This former tennis court has had a couple of changes in its lifetime, but its latest is to become a sustainable garden with putting greens!

We are visiting the garden of Geoff and Peta Iles, proprietors of Décor Pebbles. It’s on about 3 hectares (¾ acre) in Vermont, an eastern suburb of Melbourne. Originally the tennis court was a red clay court (en tout cas), then 10 years ago the Iles inherited rolls of artificial turf that were being removed from a bowling green, so the tennis court took on another guise.

In recent times, with sons grown up and flown the nest, the Iles decided they didn’t need the tennis court any longer, so they brought in landscape designer Anthony Sharp (A.H. Sharp Landscape Design) to design a garden.

The result is a stunning landscape full of primarily drought tolerant Australian plants, complete with a dry creek bed. A pond gives the illusion that it feeds the dry creek bed but it doesn’t really. And, of course, the landscape is a showcase of a range of pebbles that Décor Pebbles sell.

Over 450 plants were planted, and over 200 cubic metres of mulch, soil and rocks was brought in.

‘We left two areas of artificial turf – still with the lines from the old tennis court visible, as two golf putting greens.’ explains Geoff.

‘It’s also good fun hitting balls off the upstairs balcony, over the dry creek bed onto the green,’ he adds with a laugh. ‘For that we use solid foam balls, not the usual golf balls.’

The garden won the City of Whitehorse’s Residential Landscape of the Year 2006, and also received a Sustainability Commendation.

We have a gardener about once a fortnight,’ says Geoff, ‘and he takes care of pruning and the like, but it’s pretty low maintenance.’

As an aside, and proof that anything can be sold on eBay, the Iles sold most of the tennis court fixtures – posts, nets, lights, wiring etc – for $2,000 on eBay!