Portfolio

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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Return To Raro

  These clients have Rarotongan roots and wanted an outdoor area which suited their style of family gatherings, celebrations and general family living. The vertical sleeper wall creates a dramatic base for the bush surroundings and maximises flat lawn space for games, marquee’s etc. The tropical style gazebo, built by the family, creates a wonderful island-style social area and the steps and water feature create a natural link to the bush.   Built by the clients and family Tweet...
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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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Gale-Force Solution

This hilltop property is exposed to winds from every possible direction, and feeble attempts at outdoor living had been “unrewarding.” An open-roofed outdoor room was created which is extraordinarily sheltered, even on the wildest Wellington day. In calm weather the bifold windows open up to the views below and the wide timber slab sills double as casual seating. Sub-tropical planting thrives in the courtyard whilst gale-tolerant natives cope with the original conditions outside             Tweet...
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Retirement Village

This development was created for the 55 years and over market – small homes on small sections was a basic requirement stated by the developers. However the repetitive design of the house floor plans were altered to ensure sun and light to the living areas and an attractive small courtyard and garden area for every home. Planting has been used to create appropriate privacy between the individual properties, and to create an attractive, relaxed and intimate streetscape. The use of low, mountable kerbs, minimum-width roading, limited footpaths and varied roading materials encourage slow traffic speeds and the use of the roadway by vehicles, pedestrians and mobility scooters alike. Fencing has been kept to a minimum, with planting providing soft boundary definition where possible. Tweet...
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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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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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Wave Deck

I include this old project in the portfolio only because I am so fond of it – it was my first paid job back in 1993! – and also because it illustrates boldly that decks don’t have to be square! The clients were presented with two concepts, one being a regular square deck, and they bravely went for this option and have been enjoying it ever since. Although small, the spaces work well and create a variety of usable areas. The garden has hosted many a garden party, regular theatre performances and more recently rose to the occasion for a family wedding. Their gorgeous little beachouse used to have views of the sea but these had been lost long ago as Eastbourne developed. The clients wanted to feel reconnected with the beach so I used driftwood for garden edging, coastal plants and sand-coloured pavers (unfortunately way back...
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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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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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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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Contemporary Beach Living

This large family holiday home required a garden which could satisfy the needs of a large extended family. Children’s play areas, boat storage access, outdoor showers, entertaining, dining and sun-bathing all had to happen in this smallish front yard. With the open beach just through the hedge shelter and privacy was also an issue.     Tweet...
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Garage Rooftop Garden

An ugly garage roof sitting about 3/4 of a metre above the surrounding lawn dominated the front garden area of this bungalow – and being the north-west side of the property this seemed like a wasted space for the owner. We designed a tiled rooftop terrace and linked this to the house with decking and timber steps up to the rooftop area. As this area had good views we were reluctant to block these with shelter planting and screens despite the exposed, windy conditions. We have created a second, sheltered “nook” below the deck which has views into the garden and makes good use of this small, tucked away spot. Tweet...
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