A landscape designer has found her peace in the gentle green space between bush and sea.
Claire’s landscaping business, Sculpt Gardens, is based in Takapuna and has grown from a single neighbourhood flyer drop to a thriving business with 15 employees. “When I had my children, my garden became my sanctuary and safe space. It kept me grounded and helped my mental health. I had come from a career in management psychology, which taught me that when you’re relaxed and engaged, creativity flows, so you need to find a career that allows you to get lost in that happy space. Gardening became that for me, so I studied landscape design, then dropped flyers along my street.”
Claire’s business ethos includes providing opportunities for women looking to balance work with family. “There were few options for mothers that were well-paid and flexible. I found like-minded women at Playcentre and through social media, and it grew from there.”
Claire's garden design tips
- When building a house, landscaping is generally left until last. As a consequence, there's often little money in the budget. Starting early is much more seamless and can save money in the long run. Think of it like this – if gardens are a cupcake, the plants are sprinkles. The actual substance lies beneath; your layout should seamlessly accommodate the washing line, rubbish bins or boat parking by creating distinct areas for different activities.
- Select plants that have great cover – it will help fill your space, stop weeds sneaking through and keep the budget in check. Grevillea is an excellent choice as it has a large spread of up to four to five metres.
- Consider the potential size of your plants and remember they will grow. Also, don’t plant just one or two. Limit your palette and purchase multiple (think 10 to 100) of the same plant to create a garden that allows your eye to relax.
Consider how you use your garden – do you need room for children to run, or should that space be used for decking?If building a new home, and planting a new garden give young plants a height boost, by planting them in small raised mounds of earth – this will make your garden look more established. Garden banks can also help with drainage.You should design your garden based on your goals – is this your forever home or will you be selling within a few years? Plant accordingly; dream homes require planning, while short-term properties need to look good quickly.