Portfolio

Tropical Pool, Otaihanga

The owner of this rural property wanted a tropical holiday atmosphere for the new swimming pool and surrounding gardens and entertaining areas. The paddock out in front of the house was set aside for the development and a large overgrown and leaking pond was unceremoniously removed along with a few shelterbelt trees which were blocking sun and light to the area. The space was sheltered by surrounding trees, creating a microclimate suitable for the kind of palms etc which the client had his heart set on, but I was surprised how well these truly tropical species have established and grown. The palms and other lush-foliaged plants surround the pool and courtyard and create a real “tropical escape” atmosphere. The new pool is framed by generous hardwood decking areas on 3 sides and the fourth side features a retained edge which drops away giving open views...
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Waikanae

This redesign of an existing garden and pool was primarily concerned with improving the flow from the house out into the garden and creating a flexible range of outdoor living areas for family use and entertaining for large groups of friends. Previously the drive ran right through the garden next to the house – and cut the pool off from the garden. Also the house was about a metre off the ground and therefore felt isolated from the garden. The clients fortunately agreed to take the important first steps of rerouting the driveway to  the outside of the garden and raising the lawn to reduce the drop from floor level. Several generous sets of steps were included off the verandah and hedging around the base provides a soft yet defined edge. A large pergola provides semi-sheltered access from the parking area to the front door, and...
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Asian Fusion

This garden, owned by a couple with Pacific and Asian roots, incorporates a mix of both subtropical and Japanese themes in both the planting and detailing. The courtyard area makes use of the sunny, sheltered aspect with a riot of flowering, bold foliage plants, whilst the lower courtyard is shady and used more as a viewing garden. Here a Japanese shade garden has been created, with a waterfall style water feature at one end which turns an ugly shady concrete retaining wall into a dramatic focal point. Plants have been selected which play on varieties of greens and textures, with seasonal “special effects” provided by the deciduous maples and flowering orchids.  A dramatic, loose checkerboard pattern is created with the various textures of decking, gravel and Irish Moss ground-cover planting.               Tweet...
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Mosaic Pool

  This pool and garden was of necessity located on a newly-acquired section on the south side of the house. The design needed to strengthen the linkages to the house and also re-orientate the area to the north. This was done with a new garage with a poolhouse attached and substantial planting which created a strong southern edge. The poolhouse faces northwest and also provides handy facilities – a bar, kitchen and casual lounge –  and a “2nd home” for the summer months. Two matching pebble-and-tile mosaics create dramatic features in and out of the pool. The pool is a delicious deep, soft blue  colour from the custom-made fibreglass lining and a waterline tile strip which further enhances the colour and is a feature in itself. The whole pool area looks out over the fence and planting into the garden beyond which is an eclectic mix of flowering exotic colour...
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Japanese Woodland

The beautiful mature trees in this garden set the scene for a Japanese style woodland garden and the client’s love and understanding of Japanese gardens and their attention to detail ensured the success of this project. The entrance features a more formal Japanese garden with lantern, water bowl and traditional Japanese planting, with a stone path leading out into the main garden. Boulders were carefully selected and located to provide sculptural interest and a balanced composition to the views from the main deck. A smaller deck down in the garden has a Japanese style pergola overhead. This leads the eye through to the end of the garden and provides a lovely spot to sit and enjoy the ever-changing planting. The dramatic beauty of this garden is arresting in all seasons with the planting providing a constantly changing tapestry of colour, texture and light. The clients,...
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Heart Of The Beachfront

The owner of this beach-house is a very keen gardener and was keen to create a variety of spaces for plants and intimate areas for sitting within the gardens. The  heart-shaped layout creates several small usable areas for sitting out in a variety of conditions/seasons etc and creates interesting spaces for planting. The garden has also spilt out onto the road reserve where it provides a wonderful feature at the end of this quiet street. The client says: “I had the house ‘rearranged’ for an indoor – outdoor flow, but outdoors was not cooperating.  The garden had rather an old-fashioned look and the seafront I soon discovered, was not the place to grow a luscious lawn. To me, the foundation of any good garden is the design, especially for a small one, which can be very unforgiving if the proportions are not just right.  I didn’t have the courage...
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Porthole Pool

