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A view to the lake

Large water feature, Lake Dunstan, meets domestic ball water feature – part of a diverse outdoor living project that adds a pool and private courtyard

Landscape design and installation by Southern Landmarx

From Southern Landmarx:

 Design inspiration

The design was inspired by a family element. It needed to incorporate not only the needs of the owners themselves but the needs of their extended family, too, including grandchildren. Their brief included provision for an expansive lawn for the grandchildren to play on and a pool area for the heat of summer.

The other main element of inspiration was the Central Otago extreme climatic environment and expansive views from the property over looking Lake Dunstan up to the Dunstan Mountains.

These factors inspired both design elements and material selection including a seating area located on the front lawn overlooking the lake.

Seating area inspiration – part of the owner brief was to provide a unique, peaceful seating area with creative appeal, away from the main home, where the family could relax while soaking up the views.

The seating area was created in the centre of the expansive sloping lawn.

The shape and style of the large seating area was inspired by the idea of a sand bunker created by naturally funnelled wind flows taking on a soft curved effect which nature provided for us.


Due to the high winds, the homeowners requested a sheltered, private courtyard with covered seating area for respite from the hot Central Otago summers and an outdoor spa pool area within the courtyard.

Again, with a large family and regular visitors, the owner required an extensive driveway pad to allow for ample parking and easy manoeuvring of vehicles inside the entrance which is narrow.

The homeowners also wanted a space for a water feature at the front door that would run constantly.

Context relationship

The property was built out on either side with established gardens. The property’s eastern boundary borders the Lake Dunstan reserve which is predominantly open grass with willows along the lake shore.

And the owners’ brief was to maintain the open nature to the lake and its surroundings. On the southern side is a covenanted public walkway and the owners gained permission to

build the house right up to the boundary. The service area opened up to this boundary so we had to design a screening that matched the architectural style of the house.

Site analysis

The site is located on the northern end of the Cromwell township.

Although it has fantastic views of Lake Dunstan, like most properties with lake or ocean views the property can get battered by strong winds.

Due to these strong prevailing winds the site soil was predominantly wind deposited sand.

The site itself around the house had a flat contour which then gently rolled down to the north eastern boundary – this created a nice vista over Lake Dunstan from the elevated building platform.

Material Selection

Fencing – with the house having an industrial, structured style, the materials need to complement this; hence the selection of the black steel fence and louvres.

An Elitewall Louvre fence was selected to surround the courtyard and back service area of the house, again to be in keeping with the a style of the house while the louvres brought a softening effect to the solid fence.

Glass fencing – the glass pool fencing was selected to maintain visual flows within the courtyard and clear views of the swimming pool for both visual effect and safety.

The doors to the house leading out to the pool area are locked and alarmed meaning the south side of the pool did not need to be fenced.

Lawn seating area – the schist stone used for the wall was selected to be in keeping with local stone and its colour, and also to match the schist used within the home.

The timber was selected for its pliability as it was then bent on site to create the curved seat.

Front lawn – the large lawn area rolling down to the lake is natural turf.

This is mowed by a robotic lawn mower and watered using an automated irrigation system, overall making for minimal lawn care maintenance requirements.

Courtyard turf – artificial turf in the courtyard was selected as this negated the need to mow near the glass pool fencing; is very easy care; and is versatile enough for their grandchildren to play on year round; and at the same time durable enough to withstand high foot traffic.

Schist mulch – a brown schist chip was selected as mulch to be in keeping with the surrounding natural colours of the area; to keep the birds from flicking it off, as they do with bark mulch; and to retain moisture in the soil to assist with plant growth.

Irrigation – all garden bed areas are irrigated using 13mm drip line which was selected over sprayer due to its water efficiency, ie: less water lost due to evaporation, wind drift. Plus a drip line soaks straight to the root ball therefore allowing for better plant health and growth.

Bollards – to keep those using the adjacent public walkway access to the lake within the walkway boundary, we introduced macrocarpa bollards with adjoining chains.

Planting design:

As the house cladding was very dark in colouring, the overall selection of evergreen shrubs and low lying planting provided a nice contrast.

There was only limited room for a garden within the courtyard due to the number of elements required within the relevantly small available space so the garden was deliberately kept narrow. Ligustrum hedging was selected for against the house, while on the house side of the pool, standardised bay trees were installed with low underplanting of daphnes and liriopes to give a multi layered look with varying colour.

Behind the courtyard, the outdoor seating area is a shady area therefore shade loving plants that are pleasing to the eye were selected and are visible through the glass running along the inside hallway.

The front of the section rolls down to the lake.  Here, viburnums were selected to define the northern boundary while still satisfying the owners’ brief of uninhibited views. Viburnums are also wind tolerant and provide evergreen foliage – other requirements for this area.

Smaller decorative trees were also dotted around to create an upper end feel of feature trees for colour, textures and shape. Again, these trees provide for a nice contrast again the dark cladding of the house.

The driveway entrance is relatively formal along the western boundary with hedging along the fence line. A Prunus hedge was used along the back of the house to separate the section from the public walkway.

Sustainable strategies

Due to the dry nature of the site and poor sandy underlying soil, irrigation was a necessity for the lawns and gardens. The gardens were mulched to reduce water evaporation and help with soil moisture retention.

Credit list

Landscape design and installation
Decking
Ecodecking, by Outdure; installed by Roger Gilchrist Building Services
Pool design
Southern Spas & Pools
Spa pool
Hotspring Portable Spa’s, from Southern Spas & Pools
Operable louvres
Insol
Patio fireplace
Warmington Outdoor Open Gas Fire, from McIvor Plumbers & Gasfitters
Barbecue station
Buffalo Grills 8 Burner Longhorn Deluxe, from Trade Tested NZ
House design
Eliska Lewis Architects
Planting
Burn Cottage Nursery
Pool
X Trainer Compass Pool, by Compass Pools Australia
Pool construction
Southern Spas & Pools alongside Southern Landmarx
Patio furniture
Mitre 10
Paving
Artica Endura Grigio Tiles, from The Tile Centre
Shade sails
Shade Plus

Story by: Trendsideas

01 Aug, 2021

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