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Nelson, 2014

The owners of this gracious old cottage, on the Nelson Hills overlooking Tasman Bay, wanted to make their garden `dog friendly’, and to reflect the age of the cottage. They loved woodland gardens, with lots of old fashioned trees, shrubs and perennials overflowing the gardens. A major consideration was to give their large breed dogs, plenty of space, but to also prevent the garden being damaged by the dogs. The brief also emphasized the need to remove any possibility of mud being walked into the house by the dogs.

The first four accompanying photos show the newly constructed garden, the paving and fencing we constructed to solve the problems that existed. The last four photos show the original garden that we `dismantled’

Our solution was to remove all the existing raised gardens (that were not being used), and to fence off the woodland gardens with a rustic fence that utilised old totara fence battens. The gardens needed to be accessed for planting and ongoing maintenance, and we also constructed gates using the old battens. The surface was covered with grey and honey coloured pebbles, and slabs of Waitaha schist set in as a `path’.

The dogs now have a large paved area to walk around and rest in, without bringing mud into the house afterwards. The gardens are protected and are beginning to flourish. The fence looks as though it has been part of the property for at least 100 years. The whole garden will only improve with time, as plants begin to overhang the fence, fill up the garden areas, and some leaves start to grow between the battens.

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