Down to earth; Making elegant outdoor spaces is second to nature for landscaper Joanne Neylon
WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN LANDSCAPE DESIGN?
I have loved gardening and growing things since I was a child. I grew vegetables and annuals, and spent endless hours tending a small garden at home in Killara that my father gave me to work on.
HOW DID YOUR BUSINESS START AND HOW DID CLIENTS HEAR ABOUT
I was a teacher of science and agriculture, then I resigned, sold my red sportscar and bought a ute. I borrowed my father’s tools and put small adverts in the Manly Daily, and got started.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR GARDEN DESIGN?
Everything. Works by past and present leading practitioners in Europe and the US, and
gardens I see on my travels, as well as food shows on TV. The garden we created in Ourimbah  shows a European influence.
FAVOURITE GARDENS IN THE WORLD?
I love the simplicity of some French and Italian gardens as well as modern US gardens.
DO YOU HAVE A SIGNATURE LOOK?
No. We’re flexible in that we try to give the client something that both suits their needs and is
suitable to site, current architecture, soil and climate. We designed this contemporary pool and garden to suit a new home in Lindfield
 while this Bayview home called for a subtropical look .
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF WORKING IN LANDSCAPE DESIGN IN SYDNEY?
The ever-decreasing amount of available outdoor space that comes with urban development.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE PROJECT TO DATE?
I really don’t have a favourite as there are elements to each one that I like, such as the
custom bench we designed for this Whale Beach garden .
BEST ADVICE FOR GARDEN PLANNING?
Prepare a mud map and consider all the elements you want to include (living/entertainment
space, shade, productive area, etc). Then engage a garden designer.
Strobilanthes gossypinus (Persian shield).
Hydrangeas; but I love all plants.
WHAT GARDEN OR TERRACE ITEMS WOULD YOU BUY NOW?
Pots to dress it up such as the beautifully textured ‘Texel’ pots by Domani from Parterre. A Basil Bangs black-and-white shade umbrella for
a graphic punch . A fire pit (for winter) by Ak47 Design . ‘Dome’ path lights by Gardens at Night . Adirondack chairs by Cotswold Furniture with custom-made cushions by Joanne Green. Blindmaster horizontal awnings  as used in this French provincial-style garden in Bilgola, for which we won a gold LNA Master Landscapers Association award in 2015.
WHAT PROJECTS DO YOU HAVE ON THE DRAWING BOARD?
We are currently designing several gardens and interiors in and around Sydney, including an informal subtropical garden on the Central Coast, a formal front garden in Killara, a new pool and garden for a young family in Sydney’s south-western suburbs, a native front garden in Fairlight, a modern garden in Manly, a classic garden in North Balgowlah and a subtropical courtyard in Newport.
PORTRAIT BY NICHOLAS WATT. PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRENT WILSON (BAYVIEW AND LINDFIELD)