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Nelson hills, 2014

The owners of this established property had lived for many years in a lovely setting, and were faced with a difficult project to improve the garden areas, so that they could continue to live in their home.

It was a challenging project in that an old stone retaining wall, (almost 1.8 metres high), ran the length of the back of the house, and was only 2 metres from the house. This needed replacing, with the idea to move the new retaining wall back to the rear boundary, and create a large paved area, covered by a verandah, behind the house.

The new wall required a Geo-tech report, then plans were drawn by an Engineer, and a Building Consent issued by the Nelson City Council. All work required signing off at specific stages by the Engineer and NCC.

Extensive earthworks were necessary to excavate the area for the patio and verandah, prepare for the new retaining wall, and create the levels for adjacent large garden areas.

The existing garden was on many different levels, and had a number of pathways. It was difficult to manage and walk around, and needed to be simplified.

The owners wanted predominantly a productive garden, with room for flowers, that was easy to work, and with good access ways.

A storage shed and a woodshed were also essential items. The existing stairs needed to be widened, and efficient night lighting installed to all paths, stairs, as well as to the sheds.

We used several different materials for paving – a good quality Firth paver for the patio area, Waitaha slabs set in Best Island `river rounds’ for the garden paths, and dolomite chip set in concrete for the sloping `bush’ path. The new concrete stairs were given a plaster finish, and we also installed a handrail.

The woodshed was constructed from a solid `deck’, with horizontal trellis panels as walls, to allow good air flow around the stored firewood.

The retaining walls, and raised garden beds were painted a matt black, to recede from the eye, and to give a sense of `age’.

A mix of perennials, shrubs, grasses soft fruits and vegetables filled the gardens.

An area for a picnic table, amongst the garden beds provides a restful place to contemplate the next planting programme.

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