Do you remember when The Block started in Bondi? With just a few rooms to renovate, the programme has come a very long way. The Block 2022 landscape week really highlighted this.
Since the Covid pandemic, the dream of many is to live in a country setting with space around you and a fabulous work from home environment. Kitchen gardens are the must have so that we can be self sufficient and enjoy the good life. I don't feel that this series completely delivered that dream. It was simply too much for the contestants to take on, even with all the help they received.
Many of the homes didn't deliver a work from home environment. While golf holes, basketball courts and driving ranges are all very well – I felt it was becoming more of a playground for all ages, rather than the country idyll that you envisage when you think of the beautiful Macedon ranges.
I really like the idea behind this series, but was it just a touch too much? In the last couple of series, without such a daunting task, the contestants were able to spend some time styling and adding finishing touches. I have some great images of beautiful front doors with pots and fabulous furniture, but this year there just didn't seem to be the time left for those touches.
It is clear that Tom and Sarah-Jane achieved the most this week and throughout the series. I do like their landscape reveal and together with Omar and Oz, they delivered the best outcome this week. I have all the photos, judges' comments and my comments below.
The Block 2022 Landscape reveal
First place: Tom and Sarah-Jane 30 POINTS (29 + 1 GNOME)
From the tear-drop entrance drive with just a few of Tom and Sarah-Jane’s Plantrunner mature trees, past the Colorbond and James Hardie weatherboard exteriors to the water feature marking the transition from old house to new build and beyond, this was an exterior that wowed the judges. Especially when they made it to the back where the living room’s huge windows faced out to a pool, kids playground, artfully-placed old farm equipment, firepit, and more. How much more? What about a par three driving range into the property’s back corner? A basketball court? BBQ area? Chicken run? Pony pen? A dam-side tiny house? “Mind blowing,” summed up Darren, “completely bananas!”
My thoughts on Tom and Sarah-Jane's Landscaping reveal
- Tom and Sarah Jane deserved first place this week.
- The areas I liked the most were the simplicity of their matt Monument clad extension and the connecting hallways to the original house and the shed. The stone used on the new section and in their landscaping is also very attractive and suits the setting.
- I would have preferred to see the original house in a white tone. I felt that the all grey colour scheme didn't highlight the beauty of this section and left it looking a little flat. By using white on the weatherboards, the contrast with the new section would have been very crisp. This look can be even more successful if you link some of the Monument colours to the original house in terms of window, front door, gutters etc.
- There appears to be some stunning trees planted and lots of shrubs and flowers. I really like the pots they have used and the choice of outdoor furniture for each area works very well. These guys have completed an enormous task given the time and are to be commended.
Related: Black and white houses
Second place: Omar and Oz 28.5 POINTS
With one of the most elaborate landscaping plans of the season, House five boasted topiary and plants and a Pentablock retaining wall in front, a huge grassed flat area to the east, screened water tanks and an outdoor kitchen with rammed earth walls behind and a babbling brook leading to huge rock-edged lagoon all looking out onto the mountain views. “High end and luxe!” Scotty said, but the showstopper for all the judges was the multi-function sports space featuring a sauna, built-in trampoline, pool, putting green – with separate driving range – and combined basketball, tennis court, all under lights. “It all feels just right,” Neale said, and nobody was arguing!
My thoughts on Omar & Oz's landscaping reveal
- I really like the white painted original house and feel that this partners better with the dark Monument extension.
- I don't like the outdoor covered area next to the pool as it looks like an after-thought. These solution are great if you are adding an outdoor room, but I don't think it is acceptable to build like this from scratch.
- The retaining walls and hard landscaping work really well and I like the large areas of lawn.
- I'm not a major fan of the sports area as this isn't a pre-requisite for me, but it will be interesting to see if this gains them bidders and extra cash come auction time.
- This is clearly not as complete as Tom and Sarah-Jane's but the bones of the exterior and the landscaping look very promising.
