Makeover Magic – A Batch Feel – Landscape Architect Rory Langbridge

Directions to this remote site in the Marlborough Sounds and a simple brief received over the internet were but the few tools Rory Langbridge was given to redesign his clients’ bach garden. Add some talent, a zest of imagination, all spiced up with practical skills and the landscape architect from Rory Langbridge Landscape Architects has found his ‘soul food’ as he calls it

“What made the project special was that I was allowed to visit and engage with the isolated site on my own and then develop and work a response into a concept for presentation to the clients without excessive direction: an unusual scenario,” he says. “They were very open to ideas and did not lead me down any path in particular.”
The complex included the main cottage: a small appealing corrugated iron bach with a separate sleep-out and garage located nearby. A deck around the house caught the sea breeze in the afternoon. To remedy that, Rory created an outdoor evening sitting area away from the beach to capitalise on the existing creek running down immediately behind the house. Here he added a sunken courtyard dell.
“Being sunken meant that one could use low level plants to create some wind protection which would not shade out the area,” he adds. “The space is large enough to seat eight around a table and a sun umbrella.”
For the mornings and those balmy quiet days when the wind stayed away, Rory developed a sitting area under the canopy of a large black walnut tree located next to the beach.
The central area between the main bach and the other sleeping quarters was being used to park the car and was dominated by a large toi toi. To link the structures “a pergola was proposed over the intersecting paths connecting the buildings. This also created further wind protection while accommodating and framing sea views from the dell.”
An outdoor bath was relocated off the deck to make it less obtrusive to the general view, while retaining its connection. “To retain the natural and informal coastal
A bach look and ‘bach feel’, stone was utilised in a ‘dry stack’ look and crushed shell was used for the paths and courtyard surfaces,” he says. “The local bush being nurtured around the house provides much of the planting inspiration, the anticipation being that the bach will meld with the surrounding vegetation over time.”
To the clients, Rory’s ideas were inspiring and took the essence of what they wanted. “It was also great to find someone who was just as enthusiastic about the project as we were,” they say. “The result has transformed the bach, making the spaces much more interesting and useable.” And they were able to use it in an even more special way when they had  their wedding there just six months later.
This lovely cottage is available to rent through
Rory Langbridge is a Lincoln trained Registered Landscape Architect from Rory Langbridge Landscape Architects in Nelson and has worked in Christchurch, Queenstown and South Africa. Projects vary from the redevelopment of the Nelson Hospital and local campuses to small backyards and Coastal batches.

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