The landscape designer’s own garden. A place of constant experimentation and change. Subtropical oasis in the centre, focus on creating habitat for wild life in the lower garden and extensive kitchen garden with vegetables and chooks at the top level.

The sloping site was divided into level areas and banks, keeping the need for expensive retaining walls to a minimum. Decisions about how and where to create these new levels were informed by the need to retain the existing trees and not disturb their root systems. To slow down run-off and allow it to filter into the ground, stormwater management, erosion control and drainage also had to be taken into account.

The garden has several ‘key’ areas. The courtyard garden, which is integral to the architecture of the house, was designed to be viewed through the large two-storey glass front when traversing through the house.

From this quite structured environment a timber deck leads onto a level lawn with views over the lower garden to the mountains in the distance. Across the lawn, under the canopy of a very large Camphor Laurel (which despite being a noxious weed remained as it provides a nesting site for a variety of birds), a path leads into the ‘tropical’ section. Here a number of shade-loving plants provide a focal point from the house.

Throughout the garden hard surfaces are kept to a minimum. Paths through the garden are graveled, stepping stones sit within groundcover plants and there is some lawn.

This garden doesn’t adhere to any particular style. Rather, it is a response to the context of the site, the topography, the climate and the architecture of the house.

Plant selection and experimentation with new species plays an important role as it’s a garden of constant change.

This is not a low maintenance garden. Large trees and bamboo constantly shed their leaves, gingers need to be cut back, palm fronds must be removed and weeding and mulching are regular chores. However, this is an exciting garden that invites interaction, is a source of exercise and, ultimately, great satisfaction

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