydney-based landscape designer and horticulturalist is celebrated internationally for his public landscapes, resplendent private gardens and boutique property developments.
His vast portfolio of work across significant heritage and modern properties, and his collaborations with leading architects, make him one of Australia’s most sought-after landscape designers.
Baldwin’s academic training imbues his work with a deep knowledge of and respect for species including the native, the exotic and the rare. Time designing for the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney has instilled an artistic approach to arrangement, composition and flow, which Baldwin applies to his landscapes with fervour.
Through his eponymous firm, Myles Baldwin Design, Baldwin takes a strictly site-specific approach to his projects, addressing the personal needs of the client, built form and local context.
At Link House, positioned on a quiet street in South Yarra, there is a nod to the site’s Federation era past in Baldwin’s design, which is punctuated with vernacular plants such as hydrangea, buxus and birch. The owner’s impressive contemporary art collection is celebrated through green vignettes akin to a sculpture garden.
Throughout the property, Baldwin creates plantings that emphasise specific artworks, such as his arrangement of a dark pocket of greenery behind a minimalist light box, or the tonal composition of groundcover in support of a stone sculpture.
Baldwin’s compositional poise is evident right from the entrance of Link House. Elegant asymmetry is expressed through deftly mixed formal and informal clusters of greenery to create an arrival that is at once traditional and contemporary.
Baldwin says that each species in his gardens is carefully selected to thrive in its local environment, to respond to the architectural structures, and for its textural character.
At Link House, layered plantings surround the property on all sides. Lush compositions of pattern and form sweep across garden beds, creep up high walls and hang over outdoor spaces.
Baldwin’s horticulture background imparts encyclopaedic species knowledge, informing unique and often surprising plant selections. While his palette is almost exclusively green with occasional white accents, the plant curation is extremely diverse.
The decision process accounts for the shape, texture and form of each species— including hand-selected ornamental or mature tree specimens—and is sensitive to their relational compatibility. Pairings are often unexpected: at Link House, plants reminiscent of an English heritage garden combine with sub-tropical specimens and Australian natives.
Rather than simply framing the architecture, all of Baldwin’s gardens are granted utmost importance in the overall design concept. It is typical of his landscapes to envelop interiors in greenery, be it through long sightlines leading to a beautiful garden vignette or walls of green taken in through full-height picture windows.
These qualities define the experience of Link House, where the collaborative process between client, architect, interior designer and Baldwin has ensured a harmony of scale, relationship and aesthetics between manmade and natural elements.
Spatial flow and vast glazing allow for green moments at every axis—to which Baldwin contributes cascading vines, mature evergreen tree sand sculptural shrubs, casting dappled light patterns across open interiors and atriums.
The generous courtyard (bordered by palms and coniferous trees) supports an outdoor lifestyle and, architecturally, a fine line separates out from in. Generous, flowing plantings balance the highly rational and minimal built environment, while serving as green frames to numerous fine artworks on show throughout the home.
It is a thoughtful, responsive landscape that honours the lifestyle of its inhabitants and will only grow more interesting and more verdant with time.
Link House was recently one of the gardens featured in the annual NGVWA Garden Day. Kay & Burton is the Principal Event Partner of the NGVWA, which supports the National Gallery of Victoria by funding art for gallery collections and travel scholarships for curators.
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