Privacy dovetails natural beauty

This design utilises outdoor spaces for degrees of separation while formal plantings close to the home give way to more natural forms further away

Designed by Olivia Bird Design (OBD)

From the landscape designer:

I became involved in the design process of the landscape at the initial stages of the project, shortly after the architectural plans for the house were drafted. 

This allowed for a collaborative approach where the landscape design and the house design could complement each other effectively.

The house is situated on a large site with pocket views of mountains and surrounded by mature Kanuka and Manuka trees. 

Privacy was an important consideration as well as maintaining views. 

The house was designed to sit modestly within the landscape with a natural materials palette of wood, concrete, and glass elements. 

Retaining as many of the existing native trees as possible was a key driver to the success of the house. 

The existing Kanukas provided dense screening as well as complementing the house form. 

The introducing soft textures of native grasses were also used to complement the house form.

The main features of the original site where the existing trees. 

The site included many mature trees, native and exotic. 

Large conifer trees that shaded the northern aspect of the section were removed. 

Pros included the mature native trees that provided great screening and complemented the house form while the cons included neighbouring properties and the need to address privacy.

To overcome the challenges presented by the site, we employed several strategies. 

We utilised retaining walls and terracing to level out uneven terrain, ensuring that different parts of the landscape remained accessible and functional. 

Screening and strategically placed vegetation were used to address privacy concerns while maintaining visual appeal.

The owners did have specific requests for the landscaping – they wanted a balance between functional outdoor living spaces and natural beauty.  

Creating outdoor rooms that extended off the house reflected this and as we moved further from the house the landscape and planting began to blend into a more natural form. 

Around the house we used more structural planting, hedging and mass planting.

As the front door was located quite a distance from the entrance gates, we used simple forms of large insitu concrete pavers that matched the house form to lead you down to the entrance. 

Lighting at night enhanced these areas. 

The path was kept very minimalistic to give attention to the large schist stonewall that was part of the architecture.

The outdoor living has several split level areas that serve the master bedroom, main living courtyard and the lower terrace for guest rooms – each courtyard is an extension to the interior. 

The master bedroom courtyard is separate from the guest quarters to allow for privacy while the main courtyard is centrally located and accessed by both courtyards – this provides the main outdoor entertaining zone.

Planting has been carefully incorporated throughout the landscape. 

Native plants were predominately used but exotics – mainly white lavender and Himalayan Birch – were strategically placed to add colour and texture while creating privacy buffers.

Credit list

House architect/designer
Dravitzki Brown
Landscape contractor
Jones Land Management
Outdoor furniture
Eco outdoors
Landscape designer
Carpentry South
Hard landscaping
Sirius Ice Grip (600x600) tiles, from The Flooring Room
Easy Big Trees;  Jones Land Management

Designed by: Landscape design by Olivia Bird Design (OBD)

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Alister Brown

24 Sep, 2023

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