A series of levels, seemingly problematic, have become an amazing platform for a three-tiered landscape that now graces the property of Mount Eden. The slope that once was a force of nature is now developed and has given clients Geoff and Rose lots of different options to entertain their friends on all levels.
WORDS Jules Moore DESIGNER Jules Moore PHOTOGRAPHY Michelle Hyslop
The slope that once was a force of nature is now developed and has given clients Geoff and Rose lots of different options to entertain their friends on all levels. A series of levels, seemingly problematic, have become an amazing platform for a three-tiered landscape that now graces the property of Mount Eden. Three in fact – from their entrance, to their alfresco backyard, to the outdoor pool area – each level adds something quite unique to the property.
Developing a personalised landscape design
As you wander down the steps from the front to the back, the journey unwinds and reveals their house just nesting into this landscape beautifully.
When Geoff and Rose started to consider the planting of their newly levelled property, they contacted Designer Jules Moore to improve on what they had. Their Masonry home demanded a high calibre of plants.
They needed something to make a statement, particularly in the front of their property, which resulted in Cycads and giant Bromeliads boldly planted in between several graceful Kentias. This set the scene at the entrance, then Griselina hedge screening the road took care of the privacy issue. Looking into the property from the road, one would never guess what lays in store past the side gate…
The second tier is that of a courtyard that is surrounded by stonewalls crafted with a volcanic rock. These feature throughout from the middle to the bottom of the section, and are also responsible for retaining the original cut and fill.
The rumbled stonewalls lock into place like a giant jigsaw levelling out the courtyard, but dropping down about two metres to the other side of the level drop. Here, plantings of unusual ‘Russelia’ untidily spill over them, flowering throughout the seasons.
These have masses of tiny coral-red flowers that dominate their asparagus type foliage, thriving in this environment due to the warmth of the rocks. The presence of this plant gives a ‘Bali type’ feel along with surrounding sub-tropicals.
Finally, at the bottom of this garden, the swimming pool and stonewalled changing rooms becomes the centre of attraction for their summer sanctuary.
A subtropical outdoor swimming pool
Tastefully tiled in midnight blue and appropriate pool coping, the pool is framed either side with sub-tropical planting.
However, the grass around the pool over time became an issue; likewise with the grass at the entrance. After a while the lawn became patchy, inconsistent in its growth and the weeds became the feature as opposed to the grass. It was then that Designer Jules and her team were called on again to solve this problem.
Careful consideration had them choose artificial lawn. This is a trend that has been used more and more is due to the fact that it looks so realistic to real grass, even down to the brown leaf that runs through the thatch. It also looks good all year round and more importantly you don’t need to mow it.
In time the initial cost of laying it covers the cost of having it mowed; and because of the levels within this property, it was always problematic to manhandle a mower up so many steps.
Of course it required initial preparation, and that lovely steep incline became a series of timber ramps in order to remove the soil level down 200mm and then put back the appropriate sand and metal (gap 20 and gap 7) back down. In fact several skip bins were required just to remove the unwanted soil.
This was then firmed up using a compactor and finally the artificial grass was laid, never to grow unruly again. The same applied to the area adjacent to the turnaround at the front of the property.
The final result
Asking Rose about how they both found the new lawn after nearly two years of use, she replied, “We just love it! All it takes from time to time is the removal of the blown leaves and this can be done with a lawn blower”.
It is now several years since the landscape was completed, from a steep slope to this tailored tier landscape and it continues to keep looking better. It is regularly maintained too, which makes a huge difference.
And more importantly, Geoff and Rose continue to be excited about their garden. I guess you could say that everyone is happy with the end results on all levels.
You might be interested in reading: Japanese style garden.
This case study featured on page 70 of Issue 016 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.