The client had an unused area under their main deck which they wanted to turn into an attractive outdoor living space. Built on the remains of an old quarry, the space included a rock outcrop which was to be incorporated into the design.
We were asked to include a viewing deck and living space, productive garden beds, easy and comfortable access and to build within the council code to avoid the need to apply for consent.
The sloping site is located atop a cliff with a steep drop to Ross Creek below. It is north-facing, sheltered from the prevailing wind and enjoys full sun all day, making it an ideal micro-climate for sitting, viewing and productive gardening. The privacy and proximity to the pristine bush make it a haven for native birds with aerial displays by kereru in the valley below, and visits to the garden from tui and silver eyes.
As the site was below the house and the pillar/foundation supports of the deck extension were above the area that required excavation and retaining, an engineer was consulted.
There was a sufficiently gentle gradient in the slope to allow the decks to be comfortably built into the ground below 1m in height, making balustrades unnecessary.
There was very little topsoil on the site which meant all the soil required for planting needed to be brought in.
To solve the problem of a drop of 4.6m over 9m, we built two smaller decks connected by sets of steps with a vegetable box at the end. This eliminated the need for resource and building consents.
The principal sustainable strategy was to minimise waste and reuse materials on site so as little material as possible was removed from the site. All rocks and the excavated hard fill materials were used in the construction process. The rocks became ornamental features and built into the walls. The hard fill was used to back fill and create drainage behind the walls.
The project required all the new elements to dovetail and blend with the existing landscape. Timbers were shaped around the existing rock outcrops. Decks were built to avoid the need for balustrades that would impede the magnificent views of the surrounding bush slopes, distant suburbs and kereru diving below. The clients’ bird feeders attract silver eyes and tuis from the bush below, forming an important part of the immediate environ so this became an integral part of the overall scheme.
Additional rock walls were constructed to provide external walking space and sufficient area for ornamental and productive gardens.
The decks are constructed of Kwila and naturally fit into the larger landscape and the modern architecture of the house.
As it grows, the surrounding planting is softening the edges and making the deck look as if it has always been there.
If turning a tricky site into something both practical and stunning is on your bucket list, get in touch with Neville Stewart Landscaping. We’ll come and take a free look and share some ideas with you.