Steve and Jay Filliponi enjoy a drink at their private bar. Picture: Nicki Connolly
IT’S the entertainer’s dream backyard with a difference.
From the Thai-style bar to the outdoor kitchen — and the all important thunderbox — it’s got it all.
Steve Filliponi and his wife Jay have spent years transforming the garden of their four-bedroom home at 4 Falls Rd, Mt Evelyn.
“When we moved here there was just dirt with overgrown trees in the backyard,” Mr Filliponi said.
“But as soon as I saw the place I knew exactly in my head what I could do with it.
“It’s sort of Thai and it’s a lot of Aussie in there as well.”
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The native wildlife looks a bit different at 4 Falls Rd, Mt Evelyn.
The Thai-inspired outdoor bar.
Steve and Jay Filliponi have created their own private retreat out the back of their home. Picture: Nicki Connolly
Mr Filliponi has built most of it himself, working in housing demolition and collecting timber and recycling bits and pieces from homes across Melbourne.
“I just love timber and stripping it back and making something out of it,” he said.
He deliberately designed the garden into zones so guests could move from one part of the yard to another — rather than all just sitting around a table next to the barbecue.
“I like to do things differently from everyone else. I don’t see the purpose of having land if you are just going to mow a lawn,” he said.
As for the thunderbox?
“I got sick of everyone walking inside the house to go to the toilet,” he said.
“I had everything outside already, and since it would have cost extra to plumb a toilet in, I bought a second hand building site toilet and put it in.”
Guests also always have something to talk about thanks to a menagerie of lifelike animal ornaments.
And it all started with a pig.
“A lot of people come in and look out the window and think he’s real for a split second,” Mr Filliponi said.
A few years on he’s added a crocodile, lizard and even an emu.
But they’re giving it all up so they can start again, and make a few additions they didn’t have space for the first time around.
“The backyard will be what I miss most,” he said.
Australiana chic. Picture: Nicki Connolly
An outdoor kitchen is a highlight.
The unassuming facade.
“But I wanted to buy a smaller house with bigger land and do something like this on a bigger scale. And bed and breakfast shacks.
“But all the animals are coming with me … they are just too hard to come across.”
Stockdale & Leggo’s Sharyn Manning said while the last time she’d seen a thunderbox had been at the house she grew up in during the 50s, the backyard at 4 Falls Rd would sell the home.
“You don’t see that sort of backyard, or the outdoor kitchen in this area,” Ms Manning said.
“The outside will sell the house.”
The house is on a 1260sq m block with a brick facade that gives no hint of the surprising garden behind it.
It’s listed for sale with a $750,000-$825,000 asking price.