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Utilising a Subtropical Plant Palette – Design Case Study

Michael Mansvelt from Plantation first met Terry and Doreen Picard about five years ago when he designed a garden for Doreen’s brother and his wife, which Doreen had admired.

The Picards had employed local Architect David Herman to design a new house for them in a popular new subdivision.  They are retired farmers and had come from a large sprawling country garden, which Doreen particularly enjoyed.

“The garden I had designed for her brother had many flowering easy care plants, and it was established from the offset that we all didn’t want the two gardens to be the same in any way.  This was a real challenge as they were both contemporary homes in identical climates and Doreen loved all the plants in her brother’s garden” says Michael.

Once the colours and materials were selected for the house he then selected the materials for the hard landscaping,

Indian sandstone patios mimicked a soft sandstone plaster finish on the house, black stained cedar slatted fences continued a vernacular of black weather boards on the house. The garden was set out to exaggerate spaces and architectural features on the house.

Michael decided as Doreen’s brother has a very deciduous garden with camellias, daphne, and other traditional Taranaki plantings, he would favour a more subtropical plant palette.

“This is the wonderful thing about gardening in a temperate spot like Taranaki – we can create many different looks and feels with our planting because we don’t have heavy frosts to destroy subtropicals or tender natives, but deciduous, cold climate  plantings also thrive here.”

The main challenge for Michael with the site was the strong salt laden westerly winds so plant selection was predominantly hardy, however the unique F-shape of the house created some great sheltered pockets to grow more tender subtopicals such as Raphis Plams and selected bromiliads.

Mass plantings of Gardenia and Trachelospernum feature for fragrance, as black mondo creates a groundcover beneath an establishing grid of NZ Nikau again providing a strong reference point to the black featured on the house.

“Terry and Doreen and have been keen to see the project through to every detail, and we have been fortunate to have involvement with the selection of furniture, sculpture and potted plants” says Michael.

For more information please visit Plantation, Gardens by Michael Mansvelt.

 

2 comments on “Utilising a Subtropical Plant Palette – Design Case Study

  1. very bold and strong design, the stepping stones are iconic…

  2. Very bold and strong design, like the clean lines…good!

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