This pool makes use of an old tennis court behind the house which was raised about a metre above house floor level. Being situated on the east side of the house it made sense to keep the area raised to allow the afternoon summer sun to come over the house. The clients wanted to feel like they were on holiday with their new pool environment so a semi-resort atmosphere was required – notwithstanding the limitations set by our Wellington climate! The planting, materials and the sheltered, sun-trap orientation have all helped to create this.  The levels were adjusted to maintain a 1.2m wall between the house and the pool – this became the pool “fence”. In order to highlight the existence of the pool from the courtyard below, a large porthole window has been created in the pool wall, giving those in the courtyard an...
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Resort Style

The American-style woodland garden is the inspiration for this garden. The client’s love of this style fortunately fitted well with the climatic conditions of this site – reasonably sheltered with cold winters and warm summers. The brief was to create “a resort in our back yard”! So a pool, poolhouse, tennis court and spa were included as well as the complete layout of driveway, entrance, vege gardens, lawns, woodland walkways, boardwalks etc. The seasonal change in this garden is spectacular and will continue to improve as the garden matures. The client’s love of conifers was also catered for and the effect is very successful with the contrast between solidity and transparency of foliage and form.   The client says: “Rebecca has helped transform a farm field into a beautifully classic garden that is a joy to be in. There are different zones to enjoy that...
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Treetops Pool

These clients love space! The problem was that the best, most sheltered part of the garden - and the area best connected to the house - didn’t look big enough for their taste. The lawn fell away into a small gully only a few metres from the house.  I have always loved those tropical treehouse type designs which have decks, complete with spas and pools, suspended in space and surrounded by the tree canopy. I suggested we could do a similar thing here, and they eventually agreed. The pool is built as far away from the house as possible, but still with the base (2 metres down) on solid ground with the far side built up against a retaining wall. The deck extends the space on three sides of the pool (one end housing the pool cover)and the main sundeck is suspended out over the gully woodland area and into the tree canopy. This has worked extremely...
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Glasshouse pool

This property, a lifestyle block in Pauatahanui, is elevated with great views over the surrounding countryside… but the wind really hits the garden and the thought of investing in a pool which was too cold and windy to enjoy was too much to cope with. The pool was located around the back of the house on the east side so the house provides some protection. The northerly winds are kept out of the area with a glass “wall” which also doubles as a safety fence, and this end of the pool is also covered by a glazed pergola to ensure the wind carries on over the roofline rather than dumping down into the pool courtyard. The whole area is remarkably sheltered and is now the main focus for family outdoor living. The pool features a waterfall and a curved bay at both ends, one of which...
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Contemporary Country

The brief for this project was to create a restful yet contemporary series of spaces around the house for relaxing and socialising. I was keen to ensure that this sat well within the rural scene and reflected where they were. There was limited flat space so the pool and lawn were built out into the paddock with a large, curved retaining wall. The distance from guest parking and garages to the house was made into a pleasant garden walk with a large, semi-rustic pergola which is festooned with Wisteria to create a sheltered, leafy walk in summer and a more airy structure in winter. Located north of Otaki (with a lovely dry climate) this wasn’t a major issue. The pool sits on the edge of the garden with views over the lime citrus orchard below. Views to this orchard and the countryside beyond are kept open with just a small...
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Mt. Vic Courtyard

This garden included a courtyard for outdoor living and a separate entrance walkway. The courtyard is completely sheltered and private, with visitors not treated to a view of the area until they are inside the house, due to the tall concrete wall between the two areas. The courtyard materials are simple and understated, with the drama provided by the water feature between the pillars of the new garage.  This water cascade also draws the eye away from the imposing new garage and also provides a subtle distraction from road noise beyond. The planting makes use of a limited variety of species, mass-planted for simple dramatic effect with occasional specimens chosen for seasonal interest. Tweet...
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Rustic Textures

This is the internal courtyard of a very groovy architecturally-designed house set on a hilltop in Wairarapa. It makes maximum use of texture as a response to the clients’ love of texture – she is a textile designer. Rustic, locally sourced materials make reference to the rural location and give an informal flavor to the simple hard-edged design.         Tweet...
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Cliff-Edge Pool

