Landscape is fundamental to the success of this project. The significance of the Vine Lodge house and its historic relationship to Exeter village, has guided the landscape concept. It seeks to strengthen an interpretation of the new subdivision as part of Vine Lodge Estate and provide an appropriate interface between rural and suburban character.
Existing Landscape Character
The visual, built and landscape character is currently rural. The landscape character of Vine Lodge Estate is predominantly open grazing land with indigenous trees in paddocks, clusters of exotic trees around built form groupings and conifers as backdrop. There is a strong historic avenue planting to Vine Lodge Driveway (mixed species dominated by Oak and Ash), with roadside plantings and windbreaks of Radiata Pine. Deciduous trees provide Southern Highlands character, as do hedgerows of Hawthorne and Laurel. There are a number of mature conifer windbreaks in the open rural landscape. Informal clusters of trees, including remnant Eucalypts (Camden Woolybutt) occur in the open fields. Characteristic street tree planting of Himalayan Cedar in Exeter village extends to the Vine Lodge entry. Exeter Park, 1911 provides a village focus, enhanced by a border of exotic trees (notably distinctive rows of Poplars and Oaks) around perimeter. A white painted timber post and rail fence defines Exeter Oval. Elsewhere fencing is timber post and wire.
The New Road
The new road should read as secondary “laneway” off Vine Lodge Driveway, allowing the Vine Lodge Estate and its connection with Exeter village, to continue to be legible. Vine Lodge Lane is conceived as a rural lane, a format typical in Exeter Village. The hard pavement is as narrow as council will permit. Tree species and location has been designed to complement the Exeter Village Context and be visually subservient to the historic Vine Lodge driveway. Formal avenue planting has been deliberately avoided, street tree planting is used in the context of rural clusters in open land, to allow the rural character to prevail. The new entry is understated, acknowledging its place as part of Vine Lodge Estate, and seeks not to compete with the historic entry to the Estate via Vine Lodge Drive in the village. The simple timber post and wire boundary fence reinforces this. The new entry is signified by cluster plantings including Oaks, Cedars, Cypress and Pines, all species which are characteristic of the historic Vine Lodge Estate.
The laneway character is enhanced with a mixed hedge planting. The selected hedge species are traditional, reflecting the historic character of Exeter Village. Mixed species are selected to introduce an informality that characterises the rural landscape. The hedge provides a boundary between the Exeter Village development and the Vine Lodge Estate. Driveways are paired where possible to strengthen the hedge element. The grass verge extends from the hedge to the roadway.
Based on extract from Vine Lodge Landscape Concept April 2020, Architectural Projects.