The project, masterminded by Mike, became his focus for the next two years.
He searched for and sourced an array of rare exotic flora, sometimes using the ‘knock on door approach’, going boldly where no man had gone before, procuring large palms such as Kentia, Nikau varieties, Chamaeodorea species (Bamboo can palms) Hedyscape canterburyana, Euterpe edulis, Caryota (Fish tail palms), Brahea armata (Blue Hesper palm) and Bangalow palms. The result became a mix of large established palms (some up to six metres) that were placed with a hiab. The framework was now in place.
A project of this magnitude is difficult physically; lifting large palms into their position using both machinery and hand digging. Mike and the contractor Matt Edwards painstakingly worked for months, transplanting until they were satisfied. Landscape Designer Ltd were then brought in to address the understory planting.
Softscape designer Mark Buchanan was responsible for the understorey arrangement working alongside Mike. This took much careful time and thought. Some larger grade plants were used to keep with the proportions of the mature looking canopy. Mike, Mark and the team relocated plants, tweaked, re-arranged and sourced just the right specimens and grades of Bromeliads, Vireya rhododendrons and plants with lush foliage.
Designer Hannah Naveen was asked to create a better flow from the street entrance around to the existing lawn. The before photos show just how unattractive the side entrance was and how imperative it was to change the dangerous and awkward steps. Everything about this entrance was not square, needing clever timber work to disguise this.
Locating a slatted screen at the entrance created a barrier, providing a feeling of safety. Hannah also improved the access of the deck from the house to the lawn with a better step sequence.
The spa pool and Louvretec system are a prominent feature in the entertaining area. The spa is tucked between two levels of deck and garden.
The glass balustrade not only serves its purpose for child safety; it also adds a touch of class. Behind the backdrop of this spa are lines of fairy type lighting, which looks amazing at night and create a lovely destination.
Clever positioning of small circular LEDs set into the kwila deck steps give the upper level ambience and act as a safety guide up and down the steps. Within this hub is a built-in seat and Genevieve has added a squab and cushions to connect with the area around the corner.
The front entrance was dated. A complete makeover of pavers laid out in an inviting swoop was a much better feel than the old slate paved path.
Elongated 600 x 400 pavers arch their dominance through the lawn of this stunning Herne Bay villa. Everything about the entrance is inviting.
The conventional planting of formal clipped hedges is forgone and a mix of subtropical planting including beautiful scented Frangipani reign supreme.
Strelitiza reginae ‘Bird of Paradise’ frame the upper entrance, while slashes of red coloured miniature Bromeliads ‘Rio Red’ give the otherwise green palette some permanent highlights.
Time has ticked by and the results of a couple of years growth now means gaps have closed in. Mike and Gen’s garden looks like something that’s been picked up and transported from a tropical island.
This article by Designer Jules Moore featured on page 72 of Issue 015 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine . New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.
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