Fig Landscapes is a Sydney based landscape design and construction company, specialising in garden and furniture design, and outdoor construction. Fig Landscapes is led by Grant Boyle, who started his career working for some of Sydney’s leading landscape outfits such as Secret Gardens of Sydney. As Fig Landscapes, he designs and builds unique gardens that react to their surrounds and their clients. We have admired Grant’s work for a while and thought we would let everyone in on the secret!
What’s your favourite project of your own so far?
Our Coledale project for sure. It was the first project I designed as Fig Landscapes so its definitely pretty memorable. The clients were great and have actually become good friends! I love the way the garden gets better with age and there is minimal maintenance required.
Whose other work always impresses you in our industry?
I love the work of Fiona Brockhoff in Victoria and Bernard Trainor in California. Both have a wonderful grasp on built form and natural elements. I love their considered use of materials and planting and the natural aesthetic that their gardens invoke. There are so many incredible designers in Australia at the moment, it’s a really exciting industry to be a part of.
What trends do you see in the industry that please you? The use of recycled materials is a big one. Recycled bricks and timber are super popular. It’s a great way to reuse something that would otherwise go to landfill and they can look great in the garden. I’m also seeing a lot of vegetable and herb gardens which is also great! Food security will play a big part in our lives in the future so it’s wonderful to see people connecting to where their food comes from.
What is something you get requested to include in your designs that you rather not?
Astro turf. I’ve only ever used it once in one of my projects. It was a super shady site and the client was adamant he wanted turf. We tried the real thing for 18months, but it just wouldn’t work as he had 3 dogs as well. We pulled out the turf and installed Astro. It actually doesn’t look that bad and he gets a lot of use out of it, so I guess it has served its purpose.
Your projects show a great eye for detail and an appreciation of plants, where did you learn your craft?
I studied landscape horticulture at Ryde Tafe then later went back to study at night to complete my Design diploma. I also obtained my Bricklaying trade and Cert 4 in building. Although, nature is my biggest teacher. I’m forever seeing plants in the landscape and researching what they are. Plants are what excite me the most about landscaping. Any landscaper will tell you that the day the plants arrive on site is when the project really takes shape. Everyone gets excited when the plants arrive!
Describe your design process. Is it client led, or do you endeavour to include your own style?
I always focus on what the client wants and how they want to feel in their space and then work from there. I have materials that I’m definitely drawn to naturally, so I guess they show up in a lot of my projects by default. I’m always trying to push myself and stay on top of my game and it’s such a great feeling when you try out a new idea and it works.
What materials always end up on your projects?
Corten edging for sure. And recycled bricks and hardwood sleepers. I definitely like rustic materials. And I always try and throw in a few pots from the Balcony Garden to add the finishing touches.
What’s your favourite season? Why?
It’s a tough one but I would have to say Spring. Cherry blossoms and warm sun – you can’t beat it!
Where would we find Grant Boyle on his day off?
When I get one! Being a small business owner means I don’t get a lot of time off but when I do it’s straight to the beach with my wife. Camp Cove in Watsons Bay is a favourite as well as Gordons Bay at Coogee. Having a few beers watching the sun go down at Kutti beach or enjoying a breakfast at Shuk in North Bondi.
What’s your own garden like?
A mess usually! It’s a wild mix of succulents and Mediterranean herbs. I’ve got a large vegetable garden and few chickens as well. I prefer to spend my time relaxing in the garden or tending to my patch than doing a lot of maintenance, so it works well for me. I’ve collected a lot of plants from clients over the years so there is not real structure to it- it’s anything goes! Oh, and there is a fire pit of course!
Describe your dream client?
I guess someone that trusts me and the process. And a passion and excitement for gardening always helps too. Each client is vastly different, and I really do enjoy finding out what makes them tick and understanding them as a person. I love going back to see clients after 12 months or so and they are really happy to see you because they love their garden so much. It’s a great feeling.
Living in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, you are the guy to ask – what do you do in a traffic jam?
Play reggae really loud! Unfortunately, you get used to it and there is no point getting stressed about it. Also avoid being on the road at school pick up and drop off times and you should be fine!
As a designer and a builder – are you thinking about construction as you design?
Yes always. It helps to know straight away how to build something and if your ideas are at all possible. It can save a lot of time throughout the process.
Tips on using pots in the landscape?
Go big. I like to use a big statement piece. A cluster of 3 can also work really when and allow you to mix it up with plant textures and contrasts.
Fig Landscapes – Grant Boyle
A 254 Old South Head Rd, Vaucluse NSW 2030
P 0488 443 458