Editor’s Note: Sara lived and gardened at Ashcotte in Bendigo before she moved to Nonsuch in Tasmania in early 2005. We have added the pages from her time at Ashcotte which originally appeared on her personal website and her Victorian Flower Garden website. 

Below is a schematic diagram of the back garden showing a plan of the cat adventure playground.

Click within the diagram to see pictures of the various components. If text is blue then it is a link.


  1. The exit from the house
  2. Aerial walkway leading over a path and into the plum tree.
  3. Aerial walkway leading through the plum and apricot trees, through a tangle of clematis and wisteria, and onto the top of the pergola.
  4. The first of the play pens atop the pergola. This one has a view of the back garden.
  5. Aerial walkways atop the pergola. There are no pictures of these.
  6. The second of the playpens on the pergola roof. This one has a view of the front and side street, the side garden, and several neighbours’ gardens.
  7. The fish pond module. Here Claude and Luther can survey either the fish or the bird feeding tray from shelves or hammocks. The fish, of course can also entertain themselves watching the cats!
  8. The main module – a roofed 2 metre by 2 metre by 2 metre area containing lots of hammocks and shelves.
  9. Long tunnel leading to the oyster run.
  10. A tall tower-like module where the cats can either gaze into next door’s garden or watch the bird feeding tray.
  11. The Oyster Run. This is a circular run that leads about a dense patch of oyster plants, arums and Japanese windflowers. Once the plants grow back a bit it will be completely hidden.
  12. A toilet module just off the main module.

The playground is designed so that there are no dead ends – one cat cannot trap another – and there are a variety of places to investigate and from which to view the world. The cats can also use the layout to stalk birds about the garden … without ever being in danger of actually catching the birds!

I also wanted to avoid having one big module. It would have dominated the garden, whereas now most of the modules blend into the background or are hidden either in trees or atop the pergola.

Modules and tunnels supplied by Catnip.