Portfolio

Historic Cottage Charm

This charming early 1900’s cottage had a distinctive central axis and structure yet the garden consisted of meandering rose gardens which, whilst beautiful, did nothing to enhance this feature. Also, typically for this era, the outdoor living was non-existent. The new owners wanted a more structured, simple and less cluttered garden and a variety of places where they could sit outside and enjoy the garden. They also wanted to retain the cottagey, traditional feel of the property. The design – inspired by Edna Walling – makes use of recycled terracotta tiles from  the site and recycled bricks to create  two courtyards which sit easily against the historic cottage. The entrance path begins under an existing pergola and looks out over a fragrant, buxus-edged garden, with a stepping stone path leading the eye through informal gardens to the main lawn. A simple gravel chip path leads...
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Arts and Crafts in Otaki

This magestic Arts and Crafts house has been lovingly restored by a dedicated couple from a virtually derelict state and now is a beautiful example of what can be done within the Arts and Crafts style. The garden was in a similar state of disrepair – a few lovely old trees and a nice set of steps in need of repair were the only things worth keeping. A concrete driveway completely surrounded the house. The first issue was to get people out of their cars sooner and make the trip to the house worth the effort (although a service driveway was maintained to the back of the house). This involved restoring the steps and adding an arbour with beautiful framed views out into the garden on both sides. There was no outdoor living so a few courtards were included around the house for family entertaining etc and to link the...
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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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Historic Masterton Masterpiece

This absolutely gorgeous historic house was sitting in a pretty sad old garden which had tragic notes of 1950’s makeovers throughout. A kidney-shaped pool, asphalt driveway around three sides of the house and an under-sized tennis court dominated the scene, capped off by a grim row of large Yew trees up the drive. Several beautiful specimen trees remained, however, and a lovely old arbour sat over the disused entrance path. The design creates a series of defined and structured spaces around the house to give dignity and a sense of arrival to the entrance area and a range of outdoor living areas to suit the seasons, time of day, etc. The grass tennis court has been replaced with a large formal lawn and peripheral gardens which allows it to still be used for casual games. There is a generous edible garden developed in the northern...
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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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Access issues

These clients have a problem common in Wellington – a pretty arduous tramp up to their house! Rather than install a cablecar they opted for a redesign of their path and steps. The new path and steps bring the visitor up into the garden through a series of spaces, with plenty of interesting features and planting to pause and admire (whilst catching your breath!). The journey begins with the council path which has been improved simply with planting, handrails and stone steps at the base. Once on the property the stonework, By Carl Gifford, is a feature in itself, and the spiral staircase is a delightful example of his skills. The steps emerge onto the small formal lawn where the paving breaks up into strips divided by creeping ground-cover plants, providing textural and seasonal interest. The water feature planned for the far end of the lawn is waiting for the lotto win…...
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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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Labyrinth

This labyrinth, originally built in the beautiful grounds of Frederick Wallis House in Military Road, Lower Hutt, is based on the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral.   Our job as designers was to suggest materials (we strongly felt a tile mosaic was the only appropriate option) and then to select colours and suitable tiles… and then find a way to build it within their tight budget! I rashly suggested getting the Friends of the House to do the tilework so then was entrusted with teaching about 40 people how to do mosaics – and then overseeing the work to control the overall quality and colour gradation theme etc.  The construction of the labyrinth was a massive community project – and many would say a labour of love! – spanning two years and involving dozens of dedicated volunteers plus the specialist skills of many talented people. Engineers and mathematicians, artists and historians, all...
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Pocket Handkerchief Garden

This small space was not required for seating etc. but is near the front door and looked down on from the stories above. The design creates a simple yet dramatic garden view from above and an interesting semi-formal entrance garden. Plant selection was limited to virtually indestructable native coastal species due to the buffeting winds. Tweet...
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Farmhouse Back Yard

This lovely old farmhouse is surrounded with mature woodlands, a sheltered home paddock and a grove of ancient pear trees. The design of the back courtyard opens up to this with wide, curving steps. This curve continues as hedging around the edge of the area to define the courtyard space yet retain views to the scene beyond. Originally designed as a riding arena, the paddock above is still just a paddock but if the arena eventuates it will provide a good extension to this structured space. Materials are rustic and simple, using materials which would have been used originally for homes of this era. The raised gardens are for veges and smaller fruit/citrus planting in keeping with traditional farmhouse back yards.   Tweet...
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Tile Treat

This entrance garden to a large Victorian Villa is formal and inviting with a simple layout, mass-planting behind low hedges and a dramatic Victorian tiling feature on the landing. The lawn has been levelled to provide some open, green space which also creates a small play area and tree house for the children. Contractor: Red Tree Landscaping Tweet...
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Drinking Fountain

This tiny entrance garden is lucky enough to be owned by a flamboyant couple who enjoy doing things a little differently. They selected the recycled fencing and said they wanted a public drinking fountain on their fence too! The Victorian drinking fountain is extremely popular, located as it is at the top of a thirsty set of steps up from the city below. The style of the tiling – Winckleman’s tiles – and steps are typical of the period for this Victorian Villa and the planting is an eclectic but simple mix of flower, fragrance and form. Contractor: Dave Jones 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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Mount Vic Roof Garden

This rooftop concept design, yet to be implemented, is for a villa roof area opening from the upstairs master bedroom. The entire Butinol lining roof will be covered with a drainage membrane to protect the liner and provide free drainage over the deck. The pavers and planters will be supported by corner pedistals and the deck will rest on the drainage membrane rather than being fixed to the roof. A central vege garden is contained in wine barrels and sits on a bed of crushed shell, and all other peripheral planters sit a shallow timber-edged “trough” lined with beach pebbles. The roof is at present too exposed to be pleasant for plants – or people! – and the design therefore includes a series of window screens around the north-facing edge with two open areas equipped with roll-down PVC screens for extreme weather events and to protect plants until...
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Martinborough Tradition

The owners of this established garden had purchased a large empty paddock next door, and the challenge was to develop the new garden areas as a natural continuation of the existing garden. The driveway was rerouted to make full use of the new area and also to reduce the impact of the existing driveway which cutt off the existing house and garden from the proposed garden extension. The existing drive avenue was instead developed as a formal pedestrian entrance, making use of the existing planting and structures. The new garden areas employ traditional formal garden design elements to draw the eye down the various view shafts and lure visitors into the garden from the cottage. A water feature with a rill leading to the sunken garden and a growing arbor formed by trained Lime trees (Linden) create interesting focal points and give structure to a young but rapidly establishing extension to...
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