From the luxuriant planting to the rock-encircled lagoons and waterfall feature, this alluring resort style garden offers the perfect outdoor oasis
Imagine every time you stepped through your back door you found yourself in the midst of a lush, tropical haven. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Well, this luxuriant, resort style garden, designed by multi-award-winning landscape designer Christian Jenkins, proves that it is possible to enjoy the holiday-at-home experience every day.
A tropical landscape designed for the way the modern family wants to live, this leafy oasis, built by the Christian Jenkins Landscape Design construction team for the 2018 New Zealand Flower & Garden Show, is a guiding light for all those who yearn to recreate the look and feel of their favourite resort.
Providing a shady spot for relaxation and seeming to float above the water, to one side of the garden there is a clean-lined deck paved with large-format white quartz tiles set within a frame of timber. This is protected by a cantilevered pergola with tea tree poles bestowing filtered shade and furnished with an outdoor sofa and table from Domo.
To the other side of the lagoon, there is a second outdoor living area. This is a much more organic space with its curvy outline and crazy paving. This deck is furnished with a pair of vibrant slim-line rockers, also from Domo, which flank a shallow fire bowl.
The connecting water lagoons and waterfall feature, which was designed by Christian, are the linking elements of the garden and are traversed by a series of stepping stones. Upon entering the garden and passing over a richly coloured butterfly mosaic, a stepping stone path leads through the water to the pergola-covered deck and from there, across to the second, smaller deck.
In many ways, the plants are the star of the show because this is a garden designed to make you feel embraced by nature — and just a little in awe of its beauty and diversity. Rich with different textures, colours and forms, Christian’s planting palette transports you away from your work-a-day world into a place where you want to stop, reflect, appreciate nature’s bounty and dream of your next vacation.
Among the many plants employed to great effect is the eye-catching Dracaena draco (dragon tree), a subtropical succulent with dramatic, sword-like leaves. Adding another arresting plant form, there is the Brachychiton rupestris (Queensland bottle tree), a big, bold tree with a uniquely shaped trunk, and Xanthorrhoea (grass tree), an iconic Australian native with a distinctive form.
The lush, layered planting is also dotted with tropical garden favourites such as bromeliads, bird of paradise, hostas and palms, and a not quite as often-used plant, the foliage-heavy Ligularia. This is a great specimen plant but it can also be used as groundcover in shaded areas. The large leaves are uniquely shaped and give a luxuriant look.
Adding to the tapestry of textures that draws you in, sustainably harvested Ponga poles provide a natural backdrop to the plants that wrap around the garden’s perimeter.
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