they built their place at Doctor’s Point, north of Dunedin, Colin and Leeann Thom would camp out on the land, drinking in the view of Blueskin Bay from under canvas. That sense of being on holiday never left them, even after their house was finished and they relocated their lives there.
Partly they can thank the setting for that, because who wouldn’t feel serene, living beside a beautiful tidal bay? But the innate tranquillity of the site has been enhanced by a sympathetic house design and the vision of landscape designer Wayne Butson, who won the 2014 Landscaping New Zealand Landscape of the Year national award for his work at the Thoms’ property.
It was a slightly unusual commission. Colin is principal of Colin Thom Builders (he and Wayne had worked together on several residential projects) and handled all the hard elements, the paths, steps and retaining walls, while Wayne concentrated on design and planting – “the green fluffy bits”, as he puts it.
The Thoms wanted an easy-care garden that fitted its site, where dozens of slender kanuka trees frame the view of the water. Otherwise, Wayne was given an open brief. More than 1500 plants went in, with Wayne guided by his instincts rather than working to drawings.
“Sometimes being fluid like that is a good idea. A lot of our work is done that way.”
Essentially, it’s a native garden, but with significant exotic elements, a typical approach for Wayne, who is founder and director of Dunedin-based Design and Garden Landscapes. >