Resort style garden landscape

Landscape design
ARTICLE Jules Moore DESIGNER Jules Moore

Whangaparaoa Peninsula hosts some of the most amazing coastal views around – and Tindalls Bay is no exception.

In the past 10 years since John and Jenny Dunn have lived there, they have battled with the luring effect of their coastal outlook, only to be driven back inside once the wind picked up.

John says, “Our home, being on the waterfront, would often get so windy that it would drive us indoors. We loved the holiday feel and climate that Whangaparaoa has to offer, but after a while we felt that we needed another outdoor space we could use without wind. So we decided to turn the road entrance side of the property into a subtropical forest lagoon.”

Planning for this extension took place over the next 12 months. It became a culmination of John’s ideas, those of his architect, and Landcsape Designers Peter Nobbs, Designer Jules Moore and Mark Buchanan.

The landscape design is a real showstopper, with every detail carefully thought out – from the meandering blue stone slabs, through to the large palms and the finishing of the lagoon pool.

The front area was separated into two. The driveway was on one side and the garden on the other, so the pedestrian entrance and outdoor space felt completely separate from the vehicle access. Initially it was all one large space – a very large driveway with a lonely clothesline.

“The section from the road was banked and sloping. We never used the space. After 30 six-wheeler truckloads of earth and clay were removed we had the stage for the rock waterfall, pond, cabana, decking and ultimately the planting,” says John.

The waterfall and lagoon pool were formed next. Engineered retaining behind the 8-metre long waterfall was necessary. The two-metre high water feature backs onto this wall and is anchored into it.

The wall itself is made from a fibrelite cast that mimics real rock. From a distance this wall of rock looks like the real deal with about three points of water cascading over the top into the lagoon pool.

The garden above the top tier creates the first canapy, and around the lagoon pool the planting is layered.

The landscape of established palms look like they have been growing there for years but in fact they were bought large and were lifted into place with a large hiab.

Multi-clustered Dypsis baronii and multi-planted Kentia palms create the benchmark for the framework around the pool and a mix of specialty plants were placed and planted. These mid-to-low plants, such as Heliconia’s, Cordyline Fiji, Alpinia Pink Perfection and a range of Bromeliads were carefully positioned leaving you in no mind that feeling reminiscent to being in an overseas resort.

Pockets of colour coming from vibrant flowering Vireyas such as Tropic Glow and Red flowering Heliconias, with a gorgeous scent of Gardenias wafting throughout the garden, also added to the sensory sensation.

The colour of the lagoon pool is a vibrant aqua, enhancing the surrounding planting and also making the water very inviting to paddle in. It’s so easy to sit on the edge of John’s deck sipping a glass of wine and dipping your legs into the lagoon.

In fact, once again, John’s attention to detail with an overall better feel, meant that the depth of the lagoon pool was carefully considered too.

It was built 40cm deep so there is no need to have a fence. “That would have detracted greatly from the look we wanted,” John says.

“The pool is fully filtered so our grandkids spend hours playing in the water. This has proven to be a great-unexpected benefit. Even adults have been known to splash around in the tropical lagoon, and we really love the calming effect of the water.

There are glass balustrading features as you enter the property through the pedestrian gate, acting as a safety barrier between the water feature and the garden, without impeding the view. The other design element to this entrance, which catches your eye, is the undercut of the timber steps that slope back (cut away on an angle). During the evening, they glow having used LED strip lighting directly under them.

This also becomes a safety feature upon entering the property via the pedestrian entrance. Looking out from John’s lounge to the outside, one feels transported – it’s such a peaceful magical feeling.

The sound of the waterfall that stretches across the garden, and the layered expanse of the subtropical flora are amazingly calming. It’s a garden that you could stay in for hours – just soaking up the vibes.

Within the garden and deck layout stands an aluminium louvre structure, or ‘Cabana’ as John likes to refer it as. This is indeed an engineering feat providing height within the landscape to match the house proportion, and is a practical aid in all weathers.

This is the hub of entertaining or relaxing at its best. Controlled by a remote control, the roof can provide shade or complete shelter from the rain with a flick of a switch. It also has additional side shutter panels. These run on an all new ‘rail system’ that racks along the decking. The side louvre panels can slide and stack back up against the wall when not needed.

The Cabana and panels provide the necessary buffer from the wind tunneling through from the coast on the other side of their paradise, while the overhead louvres provide shade and shelter from the rain when shut.

All the while relaxing on large stylish day beds with an exquisite range of outdoor furniture.

There are so many features within this landscape that make it unique. The ground and polished block stacked wall is a good alternative to a fence along the boundary.

The lighting chosen was small box units that emit a “V” shaped ray of light from above and below so that at night a romantic ambience is created.

The light washes up and down the walls, a beautiful yet graceful effect. John and Jenny pride themselves on their garden and say: “Whenever we want to go to Fiji we just take six steps out our front door. We actually prefer this space to the sea views from the front of our home these days and are delighted with the result.”

It has certainly added greatly to the pleasure in their home. Visitors also love their space and are drawn to sit within the Cabana and let the tranquility of the water and tropical planting work their magic.

And at night the magic starts all over again with a new set of cast members. The night show with the lighting effects takes on a whole new dimension and yet again another performance.

This article by Designer Jules Moore featured on page 68 of Issue 014 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine . New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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