Tied third place: Ryan and Rachel 26.5 POINTS
From the colour choices for exterior walls to the complementing Colorbond and stonework to reflect the lodge interior there was a lot for the judges to love as they arrived at House two. And a lot more as they walked past the courtyard-style arrival area to see the landscape proper. “Talk about a game changer!” Neale said when he spotted House two’s vineyard, not just a beautiful addition, but a passive income for years to come. That sat at the end of a beautiful outdoor entertainment area with Outdure deck with a pool at the end, an arbour leading pathways to the nearby creek, a zipline, swings, quiet zones and more.
My thoughts on Rachel & Ryan's Landscaping reveal
- There are many aspects to Rachel and Ryan's exterior that I really love. The approach at the front is just lovely. The two tones on the original house look delightful with the cladding, natural weathered timber and brick on the new extension. This is a really great play on the mix of dark and light tones. In fact, this is by far and away the best exterior.
- What I really don't like though is the other side of the house with the soaring roofline and striped walls. Where the interplay of colours worked well on the other side, the stripes here look completely out of place and are accentuating the additional height. They are also exacerbated by the strong black posts of the outdoor room. It's a shame as I feel this side really lets down the overall look and feel of the property.
- The vineyard is of course lovely, but I feel that this shouldn't have been the main view. They're not always attractive, depending on the time of year,
- The deck and swimming pool look very appealing, but minor points like the swing set, spoil the outlook.
Tied third place: Dylan and Jenny 26.5 POINTS
From the white on white front face to the dark grey James Hardie cladding to the largest deck ever seen on The Block on the home’s downhill side to take in views of the Macedon Ranges, this is a home, the judges agree, that is perfectly placed to make the most of the outdoors. And what an outdoor area there is to take in. Terraced gardens with bricks steps, a woodfired spa, ice plunge bath, pizza oven, beehives, a private tiny house halfway to the road and more, this is a home, Darren said, that will look good on the brochure.
My thoughts on Dylan and Jenny's landscaping reveal
- I am sure once the original house is fully painted, it will look attractive. However, there isn't a single aspect of the new section that I find appealing. The strong black vertical lines are just dreadful, will detract from the view and are just really quite odd. The entire extension looks cheap and completely out of place.
- The shed addition is clearly unfinished, but again, doesn't have the finishes of the houses above.
- I do love the kitchen garden, the outdoor dining zone and some of their outdoor furniture is very appealing. Overall though, I can't look at anything with the modern extension in the way.
Last place: Ankur and Sharon 19.5 POINTS
Sitting proud on its hill with a view over all their neighbours, House 3’s cantilevered deck hovered above a pool perfectly located to take in the Macedon Ranges, next to a sweeping driveway that showcases the home and leads to the game-changer kitchen garden. Not quite as finished as its neighbours, house three still told a story of luxury and space and a promise of what was to come. As unfinished as it is, Scotty said, the extra build cost will need to be reflected in House three’s reserve, but with the bones already there and a plan in place, this will be, Neale says, where “the lifestyle dream comes alive”.
My thoughts on Ankur and Sharon's landscaping reveal
- Ankur and Sharon's house exterior and landscaping holds lots of promise. The cantilevered extension in Monument and timber is stunning and relates beautifully to the simple white original house.
- The rolling green hills, kitchen garden with greenhouse and outdoor pizza oven, perfect for casual entertaining, creates the perfect country idyll.
- Once finished, I suspect this house may be the most appealing.
What do you think of The Block 2022 landscape reveal? I would love to hear in the comments below.
Photography: David Cook Photography
More background information can be found at The Block Channel 9
Many of the gorgeous items seen on The Block 2022 Landscape reveal can be found at The Block Shop.
Did you know that I have a Free Resource Library? Whether you are building a new dream home or just undertaking a weekend redecorating project, there will be something there to help and inspire you. Included in my library is a guide on how to put together a mood board. You can download the free checklists and e-books here.