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Private invitation

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Classic lines and selective plantings in this pool and garden design complement the Victorian architecture and maintain seclusion


In a suburban neighbourhood, privacy is always an issue. A thoughtful landscape design will not only enhance the overall aesthetic, it will also shield the house from scrutiny.

This property has undergone a major house and landscape rejuvenation. Designer Scott Humphreys, of Humphreys Landscaping, undertook the hard and soft landscaping.

"The client wanted a sheltered, resort-style design for the outdoor spaces, with a classic, semi-formal air, in keeping with the architecture," says Humphreys. "The original garden was rambling and unfocused. Its main asset was some mature cherry trees, which we retained and incorporated into the new design."

With the grounds at the rear reinvented as an uninterrupted stretch of lawn – for future adaptation into a tennis court – most of the hard landscaping was done at the front of the home.

"The principal hard landscaping involved introducing a dug-in driveway, a large swimming pool and a formal approach to the front door," says Humphreys. "It was important that the design resolved the different levels of the pool, pathway and driveway to create a visually balanced aesthetic."


Key to this was the strategic placement of the stairs and planter boxes that disguise the level changes and add to the air of formality. The steps also enhance the indoor-outdoor flow, a request of the owner.

"The soft landscaping choices were also integral to meeting the client's wishes," says Humphreys. "Introducing high, thick hedges on the street frontage and alongside the pool extends the classic ambience and also provides attractive privacy shields.

"Large jacaranda trees were planted at the entrance to the house, and also at the front gate," says Humphreys. "Over time, these trees will entwine overhead, creating a natural bower, which will add to the beauty of the approach and provide much-needed shade through the summer months.

"These purple-flowering trees lose their leaves over the winter, maximising the warmth of the weaker sun."

Overall, the landscaping enhances the lines of the house. The planter boxes flanking the smooth pavers, the nodding jacarandas and pool all combine to give the impression of a semi-traditional, high-end retreat.

First published date: 02 March 2010

Credit List

Architect Allan Taylor, Allan Taylor Architects (Auckland)
Landscape designer Scott Humphreys; Brett MacLennan, BLA (Hons), Humphreys Landscaping (Auckland)
Pool designer Brett MacLennan
Builder House by Hamish Crooks Builders; hard landscaping by Humphreys Landscaping
Outdoor furniture Dedon Furniture
Pool Streeter Pools
Gates and fencing Wooden Gates Waiuku
Plants Icon Trees
Garden maintenance Humphreys Landscaping