Less than an hour from Melbourne's CBD you'll find this beautiful backyard cleverly disguised as a natural bush path alongside a pristine billabong. The billabong is in fact a lap pool and the entire area has been designed by the owner, Phil Johnson, whose love for nature has inspired him to create this natural feature-filled habitat.
This week on Australia's Best Backyards, a thriving parkland style roof garden used by over 400 residents living in a warehouse conversion in Sydney; a Melbourne backyard steeped in mythology and ancient symbolism; and of the most celebrated tropical gardens in Australia.
Turnball Acreage - NSW
When the owner of this property decided to construct his backyard his aim was to recreate a babbling brook and swimming hole that he and his wife swam in as kids in the Blue Mountains. The property now has an impressive 100 metre man-made dam which takes centre stage amongst beautifully designed landscaping and amazing entertaining areas.
Wigandia - VIC
Built on the side of a sleeping volcano, Wigandia is aimed at working with the harsh Australian and southern hemisphere climate rather than working against it.
Pirates - QLD
When it comes to creating a stimulating place for children to play, this Brisbane backyard is at the top of the list and you don't need a team of tradesmen to build it either.
Sprint Cars - NSW
It's not every day that you come across a backyard dedicated to a family's obsession with cars. Not just any old cars mind you. Every square inch of this backyard in Sydney's West has been devoted to sprint cars.
Beachfront - SA
A Henley Beach beachfront property where the adults can entertain and the kids can play, whilst protected from the harsh western sun and wind.
Crazy Bali - VIC
After a house fire 12 years ago the owners rebuilt and decided to build a rock-like swimming pool in the backyard. The design was inspired by the families numerous trips to Bali and the sculptures they bring back with them. The enclosed pool area creates a beautiful atmosphere for both people and plants.
Waterfall Cottage - NSW
Visiting Waterfall Cottage on Sydney's northern beaches is like dreaming of an enchanted forest filled with beautiful plants and never ending pathways... only this is not a dream. The owner of this beautiful property set about creating this magical wonderland over two decades ago and it's been evolving ever since. There's a series of bridges and boardwalks lead you around the 8 acre garden.
Cicada Glen - NSW
The owners of this property in Sydney's northern suburbs are living in a dream in what they like to call, their own slice of 'Heaven'. They converted 5 acres of horse paddock, without any help from a designer, into a private 5-star resort with a lavish pool, entertaining areas and acres of spectacular gardens.
Toowoomba Rocks - QLD
The couple who own this backyard started to build their mountainous rock garden in 1984. Over the next seven years they travelled 9,000Kms, made 131 trips in their Holden station wagon and collected tonnes of rocks. There are mini mountains, cradle waterfalls, streams, lookouts, an umbrella chandelier, lake with an island in the middle and plants all to help create the look of a mini alpine landscape.
Warehouse - VIC
This garden was created from scratch within the walls of an old Victorian spring making warehouse. This ?internal' garden was built on top of a concrete slab that was originally the floor of the warehouse. There are five different garden areas, each with a different climate. The focus is on foliage rather than flowers and the central focus is two large ponds with stainless steel sculptures that tumble water into the ponds.
Wahroonga - NSW
This Sydney couple have created a park for their children in their own backyard. The amazing adventure playground is complete with flying fox and climbing ropes all under a protective UV shade sail. They also have a temperature controlled swimming pool. The adults have not been neglected with a pavilion complete with a wood fire pizza oven.
Nyngan Pub - NSW
After a redundancy pay out from a city job this couple have made a life on the farm where the husband grew up. The farm was black soil wheat growing country and it is a great place to raise kids. They are part of the Open Gardens Scheme (and donate the money to local charities like the local school) and also open their backyard and the beautiful rose garden up for groups.
Kinvarra Billabong - VIC
Located in Victoria's Yarra Valley, Kinvarra is a 10 acre estate situated on a north easterly slope overlooking the Dandenong Ranges and the Great Dividing Range. The owners have created 2 ? acres of landscaped garden which includes fruit trees, veggie patch, roses surrounded by box hedges, a chook pen, a billabong, waterfall and an amazing natural looking dam.