This pool, sited on an extremely small, steep site, required a simple clean-lined design to sit easily beside the contemporary style home and maximise the feeling of space. The spectacular view to the harbour is made especially dramatic with the “infinity” pool edge that curves out to meet the sea - a waterfall spills over the entire curved edge creating a dramatic feature for the house entrance below and bringing attention to the pool above. The courtyard, cut into the bank, is backed by curved retaining walls which continue the curve of the pool.  Terraced gardens lead up to a casual, more rustic lookout sitting area at the top corner of the property.   Tweet...
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Minimalist Country

The concept design for this property was completed prior to the new house being designed to allow the owners to begin planting the largely empty paddocks. Once the new house plan – by Architect Gerald Parsonson – was completed the landscape plan was able to be adjusted to fit. The house is a dramatic and bold architectural statement but still manages to sit quietly within this rural setting, and the landscape needed to build on this atmosphere. The front courtyards are low-key and plain, divided into informal spaces with the careful placement of rectangular, offset gardens. Views from the house vary from native bush to open farm paddocks and a formal, hedge-enclosed garden  soon to feature a dramatic modern sculpture. The back garden has a substantial orchard and vege garden area. The existing native bush has been fenced off from grazing and a walking track...
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Moat House

This exciting house – by Symbiosis Architects – with its moat, dramatic rooflines, tapered form and multiple glass walls and windows demanded a similarly dramatic garden design. However, whilst the house was beautifully designed and built, the landscaping was not really working that well and some problems with the leaking pond, lack of privacy and unused outdoor areas needed solving. The decision was made to repair the moat – and at the same time transform it into a more visually effective feature.  The moat was extended to meet the boundary wall and we recommended Wellington artist John Calvert be engaged to design a water feature for the wall. His copper and slumped glass work creates a dramatic yet delicate play with light and water as the water droplets fall and slide from one glass platform to the next. The water feature is also lit at night, creating a stunning focal point. The stepping stones were reworked...
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Wild Tiles

This beachfront property, graced with a wonderful new home by architect Roger Walker, has two distinct sides – the beach frontage with the lap pool, deck, and rustic timber details, and the ‘inland” entrance garden area which presents a more sheltered, lush face to the street. The front door is located half way down the narrow southern side of the house but the design makes this a fun journey.  The broken tile detail in the drive leads to the dramatic foliage-inspired gate by John Calvert. The tile path continues to meander in sinuous curves to the bright red front door, passing intriguing views into a private courtyard on the way. The front garden forms the foreground to the harbour and beach. The deck features another piece by John Calvert – a rustic seat, again inspired by native plant forms. Planting is tough enough to withstand...
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New Seatoun

This modern home was carefully designed to leave small but effective spaces for outdoor living on this relatively small section. A sense of space is maintained with the way the house opens fully to the garden. The pergola-covered entranceway  creates a definite threshold coming in off the street, and the garden is a nice surprise in this built-up area. The courtyards make use of paving with pebble and shell which reflects the beach nearby. The use of black mondo grass strips in the paving adds bold texture to the clean lines and defines the various spaces. The layout is simple to maximise the feeling of space and interest is provided with the paving details, sculptural features and planting.   Tweet...
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Clean and Green

Like most of my clients this couple wanted an extremely low maintenance garden. The design makes use of a very simple planting palette and dramatic, clean diagonal lines to complement the modern home. A water feature on the wall did not eventuate but the rock bed is a nice compromise and the pair of immaculate conifer cones provide effective sculptural interest. Contractor: Peter Green, Horokiwi Paving Tweet...
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Meditteranean

This garden is looked in on from all quarters by neighbouring houses and desperately needed privacy screening with planting. The owners love sitting outside and required a low-maintenance planting scheme which would give them green, fragrant and private surroundings. With Greek family origins, they wanted a distinctly classical Meditteranean feel and the area already had a “courtyard garden” feel with the house and boundary walls creating a strong frame.   The water-filled urn feature forms a dramatic classical focal point which effectively distracts the eye from the background houses over the wall. In time the Olive trees, Mexican Pepper trees and others will provide an effective, soft screen around the boundary. The plant palette is coping well with the gusty wind conditions and will continue to improve with age, although the owners are already delighted with the result and spend as much time as possible in...
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