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WOLF Garden Laboratory Inspires Innovative Landscapes That Connect Us To Mother Earth.

The Native American Indians were nomadic in the sense that they lived in Tepee’s and moved according to their needs with each season. They understood their environment because they lived off it, with no desire to own, control or manipulate nature. They believed that everything was a part of the Great Spirit. Our lives today are in great contrast to this way of thinking. We own our block of land and use our will to manipulate it to suit our needs. We no longer roam or live off the land, and any element of nature is considered more as decoration with little meaning other than providing a little green peace of mind.

Landscaping costs on a project can be significant and can easily be over 10% of the build costs. With this kind of investment it needs to be meaningful and more than just a mere decoration. At WOLF Architects we have always regarded the landscape as an integral part of our urban fabric. It should be something that inspires us and reminds us of who we are and that we are connected the environment. Gardens, whether edible or non-edible should be near us physically, visually and emotionally, rather than a separate something outside the window.

It’s not an easy thing to achieve, because the average person does not hunt or cultivate. That does not mean that a garden can only be a show piece with a veggie patch. It can be a playground, dining space, workshop, or place to exercise and do hobbies. At the very least it could be a place for contemplation to centre ourselves with the universe. Japanese and Chinese gardens are particularly good at this. Chinese gardens are particularly unique because they encourage us to experience nature rather than just to look at it. Many contemporary WOLF projects have modern contemporary landscape designs based on Chinese garden principles.

Climate must also be properly understood. In South East Asia it can be lovely to open up the house to pouring rains and enjoy its cleansing and cooling effects because the climate is warm. It would be almost unthinkable to do such a thing with the chilly winter rains and winds of the Melbourne climate.

At WOLF Architects Landscaping has always been a fundamental part of our architecture. Our in-house designers consider it from the onset so that every view looks onto an interesting aspect of nature and also somehow interacts with it. We take the time to carefully research and actively explore nature through our own landscaping and gardening exercises. The entry to our Melbourne office has a contemporary Chinese garden and the rear yard is a completely eclectic mix of native and non-native plants. We call it our backyard laboratory where we can experiment. From this garden we even spawn off smaller plants that we give to our clients as house warming gifts.

We ultimately want our landscapes to be at one with architecture and keep us connected to the earth. Like the Native American Indians before us, we need to be reminded that nature is ultimately more powerful than man. It existed before us and will continue after us. We think we control it but in reality it controls us. Good landscape design has the power to remind us that all is temporary and that we are all under the Great Spirit.

Wolf Back Yard in 2000

Wolf garden laboratory 2000.

Wolf Back Yard in 2002

Wolf garden laboratory 2002.

Wolf Back Yard in 2008

Wolf garden laboratory 2008.

Wolf Back Yard in 2012

Wolf garden laboratory 2012.

Wolf Back Yard in 2018

Wolf garden laboratory 2018.

Wolf garden nursery

Experimenting Cultivating new plants.

Wolf garden experiment

Mixing native and non-native.

Taras and tree 2002 then 2012

Growth and Evolution 2002 to 2012.