Andy and Cheryl were facing retirement and planning to ‘go on the wallaby’ until a chat with some friends got them thinking in another direction. Their friends had purchased several acres on the Fleurieu Peninsula and were planning on following their dreams of painting and making furniture.
Andy a keen vegetable gardener and Cheryl a passionate cook began to think about also buying a property and so a search began with the property now known as Lush Pastures purchased in early 2009. Andy and Cheryl fell in love with the amazing view and began to plan their new challenge.
Max Pritchard, award winning architect, was brought on board to design modern eco accommodation consisting of three lodges for guests and a main building for Andy and Cheryl ‘s home, entertaining area for guests, as well as a large kitchen for Cheryl to produce delicious food for all.
Nearly 100 fruit and nut trees were planted in the first year – most within a cage to protect the fruit from the birds – to provide produce for all types of preserves for guests to enjoy at Lush Pastures as well as guests being able to take some home. The cage was built by Andy, Cheryl, their son Jack and his friend Bob.
The second year saw planning approval, demolition of the existing house and the slab poured with Andy and Cheryl moving to the shed! A tent within the shed became the bedroom, with other areas allocated as kitchen, dining and living room. A leanto became the bathroom and laundry, with a stand alone toilet completing the facilities.
Gradually the structures began to take shape under the guidance of builder Dylan Gilbert, with the lodges completed first, followed by the main house. The tradies worked in sunshine, wind, rain and mud and finally when everything was done, Andy and Cheryl could move once again.
Jack brought his mate Cameron to Lush Pastures for a holiday to free range on the property and they helped build chook houses attached to the orchard cage so the birds can free range whenever they want.
Decorating and furnishing, as well as creating a logo, began in earnest. The very talented Kara Gillet, one of Cheryl and Andy's foster daughters was commandeered to design the logo, which symbolises the hills & valleys, the sea and the three lodges using the shape of the rooves to look like birds. The cursive writing of 'Lush Pastures' symbolises the old fashioned hospitality which Cheryl and Andy wanted to provide.
Friends became a valuable resource as they trialled the lodges and made suggestions.
Lawn seeds were sown with watering a priority, although Bella and Gemma, (Andy's and Cheryl's red heelers) made an awesome effort to dislodge all the seeds as they chased each other around.
As Cheryl mastered the new stove and equipment Andy was busy getting the watering systems functioning properly. Neglected potplants were suddenly lavished with TLC (it was nearly Christmas!) and Jack returned home to help - his youth and muscles contributing in a major way as the privacy screens were built around the lodges.
Final cleaning, painting touchups, planting gardens and general tidyup after a year of building followed with the website being finally completed as well.
Landscaping, building a cellar based on a Roman design, mowing, weeding and pruning were physical challenges while wading through the intracies of online booking services and tourism accreditation certainly worked the grey cells.
The vision continues with projects on the drawing board and tantalising smells wafting through the air with guests sharing the amazing experience of Lush Pastures.
Lush Pastures achieved accreditation with the Australian Tourism Accrediation Program and appeared on the front cover of SA Life magazine - September 2012 issue with an article inside.
Guests have enjoyed Lush Pastures with some returning as Andy and Cheryl continue on their exciting and so enjoyable journey. The visitor's book contains words that have blown Andy and Cheryl away by the superlatives and sometimes simple messages.
Many nights of laughter, food and wine and diverse conversations with people from all over the world have confirmed to Andy and Cheryl that their decision was the best. Friends have been made, with many interstate and overseas guests using facebook to keep in touch.
Improvements to the landscaping continue with the 'to do list' as long as ever. The next major addition will be an outside area under some trees to sit and contemplate the view and sunsets with a fireplace for colder nights.
Thanks to all LP guests for helping make our dream a reality!