Portfolio

Inner City Rooftop

A semi-enclosed deck area is the focal point of this inner city appartment – 2 sides open from the living and dining areas of the apartment. The client wanted a lush, sheltered garden ”escape” in the Balinese style, quite a challenge for a top-storey apartment in Wellington! Also she was determined to have a lawn – and she now has one, all of 4 m2… this tiny but valuable carpet of green is the centrepiece for this little garden and is raised to allow soil beneath. A roofed pergola helps create a hot-house environment and the planters and climbing plants over the pergola and screens provide lush surroundings complemented by the Balinese Daybed along one side.  Extra shelter is available if needed with roll-down PVC screens from the pergola beam, but with the roofed pergola and the permanent climbing screens at each end it is hoped this is not really needed. Tweet...
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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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Australian Beachhouse

This rustic and delightful house belongs to my sister and her family on the coast south of Geelong in Victoria. I was naturally asked to come up with some ideas for the garden and it is a fun process watching the garden evolve – and helping to build bits of it whilst on ‘holiday”! There are some lovely details here worth sharing, built entirely by the very creative family who also built all the renovations to the house, including an entire floor on top of the old council house. An old garage on the north side was removed to allow the driveway area to be developed for outdoor living and garden space. A new garage and parking area was created on the south side of the house. The first stage of a substantial deck has been completed. This enlarges the living area of the lower floor and is roofed...
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Drainage Ditch Transformed

This spectacular and wonderful home, designed by architect Ron Sang from Auckland, was built overhanging an uninspiring drainage ditch. Ron saw the potential in it however and I was engaged to transform the garden into something which would make the most of this feature and generally create an appropriate setting for the house. Huge windows in the house make the garden a vital part of every view within the house. The client loves dramatic plants with bold foliage and flower, particularly native plants, and these create the framework and the dramatic features. A couple of existing mature Nikau Palms certainly helped! Ron Sang’s beautiful bridge spans the ditch, with glass handrails making the most of the view to the planting below. The ditch runs into a culvert pipe at the end of the property and this is now festooned with Virginia Creeper, creating a dramatic autumn display. Seasonal colour is...
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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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Kanuka

This dramatic contemporary home, designed by Novak and Middleton Architects, was set within a mature Kanuka forest. As much as possible of the Kanuka stand was retained, with trees up to and overhanging the house in several areas. The existing dramatic, simple forest cover meant little was required in the way of extra trees, but the forest floor became the potential area for development. Access around the site was created primarily with a series of boardwalks. These structures have minimum impact on the foliage cover below, and one appears to cut across the grass and sedge garden. The only impact on the plants below is to enhance the textural beauty of these mass-planted swathes. Stone has been used sparingly through the site. Stone cairns have been used to subtly highlight the entrance to the property, and steppingstones pick tracks through the forest floor.   Tweet...
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Lush Coastal

  Eastbourne Beachfront This property fronts onto Eastbourne waterfront and also looks back towards the bush clad hills just one block away to the east. Whilst the aim of the garden on the seaward side was to provide an effective foreground to the open harbour views, the inland garden area warranted a totally different approach. The clients were open about their lack of skills but were very enthusiastic in their desire to celebrate both sides of their special property. The beachside garden incorporated enlarged and reshaped decks to encourage more use of this area, and reworked planting to better emphasise the coastal location. A beautiful steel and stone gate by artist John Calvert graces the widened entrance to the beach, and the client’s brother carved the wonderful seaweed- inspired posts. The fence of slate-blue colour steel and railway sleepers provides privacy and shelter for the...
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Beachside Oasis

This was Rebecca Wilson’s previous garden, and it celebrates its beachside setting in flamboyant style! Only a 300m2 site but a variety of outdoor living areas are created, each with a distinct atmosphere. Hand-crafted details in the mosaic work add colour and personality offset by lush, predominantly native coastal planting.                   Tweet...
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