822 Portobello Rd on the Otago Peninsula is directly across the road from the harbour with spectacular views to Goat Island and Port Chalmers. The house is painted brightly with blue and yellow.
Before we began the project the lawn was roughly sloped with pavers leading to the front door. The gardens were cottage-style with perennial and ivy invaders. Old stone walls were in a dilapidated state and covered in part by the ivy. The gardens were high maintenance and lacked cohesion, grace or style. There were some old trees which are in poor health and condition. The front lawn was often wet from poor drainage.
Our client leads a busy life and often travels for her job but enjoys her harbour home retreat. One of her high priorities was “easy to walk on” access to the front door with her travel bag and working material/boxes/bags etc. She wanted it to be “easy to live in and easy to manage” with an indoor-outdoor connection via the French doors in different parts of the house. We came up with this concept plan for her.
The main challenge on this project was the change in levels from the house to the road. We wanted to avoid steps to the front door where possible so put in two steps, one at the gate and the other at the top of the path. We enhanced views to the harbour with selected low-growing natives and shrubs along the path and used lancewoods as way-finders to follow to the front door. We also levelled the lawns to blend into the rock walls and sloping gardens.
The existing rock walls were falling apart so we decided to replace them with different types of stone which allowed us to maintain a nice planting and views across the harbour. They now blend into the landscape instead of standing out in the wrong way.
Our client wanted improved access from both car parks to the front door so we screened off the side to improve privacy and define the car park front entrance on the eastern side of the property.
For the planting we choose low maintenance natives that attract birds. Specimen Cordyline indivisa ‘Mountain Cabbage Tree’ is a focal point as it is an eye-catching foliage plant to go with the low-growing shrubs and lancewoods along the front path.
Our client is really enjoying her new outdoor living spaces off each room via the French doors. She loves coming home and walking up and down the path to her new garden.