A Challenging Waikato Design Project – Nicky Samuel

Based in the Waikato I regularly carry out design projects in challenging places beyond the main Waikato basin. In 2011, I met with a young couple in the Taumarunui region, who had built a new residence on their farm and requested that I provide them with a Landscape Plan.  They wanted a “blueprint” to develop their site.

Being a landscape designer means it’s up to me to determine how to blend the crucial elements of a successful design with the demands of a site. In this case the pluses were stunning views across the landscape of steep farmland, a flat site surrounding the residence and desire of the clients to create a garden that they could work in and develop over time. The minuses were the underlying pumice soil, an exposed site (this often happens with new homes built in the country) and the harsh climate with snow at times during the winter.

Gorgeous Gardens & Design


Nicky Samuel, Gorgeous Garden based in Waikato

Planting Plan

Considerable time was spent building a plant list appropriate for the soil and climate, whilst still fitting the “Naturalistic country garden theme’ as well as the clients preferences (provided they could cope with the site).

Special Requests

They were planning on starting a family and also growing their own vegetables which meant that provisions were required in the plan for a sandpit, planter boxes for vegetables, as well as a large lawn and gardens. These all needed to be strategically placed to avoid interrupting the borrowed views of the landscape.

Design response

I chose to provide them with some distinct areas within the garden, so that as it grew, spaces within the garden could be appreciated, such as an enclosed garden that would be sheltered from the wind, and provide space for entertaining, as well as the play area (with the essential sandpit), located within view of the kitchen.

Raised vegetable planters were located close to the clothes line providing easy access for regular harvesting of vegetables. My clients were delighted with the plan and set about marking out and preparing the garden beds ready for planting. This involved adding sheep manure (from the woolshed) and organic matter to the areas in readiness for planting

Ongoing services and involvement with the client

As part of my service to clients, I am able to source plants and deliver them to the site also assisting with placing and planting if required. Over the previous three years, it’s been wonderful to be able to supply plants as required for my Taumarunui clients as time and budget has allowed. I would receive a plant list via email, obtain quotes and when I’d collected plants form the nurseries I’d meet them halfway and hand over the plants.

Earlier this year I revisited the site and was amazed at the changes since I’d last seen the site with my clients clearly enjoying creating their own special garden.

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