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When Peta Donaldson, director of Natural Design, was tasked with creating an entry for the 2012 Australian Garden Show in Sydney, she knew she wanted to use natural elements to enhance the outdoor experience while maximising space.

Her final design, ‘The Terrace’, is reminiscent of her signature style; clean, elegant and lush, with a focus on texture and architectural lines. An EcoSmart XL900 burner was key to creating an award-winning show garden perfect for entertaining or relaxing.

“The ambience a fire creates cannot be replicated by any other element,” Peta explains.

“Both visually and physically, a fire provides an attraction, a form of entertainment and a fundamental provider of warmth!"

Peta Donaldson, Director of Natural Design

The purpose of the design is to encourage the use of outdoor space, both day and night.”

In addition to the ambience factor, ease of installation was also an appealing feature of EcoSmart. “We literally measured up the space required, installed the unit, filled it with ethanol and it was ready to go,” says Peta. “It was just so easy.”

One challenge Peta faced when designing the garden was size limitation; the entry could only be a maximum of five metres cubed. Therefore, any statement pieces would need to be able to make their impact without overwhelming the small space.

“With the burner available in 900mm, it was the size required to make a statement within the garden,” says Peta. “EcoSmart produces sophisticated modern quality products that offer alternative heating options without having to be concerned with flues or other hazards such as gas or electricity when outdoors.”

The space limitation also meant that Peta could turn her focus to design elements such as contrasting textures and materials to make the biggest impact. “We used an Eco Outdoors Filetti stone in Endicott which was used as paving and combined with Baw Baw to create a blended dry stone wall,” she adds. “To contrast the colour and texture of the Filetti, honed bluestone was used for the steps up to the deck and also for the floating bench seat.

“Accoya timber dressed in a walnut stain was used for the decking. The elements combined were to complement each other yet provide contrasting textures and colours. I used a galvanised mesh curtain behind the fire; this was purely a decorative feature to enclose the space, protect the screening of Waterhousias and provide yet another texture.”

Peta’s contemporary design won her a Silver Medal and ‘Best Urban Garden’ at the show.