Top Shows

Mucking In

Sundays at 7pm | TV ONE

Episode 5 - Garden Design Notes

Episode 5 - Jacinta Krefft


It's not often I get presented with a garden that has been mostly covered with coloured pressed concrete; in fact it has never happened before. 

This style of gardening - or non gardening - probably suited Jacinta down to the ground with her busy lifestyle. After speaking with her it became apparent that she did want to have more plants and an opportunity to spend some down time gardening. 

Jacinta's house, whilst very public to the street frontage, resembled other houses in the street. What I have done is to soften the house and create some new vistas from the rooms within. 

Pohutakawa Maori Princess was the perfect choice to be used as standard trees to provide a focal point, an attractant to birds by way of flowers and a hardy tree for an incredibly exposed site. 

I decided to lift all of the existing concrete out front of the property and redefine garden paths linking front to rear while softening the edges with sympathetic planting offering more colour, lots of fragrance and a softening to the square lines of the house. 

The size of the section, while being relatively small, gave the opportunity to create a rest point under a newly constructed pergola at the front of the house. I wanted to take advantage of the afternoon setting sun and utilize all aspects of her site. 

The area down the side of the house had been unused apart from the odd lettuce struggling in the wind. I felt that this area, where the bedrooms looked onto, could be made more interesting with some feature tree planting using Evergreen Magnolias with a carpet of fragrant White Star Jasmine. 

Instead of a straight path linking the front to the back a serpeant gravel path made way for more planting, a foldaway utility clothesline and, more importantly, a fabulous outlook from two prominent rooms. 

The rear garden needed to be totally reinvented and while the existing concrete offered a decent courtyard, it too felt uninviting and denuded of foliage, apart from the trees in the neighbour's garden peering over the fence.

By simply cutting away the concrete around the perimeter of the courtyard I was then able to introduce top quality garden mix and an interesting mixture of tropical style plantings peppered with native plants to continue the planting scheme from the front. 

Jacinta's family life is totally inclusive of friends and the wider community.  The new courtyard design not only incorporated alfresco dining but a checkerboard on which to play chess with oversized pieces in the shade of a purpose installed canter-levered umbrella.

To further cool the space over the hot Summer months a simple water feature in the corner of the garden visually helped to bring the temperature down. The overall theme for this garden was to provide Jacinta and her family with a more welcoming entrance to their home and an opportunity to smell the roses on the way.  

A walkway lined with interesting texture and extra sensory experiences all leading to a playground that would always be easy to manage and in time would develop into a cocoon of shelter and warmth from the typical Wellington environment.