A landscape designer’s own garden design is a tropical paradise

This landscape designer struck gold with this empty Bayview garden, transforming the bare section into a lush, eye-catching oasis 

Finding a garden that is a completely blank canvas is like striking gold for most landscape designers. Sandra Batley of Flourish Garden Design was smitten when she and partner John Eagleton discovered a 1970s clinker-brick two-bedroom unit in Bayview on Auckland’s North Shore. “It was a total do-up with a ton of potential and we had all the skills and tools to renovate it both inside and out,” Sandra says. “Nothing had been done to the outside at all.”

On the plus side, the site was a good size (410 square metres) for a unit, located in a leafy suburb and had a sunny north- and west-facing aspect. “Bayview is situated in a valley leading down to the water so it is quite sheltered.”

The landscape project

Every landscape project should have a precise brief and Sandra was very clear what this should be for her own garden. “Maximise the space, create privacy and good indoor-outdoor flow (which was previously non-existent) and utilise every square inch.”

The couple started by addressing the drainage issues on the site then worked on creating a series of levels for outdoor living. “The section slopes from back to front,” Sandra says. “So first we brought in 30 square metres of clay and topsoil to build up and create a generous, level lawn area at the front. A fence was built on top of the retaining walls to make the property more secure.”

Next on the agenda was the construction of a large deck, which they connected to the living room with a new ranch slider. With the deck sitting 70cm above the lawn area, John was able to sink the spa below the deck, with just its top protruding above it, so users can now walk out of the house and step straight down into the spa. Large platform timber steps float down alongside the spa to a smaller deck and then down to the lawn.

The house is so small we would be lost without our garden and outdoor living area

– it’s added so much value

Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Sally Tagg.

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