Designer/photographer Mariana Garcia-Katz

Mariana runs her photography and design studio M2Matiz from the backyard studio. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
An inviting place to take a break. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
Take an inner-city Melbourne back yard and a designer/photographer with a passion for gardening (and a love of hard rubbish), and you have one quirky, artistic and inspiring garden.
When Mariana Garcia-Katz and her husband bought their home 10 years ago, the back garden consisted of a grass patch with a concrete path straight down the middle.
"We've completely changed the overall look of it," Mariana says. "Apart from the larger established trees, our back yard has been given a huge overhaul ... a lot of hard work, and trial and error."
Mariana says they started working on the garden when Melbourne was in the middle of water restrictions, which is why "we thought it best not to have grassed areas".
Although she occasionally misses the lawn, Mariana finds great joy in tending her bountiful veggie patch, along with her chickens and seedlings.

Mariana has an eye for creating pretty vignettes. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
This enticing backyard was once a patch of lawn with a concrete path down the middle. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
Mariana's beloved pooch, Charley, is a huge fan of the garden. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
A sweet collection of pots. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
How do you like to spend time in your garden?
I love tending to the vegetables in our patches, preparing the soil, planting new seedlings, patiently waiting. Sitting in a deck chair under the feijoa tree is also time well spent. We also have chickens and I could watch them for hours but I think I mostly love looking onto our backyard from our kitchen and dining room. It brings me such a sense of calm.

How does your garden inspire you?
It inspires me to look, really look, at nature's beautiful details (it changes with every season), to be patient and appreciate what nature has to offer.

Happy chickens potter in the run. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
The bountiful veggie patch. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz. 
Pots of herbs with ceramic markers. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
Pretty details add interest and colour. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
The impressive hen house was once a cubby. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
What are your must-haves for a garden?
Having come from a house with a small courtyard, if/when the time came to buy another house, it had to have a bigger back yard. I wanted chickens, vegetable patches, a smoke bush and a gum tree. And I'm happy to say we now have them. CERES Environmental Park has inspired us for many years. I love their use of recycled/reclaimed objects dotted about the place, the 'organic free-flowing' nature of its grounds has inspired me to collect found objects and incorporate them in our garden: old ladders, rusted car rims, old metal gates and frames, for example. All of which, I think, add so much character and make a garden unique.

You can find Mariana's work at

Pots are dotted throughout the backyard. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
A rustic lantern finds a home among the mint. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
Mariana is drawn to the rusty, weathered beauty of found objects. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
Old 44-gallon drums make fabulous planters. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.
The perfect place for a long lunch. Photography: Mariana Garcia-Katz.