THE LOCAL FILES : PETA DONALDSON
"There is beauty in simplicity." Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Multi award-winning garden and exterior designer, Peta Donaldson, designs gardens bursting with texture, complementary contrasts and layers of inspiring green. Peta’s gardens are fundamentally strong in form, texture and scale, with a focus on the balance between strong architectural lines, meticulous planting and elegant styling. Each design is carefully and professionally managed, respecting the architecture of a home, creating a seamless relationship between both the interior and exterior. With a background in landscape design, horticulture, marketing and account management, Peta has developed a professional approach to garden design and construction.
From her early 20s Peta lived in inner bayside Melbourne, however when she met her partner they were married and had a baby and set up home in Yarraville. Although life was grand, with a love of landscapes in her veins Peta craved space. After staying overnight in Mt Martha on a work conference, she fell in love with the area and within a month they had their own patch in 3934.
“I love Mt Martha,” explains Peta. “There is nothing like coming home. As soon as you hit the Esplanade and see the water, it is just bliss. I have never experienced the sense of community that we have here in Mt Martha. It is truly phenomenal. And as for the natural environment- the cliffs, dirt roads, the beach and access the rest of the Mornington Peninsula – it is so beautiful, and so inspiring.”
Peta launched BLAC a few years after establishing herself in the area, choosing Mt Martha Village as the ideal location.
Says Peta, “My studio is only a five-minute drive from home and a 10-minute walk from Mount Martha Primary School. We are so fortunate that Mt Martha is a thriving community with a plethora of incredible businesses – many of which are relevant to the industry I work in. It made perfect sense to stay local. We have lived in Mt Martha for 10 years now. So much has changed in the Village, yet so much has stayed the same. The Village is full of little gems which we feel very lucky to have on our doorstep.”
While Peta’s creative design work comes together in her studio, and the number of local projects she works on is increasing, a large percentage of her work still stems from the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Having a combination of both is providing BLAC with a well-rounded portfolio of different ‘themed’ gardens.
“BLAC has evolved quite naturally over the seven years that I have been designing gardens, landscapes and outdoor living spaces,” says Peta. I have a clear design aesthetic and that’s why clients seek out our services. The projects I am fortunate enough to design are testament to the hard work I have put into BLAC over the years. I am very grateful for every opportunity that comes through our door.”
“I would describe my design style as fundamentally strong in form, texture and scale, with a focus on the balance between strong architectural lines, meticulous planting and elegant styling. Usually the hardscaping elements are quite masculine, but the selected planting is extremely elegant. I believe the two together can create a stunning combination.”
Minimalism is fundamental to the design philosophy at BLAC. Explains Peta, “We focus on the considered use of space, form, detail of material, scale and human interaction. We aspire to create gardens that are aesthetically beautiful yet highly functional and take into consideration the interior and exterior palette of the home incorporating it seamlessly into a timeless landscape. The ultimate consideration is designing an exterior space with purpose that will encourage a life outside.”
Photography: Derek Swalwell