When I first visited this 100 year-old cottage, the back garden was dominated by a massive pohutukawa tree which grew right against the corner of the house:
Apart from posing a risk to the house, the tree also took up the sunniest corner of the pocket-handkerchief garden. The owners had already decided it had to go.
The new design puts a sunny, sheltered, terrace where the tree once stood. Three Corten panels with a pohutukawa design are now framed in the side fence, with a herb garden tucked in beneath:
The new terrace, path, and lawn are edged with beautiful old bricks salvaged from the cottage’s earthquake-prone chimney:
The owners were keen to grow edibles, so a new raised bed against the sunny side of the garage is now a flourishing vegetable garden, with a passionfruit vine already bearing fruit:
On the shadier side, a lush border planting of Chatham Island forget-me-nots, clivias, ligularia, and bromeliads is doing well. Along the back fence, we planted for the long term with the slow-growing Nikau palm.
The owners now say that they enjoy spending more time in the garden, both working and relaxing.