The Paperbarks at Cotton Tree

by John Mongard Landscape Architects

Recreating a Sense of Neighbourhood

Cotton Tree has always been a holidaymakers village made up of practical fibro beach shacks. The suburban sprawl of Maroochydore has swallowed the friendly Cotton Tree neighbourhood and is stripping away its local essence.

John Mongard Landscape Architects worked with local Architects Lindsay and Kerri Clare to re-establish Cotton Tree's beach village heritage over two joint blocks: one private and the other a public housing development. The two developments have been treated as part of one integral neighbourhood, with overlapping housing and landscape styles diffusing the usual barriers between and around public and private housing estates. It is difficult to distinguish which area is a public housing estate and this subtlety is the principal achievement of the design.

Court Spaces Overlap with Decks and Pergolas

The housing was designed around the existing paperbarks and figs, with timber decks and elevated floors maintaining soil percolation and structure.

With a sandy site and a high water table, the landscape is structured around the endemic plants of Cotton Tree, with a zero maintenance and watering regime.

Working with a local Arborist, all the trees were aerated and prepared prior to landscape works, and an ongoing maintenance strategy established.

Less is More

The public spaces in the two estates are drivable courtyards which are treated like open squares for the use of local children at play. There is no 'driveway' as such, all the surfaces imply shared space and overlapping use.

The private spaces are a series of courts using a pared geometry inspired by Japanese enclosed spaces. The landscape will be transparent: plants will blend into the mature tree setting rather than calling for attention. The site in a few years will have been re-stitched together, and a new piece of Cotton Tree will look like it was always just another part of the beach village.

Strong Layout to a Low Cost Budget

The landscape was built using a shoe-string budget: softworks for example was costed at less than $50,000 for the two estates.

Money was invested in keeping all of the mature trees alive and well, and in setting up a crisp, useable set of open spaces which mediate the difficult transition in dense housing between public and private realms.

For Further Information Contact:
John Mongard Landscape Architects
Ph: (07) 3844 1932
Fax: (07) 3844 3250