Portfolio

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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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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Olive Grove

This Olive farm in Martinborough, as yet without a house but with rapidly maturing olive groves and amenity plantings, is again an excellent example of how planning can help to create a semi-mature landscape to support a future house. The olives have been planted along the natural contours of this undulating site, and this lends a wonderfully informal atmosphere to the landscape, with a range of unexpected and ever-changing scenes as you walk through the trees. The whole farm is designed to be walked around – avenues of trees and hedges lead down to special plantings, and a South-African themed walk leads along a ridgeline from the from the house full of South-African plants of special significance to the owners. Native plants form a sheltered enclosure for the olive, citrus and nut plantings. The driveway, originally a short “dive” off the straight right-of way, now meanders through the...
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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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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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Waikanae Woodland Drive

A mere 15 years ago these clients bought this property as a bare undulating-to-steep paddock and set about transforming it into a place where they could eventually live and retire to. A house site was confirmed and a prefunctory driveway route drawn in by the engineer – straight from the gate to the house site with considerable cutting/filling of ridges and gullies etc. The clients wisely saw the shortcomings in this plan and asked me to come up with an alternative. I was immediately struck with the potential for the experience of driving through this beautifully 3-dimensional landscape, especially as the owners had expressed an interest in creating a series of ponds in the lower parts of the property. There were some small remnant bush areas remaining and a quite a few scattered Kohekohe trees in the paddocks so these were fenced off from grazing...
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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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Waikuku Woodland Garden

This garden, owned by my parents and the first garden I ever designed, is an informal, rambling country garden in which I have learned a lot. The budget has always been tight but this has worked to our advantage in that the use of natural, low-cost, local materials gives an informal, handcrafted character to the place. The courtyards are entirely paved with free broken pavers, collected by the trailerload as they accumulated at the factory. Woven willow screens make a welcome change from the usual trellis, and ornamental grape and wisteria add seasonal drama. Part of the charm of this garden lies in the way the materials have aged so gracefully and the seasonal moss, leaf fall etc add greatly to its restful personality. Native planting in the more exposed areas of the garden adds textural interest and a dramatic theme change. Low maintenance mass-plantings help to reduce the...
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