Serendipity - QLD
The Cat Lady, built this house and moved in, ever since she has been building this surrogate family around her. She has an endless passion and love for her creations, ironically choosing to live with them rather than having even just one cat. The hours of enjoyment she has spent creating them, and the great companions they have all become can not be underestimated. She is a well known identity in the local area.
Flemington Community - VIC
In the Melbourne suburb of Flemington, over 124 families from the local high rise buildings have been given the opportunity to create their own backyard in the local Community Garden. Here people can hire their own plots and plant whatever they like, whenever they like. Each plot is the plot owner's own little backyard.
Italian Feast - VIC
The couple who own this backyard have an established productive garden full of fruit and vegies but it also has plenty of space for the family to sit and enjoy their surroundings. Their aim in this backyard is to get back to basics and keep up cultural and family traditions.
Newcastle Escape - NSW
Once you close the gates behind you you're in another world, a tropical wonderland. This backyard is in the city suburbs of Newcastle surrounded by apartments and buildings. The owners wanted to achieve a tropical, holiday-like feel to their backyard. They always wanted to have a pool and so when it came to designing their garden they made sure that's where they started.
Melbourne Waterfront - VIC
This backyard has been built with entertaining in mind. The back of the house opens up via bi-folding doors onto an outdoor lounge area. This flows on to the pizza oven and BBQ area which is right next to the pool and spa so everyone can keep their eyes on each other and stay social at the same time.
Saltbush Cottage - WA
In true Australian style, this couple love to have their friends around to sing and play music on the veranda or around a camp fire. Their passion for life and all things historical have created a truly Australian backyard where walking in to it is like walking in to a museum.
Organic - VIC
The owner of this property moved four years ago from the Central Coast of NSW and has a 2 ? acre share in this alternative co-operative property. Surrounded by lush rainforests it's not hard to see why the area is known as Pretty Gully. If you want to share an organic lifestyle with 14 other families this is the best way to do it.
This week on Australia's Best Backyards, in NSW, Vic Cherrikoff created a pool that looked like a natural lagoon, similar to that of Mataranka Springs in the Northern Territory and it doubles as a dam he uses on his plants. Plus he creates an unconventional 'Aboriginal ground oven' to cook food the same as the ancient traditional way of the Aborigines.
Outdoor Kitchen - VIC
The owners of this backyard wanted an outdoor space where they could entertain their friends, while keeping an eye on their young family. They have created a resort style backyard in the heart of Melbourne and have used all Australian materials for the building.
Hawthorne - SA
Set on half an acre in Adelaide and only five minutes from Adelaide CBD, this property used to be an old nursery pre World War 2. It was important to include water in the garden, so that from every window the home owners could see and hear water flowing. The backyard is a place where the kids can ride their bikes, play hide and seek, swim in the pool or play tennis on the court. It is the ideal space to bring their friends to play in a safe environment.
Paddington Courtyard - NSW
This oasis which resembles a Balinese day spa is enclosed in a tiny courtyard and the owner has maximised the available space through good design and making a seamless connection to the indoor living area. Perhaps one of the more impressive features is the innovative use of space - the roof of the garage at the back of the block has been turned into a thriving 25 tonne tropical garden.
Hornets Nest - QLD
The beautiful Whitsunday coast is renowned for luxury resorts and white sandy beaches. It's not somewhere you'd expect to find a backyard filled with swamp dwelling creatures and other wonderful creations. The owner's backyard is like a real life comic strip where the philosophy is... don't worry, be happy.
Opals - NSW
The backyard is a typical suburban block in Matraville in Sydney's south east. The garden used to consist of a lemon tree and a banana palm. Now, the totally organic garden has three water tanks, chickens, fruit trees, a frog pond and lots of native plants.
This week on Australia's Best Backyards, could this be Australia's best water feature? - and it's remote controlled; how one couple turned their backyard into a Thai resort, complete with a giant 3 tonne Buddha; the perfect bachelor pad with a no-fuss garden; a fairytale front yard for topiary lovers.; and why a father raised his family in a huge rainforest he created himself.