Mon Palmer on: modern gardens

I have always been obsessed with Mon Palmer's unique vision – she has completely reimagined outdoor design, her garden spaces are so modern, infused with light, like no other. Based in Scarborough Western Australia, the designer is about to embark on her greatest project yet: motherhood. Pictured here at 38 weeks, Mon shares her thoughts on pregnancy, design and life on the go

  1. Photographed by AIMEE JONES 


Earthly Delights: above, in the latest Moda collaboration with Country Road, Mon Palmer gives us a peek inside her Scarborough home. The mum-to-be and founder of Slightly Garden Obsessed wears Country Road throughout.

What ignited your love of gardens and what do you hope to achieve with each new project? In my early twenties I moved to London and travelled around Europe. While I was there, I became fascinated with how people lived and the spaces they inhabited – I wanted to bring a little bit of that back to Perth. I see each new project as an opportunity to explore and develop my skills as a designer and communicator. I also always hope to be unexpected.

I adore your unique garden vision, your aesthetic is so modern and clean – can you describe the philosophy behind your business, Slightly Garden Obsessed: I always design a space with a few things in mind: it has to be comfortable, livable, over-scaled and understated – a space that just feels right, like it was always meant to be.

What do you think has been the secret to your success? Most people love a good outdoor space, but what was on offer was either quite masculine or cottage-inspired. I wanted to bring a fresh, new multi-faceted perspective to the industry, this being influenced from wanderlust locations, interiors and fashion crossed with tech savvy communication tools like the use of Instagram and 3D modelling. It was a long overdue change that was needed.

Tell us about your base in Scarborough Western Australia, what you love most about the location: We are so in love with where we live right now. There is a redevelopment happening at the moment to the coastline, which is about 500 metres away from our home. We are on a tiny block with plans to build up very soon. Even though it is small, we want to stay right where we are as Seb (our soon-to-be-born son) will have the best time growing up in the area.

What are some places you love around the neighbourhood? My number one favourite is our local coffee shop, which we walk down to every morning with our dog, Tonka. It's our morning ritual and the family that runs it have become like a second family to us. We cannot wait to take Seb there every morning soon, too. It's called Coffee on the Corner and is part of the original deli that has been in the area for over 50 years. City Beach, south of Scarborough is our go to beach and hang out spot. Napoleon St, Cottesloe is where my design studio is. It's upstairs away from the crowds but close enough to hear and see the bustling below. And of course, Rottnest, a little island 25 minutes off the coast with no cars, just bicycles for transport and the most stunning alcoves and beaches. Simple living at its best.

Lastly, you look amazing at 38 weeks – can you share any tips for navigating pregnancy in style and comfort? In my life and business I am always on the go, I love it that way. And so going into my pregnancy I made a conscious effort to continue in just the same way. My style has to be comfortable, livable and understated, much like my designs, and especially as my bump has grown. Keeping it casual is always a good idea. If you feel comfortable, it's amazing how much better you look because your mind isn't concentrating on trying not to feel awkward.