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Creating a sanctuary

A large tranquil pond with cascading waterfalls tumbling down the rocky surrounds forms the centrepiece of Deb and Jim Fazzalari's garden.

Tucked away from sight in Crafers, Deb and Jim Fazzalari’s garden is a secret oasis that has become a sanctuary for aquatic wildlife.
A large tranquil pond is the centrepiece of the garden, with cascading waterfalls tumbling down the rocky surrounds.
“We just wanted something a little bit unique,” Deb says.
“My husband has always been into aquatics … and we always wanted some kind of water feature in the backyard.
“It was to do with bringing back the wildlife into the Hills as well and we’ve done that amazingly.
“We have all sorts of aquatic life.
“There’s so many varieties of frog here.
“We have about five different varieties of dragon fly that breed here in the summer, there’s a ton of birds that have come back, there’s a couple of families of ducks that have sort of taken up residence here.”


When the Fazzalaris moved to the 2200sqm property about nine years ago, the backyard was mainly an expanse of tiered lawn.
Inspired by their love of the Flinders Ranges and a desire to create a space where they could “truly relax”, they enlisted SA Waterscapes to design a unique garden reflective of Australia.
The structure of the garden was built over eight to 10 weeks in 2019, but the project has never really ended for the Fazzalaris.
“Jim and I love being in the garden,” Deb says.
“This is our sanctuary from the madness of everyday life, so we will spend a lot of our weekends out here and we’ll go ‘there’s a little spot, we could fit something in there’ and go to State Flora at Belair National Park and go for one plant and come home with 10.

Jim and I love being in the garden … this is our sanctuary from the madness of everyday life. We just sit and listen to the water running and it blocks out all the traffic … you hear nature and it’s beautiful

Deb Fazzalari

“That happens regularly for us.”
The garden, which is made up of about 90% native plants, is full of banksias, kangaroo paws, miscanthus grass, snow gums, grevilleas and acacias and comes to life in summer with rich tones of orange, gold, yellow and purple.
Presiding over the main pond is a tall Ginkgo tree which turns a vibrant yellow in autumn and holds a special place in Deb and Jim’s hearts.
“He and I actually got married five and a half years ago under that tree, so that’s a special sentimental tree for us, so that stayed,” Deb says.


The garden also provides the property’s water, acting as a rainwater catchment, which has all but eliminated their need for mains water.
“When it overflows from here it goes into a big holding tank and gets pumped up and that gazebo underneath is a 100,000 litre rainwater tank and that’s what we use for our house water, so it’s an ecosystem all on its own,” Deb says.
“… We do have mains water but we turn it off – we don’t need it.”
But most of all the garden is a place of sanctuary.
“That’s what we love about it – all through the year it’s lovely to just come down, grab a coffee, or on the weekend have a wine and just sit and listen to the water running and it blocks out all the traffic … you hear nature and it’s beautiful – the birds come in the afternoon and the bees – we just love it … and it’s very relaxing.”
The garden has been opened to the public twice through the SA Open Gardens Scheme, including in February this year.
“We had an amazing number of people through – a couple of thousand this year – and we’ve really enjoyed doing it,” Deb says.
“Just to give people an idea about what native planting
can actually look like and just to inspire people to do different things in their backyard other than have an expansive lawn.”

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