Shepherd Lane in Newtown. I thought this was very beautiful & imagine that once it was just a driveway for cars.

Shepherd Lane in Newtown. I thought this was very beautiful & imagine that once it was just a driveway for cars.

Looking down Shepherd Lane from the road. There is a raised dry stone garden bed & an attractive park bench here.  On the left of the photo is the trunk of a big beautiful Gum tree.

Looking down Shepherd Lane from the road. There is a raised dry stone garden bed & an attractive park bench here. On the left of the photo is the trunk of a big beautiful Gum tree.

A turn down a dead-end-road just off Wilson Street in Newtown yesterday allowed me to notice the most fantastic laneway that I have seen in Sydney.  A part of Shepherd Lane travels between two 2-storey-terrace houses & is only about 30-metres long, but it is a very beautiful 30-metres.

I have no idea whether the City of Sydney Council or the residents are responsible for the garden layout, building of the dry stone walls & planting of the lane – or both, but the Council must have given approval at sometime during the process.  It is wonderful that such a place was created & supported by Sydney Council.

Unusual to see a park bench on the street.  It offered a great place to sit & look at the lane.  People did come to do exactly that in the short time I was there.  They came with their coffee made at home.

Unusual to see a park bench on the street. It offered a great place to sit & look at the lane. People did come to do exactly that in the short time I was there. They came with their coffee made at home.

My attention was initially grabbed by seeing a very nice park bench on the footpath at Wilson Street. It was only then I saw the green lane.  The park bench is chained to a telegraph pole & sits in the dappled shade of a beautiful Gum tree.  It has obviously placed to take in the view down Shepherd Lane.    Behind the park bench is a raised dry stone garden bed filled with a range of plants, including succulents.

It was clever thinking to add a bench in this location.  It’s not common to see park benches on the street, except at bus stops.  I’d like to see more of them, but they are ridiculously expensive.

I’ve heard a quote in a Marrickville Council Meeting of $10,000 for a table with two park benches, so I would imagine a park bench would be upwards of $2,000.  The quote was to install the picnic table on a street corner to encourage the older members of our community to meet. The park bench on Wilson Street was placed straight onto the footpath & chained in place to stop it being pinched.  I imagine not laying a concrete base would have kept costs down.  The chain itself does not present a trip hazard.

Very attractive dry stone walls make up raised garden beds on both sides of the laneway.   Some of the dry stone walls are straight, some are curved & there are places with plants either side to sit.  Interspersed are some pots of various sizes to break up the line & attract the eye.

Being a shady lane between two terraces, they have planted shade-loving plants in layers, including tree ferns, bromeliads & bird’s nest ferns.  It is a credit to the community these plants have not been stolen.  There is at least one good-sized tree with orchids attached to the trunk & many pots hang above from the boughs.  It’s a good sight to look up & see more nice things come into view.

One of the terrace walls was filled with ivy. This would help keep the lane cool in the hotter months.  I thought it looked very beautiful.

One of the terrace walls was filled with ivy. This would help keep the lane cool in the hotter months. I thought it looked very beautiful.

The walls of both 2-storey terraces also are a feature of the laneway.  One is covered in ivy, which in my opinion always looks great.  It also has some potted plants on the wall.  The other, an yellow-green wall, serves to highlight the trees & plants.  A number of metal artworks are attached to this wall creating an outdoor art gallery space.  I was in a hurry so I will have to return to see what these were about.  I noticed that the taggers have been, but their work has been painted over.

It’s a busy lane.  A number of pedestrians walked through in the short time I was looking around & a couple came & sat on the park bench to have a chat.  It looked like they were staying for a while.  I’ve seen this before in Newtown where residents leave their home/s & come to sit on the street because the leafy streetscape is quite beautiful.  Last year one group of residents in this area of Newtown told me they do this often.  They said it is a way to catch some sun, see friends & when they are thirsty, they nip into their house to make tea/coffee & bring it out onto the street to drink.

This is placemaking that works.  The first thing you need for successful placemaking, in my opinion, is good-looking street trees of a reasonable size.  If the streetscape is green & beautiful, people will use it & it becomes part of their recreational activity.  Once people come out onto the street, others naturally follow & they start to define the place by what they bring into it.  Often this is some sort of seating & of course, plants.  Most people like a green area & find it relaxing, even if they are not directly focusing on the garden.

Shepherd Lane is beautiful.  It is like a pocket park.  It challenges the status quo of what a lane should look like & how the community uses lanes.

Lanes can be so much more than drab ugly places where nothing is happening, except for the odd car passing through.  What has been done here should be happening all over Sydney.  The wildlife will benefit as will the community.  10/10 to the creators – you have set a standard that we could all aspire to.

The raised garden beds on each sode of the lane were dry stone walls. A variety of plants of all different heights added much interest.  Here & there big & small pots were placed.

The raised garden beds on each side of the lane are dry stone walls. A variety of plants of all different heights added much interest. Here & there big & small pots were placed.

Hanging pots graced the canopy adding another layer of interest & beauty.  Space was cleverly used in this lane.

Hanging pots graced the canopy adding another layer of interest & beauty. Space was cleverly used in this lane.

One of the terrace walls was made into an outdoor gallery space.  I loved this idea.

One of the terrace walls was made into an outdoor gallery space. I loved this idea.

 

 

 

Advertisements