Jamie Durie book brings the outside in


Nobody appreciates indoor-outdoor lifestyles more than Australians. Now TV landscape gardener Jamie Durie shows you how to turn your world outside in.

It’s been 10 years since Jamie Durie made the move from landscape gardening to interiors and furniture design in his first book on the topic, and now Jamie and creative director Nadine Bush show how you can apply what was a personal transformation for him to your home.

The world probably doesn’t need another buzzword but Jamie and Nadine’s “transterior” design philosophy refers to the merger of the interior and exterior of a home.

This is, they say, is where architecture meets nature, such as where a verandah or sliding doors open onto a balcony, courtyard or garden, but the same feeling can be created by bringing nature indoors through natural, handmade, organic materials, textures and colours.

It’s an exciting concept, especially for apartment dwellers who tend to feel cut off from their immediate surroundings

And while Living Design showcases stunning examples from around the world, from a Brazilian beach house to a luxury Chelsea townhouse, it also offers practical advice on how you can emulate Jamie’s quintessentially Australian style.

By taking a ‘blank canvas’ warehouse space and decorating it in ten ways he demonstrates how changing materials, textures and furnishings can achieve different results.

Also, Living Design lets us take a peek inside Jamie’s own Sydney home, which uses a mix of natural elements such as timber, leather, wool and copper and features a rooftop inspired by the rib cage of a southern right whale.

Living Design is a ripper Christmas present – the publishers have just run off an additional 1000 copies –  for anyone who is into interior design, gardening or both.

But since most of our exteriors are limited to balconies and terraces, we decided to take advantage of Nadine’s expertise and ask 10 questions about what we could do with our little patches of paradise.

  1. What are the best plants for north-facing balconies?  

The perfect plants for north facing balconies are ones that just love the sun and thrive in such hot conditions such as Geraniums, Grevilleas, Cactus and Succulents, Lavender, Grasses, Callistemons, Petunias, Agapanthus, Alternanthera and Frangipani.  Climbers like jasmine, mandevillas and wisteria and bougainvillea do well

  1. How about if they tend to be hot and windy? 

North facing gardens, pretty much have sun all day.  If you’re growing plants in containers on a balcony it can be hot and dry for your plants so it’s a good idea to use water saving crystals in the potting mix, so the mix  is better able to hold and store water and nutrients.  If it gets really windy you could try creating a wind break with a screen of timber battons or a trellis that you can grow a hardy creeper on.  Also make sure your pots are heavy and won’t blow over all the time and water regularly.

  1. What are the best plants for cool and shady balconies. 

You can still have a beautiful garden even if your balcony is in the shade.  Plants such as Japanese maple, Caladium, Bluebells, Daphne, Begonia,  Ferns, Orchids, Camelias, Azaleas and Clivia.

  1. What are the best balcony plants for scent. 

Gardenia, Lavender, Jasmine, Scented-leaf geranium, honeysuckle and herbs such as rosemary, mint, and basil ,thyme smell amazing.

  1. Is it worth growing veges and herbs on balconies 

Yes, definitely!  No matter what size space you have available to you, there’s always a way you can grow some herbs and vegies…even if it’s just tomatoes, rocket and herbs, it’s so worth it!

  1. Are some veges and herbs better to look at when they are growing. 

Yes, some are more architectural and textural to look at than others.

  1. Do some plants attract more insects than others. 

Yes definitely…..different plants attract different insects and that’s part of our delicate eco system and the list of compatibles are a million long….

  1. What about chemical sprays?  You are right on your doorstep in a partially enclosed area: 

I would always avoid using the harsh chemical sprays and opt for some home made, organic pesticides and there are many organic fertislisers on the market now.

  1. Planters:  What should be in there before plants (soil, sand, stones)?

Container plants should be grown in a special potting mix and there are different types of potting mix for different types of plants.  For example you would use a general potting mix for annuals, and a premium potting mix for more expensive and long-lasting plants.  There are many specialty potting mixes – sandy succulents and cacti, peat moss and loam for orchides, premium potting mix for fruits and vegetables, basic potting mix annuals etc

  1. Are there some small shrubs that work on balconies?

Callistemon, bougainvillea, Aucuba japonica, Aster, Crotons, Monstera deliciosa,

  1. Is it possible to work the outside-inside concept in apartments with balconies. 

Of course you can apply the ‘transterior’ design philosophy to any type of space including apartments with balconies.

  1. What is the single biggest mistake apartment residents make in terms of bringing the outside in  

Firstly they forget about bringing comfort and luxury from the indoors – outside. People furnish their balcony with tiny uncomfortable café settings that you can only perch on for short amounts of time, rather than furnishing their balconies with comfortable and luxurious furniture that you can recline and relax in for hours….you may even be able to create a small daybed on your balcony.  Then mistake number two is that all the plants are on the balcony only…bring them indoors too…

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