Gar­den: A small­ish site laps up the land­scape

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text by Carol Buck­nell. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Kate Clar­idge.

The land­scap­ing plan for a new site in Christchurch took ad­van­tage of es­tab­lished neigh­bour­ing gar­dens to cre­ate

leafy sight lines and a sense of pri­vacy

When Craig Wil­son of Form Gar­den Ar­chi­tec­ture ad­mired some ma­ture trees next to a bare sec­tion in the Christchurch sub­urb of Strowan, his first thought was to bor­row the view for a gar­den he was de­sign­ing for the site. “It was a bare sec­tion down a long right of way,” he says. “The neigh­bour­ing sec­tions had some es­tab­lished trees which I could see would cre­ate a lovely back­drop and a ‘bor­rowed’ land­scape that would pro­vide a sense of scale to the two-storey home.” SITE

With the trees’ fo­liage screen­ing out the neigh­bour­ing houses, the 556-square-me­tre site pro­vided just the right amount of pri­vacy – a qual­ity that Craig’s clients, Wal­ter and Paulette Scott, were af­ter. “We were not in­ter­ested in be­ing in a new sub­di­vi­sion,” says Paulette. “This sec­tion is in a se­cluded spot at the end of a long drive­way which is shared by five other homes. We have two bound­aries which look out onto large, es­tab­lished gar­dens with large trees, the houses of each be­ing some dis­tance back from us, which means we can en­joy the bor­rowed land­scape of our neigh­bours.”

DE­SIGN

The cou­ple com­mis­sioned Bench­mark Homes to con­struct their house and the builders rec­om­mended Craig for the land­scape de­sign. “We wanted to have the land­scape plan fi­nalised in the early stages of the build so any struc­tural work could be co­or­di­nated with that,” says Wal­ter.

“We wanted a de­sign that re­flected the French-villa style of the house, easy-care with out­door liv­ing op­tions. Craig was very quick to vi­su­alise what would work and he drew up an ini­tial plan with the ideas we had agreed on. We then were able to take it away to study it and we met him back on site to talk about a few changes we had iden­ti­fied. Once we had agreed on the plan, we took it to the next stage where he drew up work­ing draw­ings and plant­ing plans.”

Wal­ter and Paulette wanted a struc­tured gar­den with­out it be­ing rigidly for­mal, says Craig. A key el­e­ment in his de­sign was dis­guis­ing the bound­aries of the ir­reg­u­larly shaped sec­tion while also max­imis­ing af­ter­noon sun and pro­vid­ing shel­ter from the pre­vail­ing east­erly wind.

“Re­spond­ing to the house lay­out, we built an out­door en­ter­tain­ing deck at fin­ished-floor height to seam­lessly in­te­grate with the in­door liv­ing spa­ces. The deck wraps around the north­ern and eastern sides of the house to cre­ate a large, sun­drenched area. The de­sign lines of the deck, planters and paving are aligned with the house to dis­guise the ir­reg­u­lar sec­tion, which would oth­er­wise clash with the semi-for­mal aes­thetic of the house,” he says.

Wide steps con­nect­ing the deck to the lawn can be used as in­for­mal seat­ing ar­eas for larger gath­er­ings, as can the plas­tered con­crete block planters at the eastern end of the deck. To the west, steps down from the deck lead to a smaller pa­tio where the wine-red fo­liage of a for­est pansy (Cer­cis) pro­vides a lovely fo­cal point for Paulette to en­joy from her paint­ing stu­dio.

A raised veg­etable gar­den is screened from the east­erly wind by a slat­ted tim­ber fence in a util­ity area off the kitchen. Al­though this gar­den is quite small, it’s still handy. “We man­age to grow a few ba­sics like let­tuce, toma­toes, car­rots, rhubarb and herbs,” says Paulette. “It is right out­side our kitchen door so it’s great to be able to just step out­side to get what we need.”

“The de­sign lines of the deck, planters and paving are aligned with the house to dis­guise the ir­reg­u­lar sec­tion”

PLANTS

Two years on, the own­ers and de­signer are de­lighted with the rapid growth of the gar­den. “It was cer­tainly worth­while choos­ing larger spec­i­men trees to be­gin with,” says Paulette. “I par­tic­u­larly love the raised gar­den near our liv­ing area which, in the sum­mer, is filled with blue and ‘Lime­light’ hy­drangeas which re­flect the colour scheme of our in­side decor. The three trees (Miche­lia ‘Lemon Fra­grant’) in that bed have a de­light­ful fra­grance in the spring which we can smell in­side the house when the doors are open onto the deck. How­ever, we en­joy all the other ar­eas as well; they have a great va­ri­ety of plants in­clud­ing stan­dard camel­lias, jas­mine, laven­ders and buxus hedg­ing, to name a few.” •

“We wanted a de­sign that re­flected the French-villa style of the house, easy-care with out­door liv­ing op­tions”

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A for­mal path lined with buxus hedg­ing, roses and heuchera leads to the large north-fac­ing deck where Paulette and Wal­ter spend much of their time in sum­mer. Three Miche­lia ‘Lemon Fra­grant’ add their per­fume in spring.

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