Investing in land or a bach is an amazing milestone achieved. Planning, designing & maintaining a garden in a place not regularly inhabited has its challenges.
Sculpt Gardens have designed low maintenance gardens for holiday homes in the sandy soils of Omaha, Mangawhai, Waipu, Matakana, Ruakaka and beyond. We understand how to design a landscape for easy holiday living - outdoor BBQ areas, generous lawns for cricket & pitching extra tents, fish filleting sinks and an outdoor shower to wash off the sand & salt. Don't forget an ample washing line for all the towels.
Landscaping your home away from home should be an exciting experience, so to make it easy for you, we've decided to cover it all.
As this is your holiday home, you may not be visiting as often as you may like. Your garden may go through long periods of little or no maintenance. To reduce time spent weeding, we recommend planting dense groundcover plants that act as a mat, preventing weeds from popping up.
Some of our favourites include Muhlenbeckia axillaris, Chalksticks, Pig Face, Grevillia, Coprosma Poor Knights, Coprosma taiko and Spanish shawl.
Depending on your location, the soil north of Auckland can either be sandy or dense clay. This requires plants to be hardy to withstand periods of drought. Plants need to be able to cope with both very wet and dry conditions. Lomandra, Gaura and Oi Oi are great options.
We recommend planting in a slight mound if plants are in a particularly wet spot or do not like having 'wet feet.
Once everything is planted, we recommend adding ample mulch to your beds. This will help to keep weeds down, whilst also retaining moisture over the dry months.
Gardens pictured from left to right:
Designed by Tom Robertson Architects, designed by Dangar Group, designed by Stark Design, designed by Sculpt Gardens, image from Deavita
Making A Great Entertaining Area:
Functionality, style and comfort are all things that make a great entertaining area for your bach. When designing your outdoor space, consider what will you primarily be using the space for. Will this be somewhere for the family to gather for a barbeque? Or does it need to be more suited for lounging on a sunny afternoon under shade? Your outdoor space should include all the features that are meaningful for you.
Once you know what features you want to include, you can start planning how to divide these into separate sections for cooking, dining, and lounging. Ideally, you want these spaces to flow so try to leave an open space in the middle. If you are working with a smaller area, you can create a cosy space by incorporating smaller seating areas.
Utilising plants in your entertaining area will help to establish a peaceful, beautiful and natural outdoor area. Greenery softens the hardscaping, helping to create a space for you to relax. You can cover entire walls, poles, beams, pergolas, retainers and more with climbers. These are an excellent way of giving your area a more natural feel. There are many to choose from, some of our favourites include New Zealand natives; Muhlenbeckia complexa, Tecamanthe speciosa, and exotics such as Star Jasmine, Bougainvillea, Mandevilla, and Wisteria. Whilst potted plants are an easy way to add colour and foliage to your area, they do require watering and therefore may not be the best option for you. If you are wanting to use pots, consider using drought-tolerant plants, such as succulents.
Left: Designed by Adam Robinson
Top & Right: Pinterest
Space For The Toys:
If you'll need somewhere to park the boat, jetski, trailer, campervan, or tractor or you know you always have lots of people coming to stay, ensure there is ample space for parking.
If your bach has a driveway but it is not sufficient for additional parking, you may need a driveway extension or set aside a space for easy access.
Concrete is perfect for high frequency areas & easy to walk on in bare feet. An area of Jacmat with an aggregate pebble is a more affordable option for a clean parking area.
The North of Auckland is predominantly exposed to south-westerly gusts. If your location is prone to wind, establish protection through shelter belt planting. You can create a more relaxing and enjoyable outdoor area if you do not have to contend with windy conditions.
Creating a wind barrier requires planning for a mixed shelter belt. Plant the hardiest species on the exposed side, the tallest growing species in the middle and the lower growing species near the front. Use a combination of fast growing plants such as manuka, kanuka, Pittosporum sp. (black mapou "tenuifolium" and lemon wood "eugenioides") Ake Ake, flax, Olearia, Protea, Muhlenbeckia, and Feijoa tree.
If you are building a new home, understand where the wind predominantly blows from and feel confident that the house is angled in a direction that gives your outdoor area shelter from the elements. If you have some additional soil, left from when the site is scraped, use this to create bunds (a raised mound) around the property, especially to the side of the prevailing wind. This mound can be planted on, giving you fast privacy & shelter.
If you are wanting to grow herbs and vegetables at your bach, we recommend purchasing Vegepods. If you are not visiting your bach regularly, your vegetables will likely suffer from neglect. Vegetables require watering, nurturing and may need treatment for pests and diseases. We recommend Vegepods as they are easy to manage, self-watering - linked to a timer, and have a knitted cover for protection.
Vegetables such as lettuce, chilli, basil, and parsley are simple to grow.
Ensure you choose the location of your vegetable patch carefully. Select a sunny (at least 6 hours a day full sun), sheltered spot, ideally close to your kitchen for easy access.
Plant herbs such as thyme & rosemary out into the garden, close to the BBQ so you can always have fresh herbs to hand when cooking.
Other Important Features To Consider:
These are ideal if you are located near the beach. If you have kids and pets, outdoor showers can prevent a lot of mess that would otherwise trail into the interior of your home. Invest in a concrete pad or wooden shower mat under the shower to keep everything clean!
Whilst practical, water tanks are not an attractive feature in your garden. However, there are various ways to hide or disguise your water tank.
Your options include screening, fencing, and planting. Planting around a water tank can become an issue when the wrong plants are used and are planted too densely around the tank. Plant 1.5 - 2m away from the tank and choose trees or shrubs that grow to approx 2m - Pseudopanax Cyril Watson is ideal.
Try to use the southern side of the house for placing all those less attractive items - sheds, bins, fish filleting sinks, firewood storage, boat & additional parking and a functional outdoor shower. Ideally, this space has easy access to your kitchen and a water supply.
Washing line placement can be difficult, as it is not the most attractive desired garden feature & you definitely don't want to see the line from your outdoor entertaining area. A sunny morning spot is ideal. Fortunately, there are many options for washing lines these days - our favourite is the Swift Dry. Retractable lines are great for gardens with limited space. If you are wanting to disguise your washing line, hang it behind a fencing panel or hedge. If you are unable to find a washing line that suits your aesthetic, custom washing lines are available and also can be done yourself, depending on the complexity of the design. An attractive, natural-appearing option is railway sleepers and stainless steel wiring.
Left: Stone Lotus Landscapes
Top: Centstational Style
Right: The Design Files