Portfolio

O2 Landscapes has an extensive portfolio, of which the following are selected examples.


Terraced garden, Mt Albert

This property on the lower slopes of Mt Albert provided us with the dual gift of an established, park-like setting of large trees and a particularly fine house (designed by Space Division) as our starting point.

The structure of the garden is formed from the interplay of basalt, concrete and timber, which relate to each other through a wide array of details. These provide a strong framework for gardens in which we combined seasonal flowering perennials with an informal backbone of both native and exotic shrubs. Due to the fact that the main terrace must often accommodate large groups of people, one of the major design challenges was to integrate extensive areas of seating into the overall structure of the garden.

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Woodland garden, Auckland

The design for this garden on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour called for a quiet aesthetic, in line with the calm character of the house's interior. The resulting gardens bear qualities that are found in some of the more ethereal spaces (whether groves or clearings) that we have encountered within New Zealand's forested landscapes.

One of the most interesting features of the building (which was designed by Stevens Lawson Architects) is the fact that water simply sheds off the roof on to our stone paths (which act very effectively to drain rainfall as it sheds off the roofs). This was a key driver for the composition of plantings on either side of the house, as we based them on the kinds of plant communities that occur in riverine forest and adjacent to waterfalls .

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Coastal flower garden, Auckland

Native coastal ecologies were integrated with selected flowering exotics in this coastal Auckland site, to create a garden that feels appropriate to its location, yet yields considerable seasonal change. In spring, the seafront garden erupts into a blaze of colour, whilst coastal native shrubs and groundcovers provide structure for the entire year.

It perfectly demonstrates our philosophy that gardens do not need to be divided into 'native' or 'exotic'. Through sensitive (and responsible) integration, it is possible to make gardens that tell the stories of our own native plants, whilst providing colour, surprise and flexibility through the use of exotic flowers (and thus also respecting a diversity of gardening traditions).

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City Works Depot, Auckland

Since early 2013, O2 Landscapes has been responsible for the design of plantings at City Works Depot, a significant Central Auckland site which has been skilfully adapted (by Cheshire Architects) from its original function as a former depot (and workshops) for the Council.

Although the nature of plantings changes subtly throughout the site (depending on the adjoining areas/buildings), the overall approach applied at the site is to formulate planting compositions that complement the existing character of this distinctive complex. A large number of rare and threatened native plants feature throughout, as well as seasonal flowering highlights that suit the rugged aesthetic of the impressive 1960s sheds around which City Works Depot revolves.

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Montane garden, Lake Tekapo

This garden, set on a hill above Lake Tekapo presented an exciting opportunity - to plant a wide range of montane and alpine species in which we are interested, but that we do not often have the privilege of working with. The extreme climate of the Mackenzie Basin lends the surrounding landscape a distinctive character, which influenced the design of the garden to a large degree.

The planting also reflects the nature of subalpine scrub from the Southern Alps, and includes significant species from various parts of the South Island. At certain times of year, this subdued native framework is interrupted by flashes of colour from exotic flowers, including daffodils, paeonies and ornamental onions.

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Westmere garden, Auckland

The way in which this garden, within Auckland's inner suburbs, meets the street is one of the most important aspects of its design. It was important to us that the garden bears a lightness that complements the impressive architecture of the house. This is, in large part, achieved by the use of diverse native plantings on the main boundary, which contain a considerable number of threatened plant species.

Another notable feature of the design is the manner by which we adapted traditional elements of Auckland's older suburbs, including drystone walls (constructed of Port Waikato limestone) and a custom-designed post-and-wire fence.

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Te Mata garden, Hawke's Bay

Overlooking Hawkes Bay, this site provided very interesting context on the basis of the architecture (designed by Stevens Lawson Architects), the natural history of the area, and the pre-European Māori history of the hill on which the property stands. The area within which the property sits was historically occupied as a Māori pā.

This heritage is reflected in the paving patterns for the northwestern side of the garden; whose form we adapted from studying archaeological surveys of pre-European Māori settlements in the southern Hawkes Bay. A large border on the southeastern side of the house represents a progression in our interest in the idea of the integrated garden; in which natives are combined sensitively with exotics that provide seasonal interest and a wide range of flower colour and form.

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Streetfront yard, Ponsonby

Some of the most interesting design challenges come out of grappling with small spaces. In the case of this project, we were required to increase the sense of separation from the street (which stands at very close proximity to the house), at the same time as providing improved access to existing gardens at the side of the house.

The most satisfying aspect of the job lay in finding a solution that provides a strong design response, whilst remaining sympathetic to the heritage of the villa that our new path adjoins.

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Coastal garden, Leigh

Situated on the coast northeast of Auckland, this property lies in an area of great natural beauty. Local plant ecologies and geology informed the design for the garden (including the abstraction of the local cliff strata in the multi-layered concrete wall on the seafront side of the house). 

Noteworthy aspects of the garden include experimentation with a range of methods and finishes of concrete construction, extensive drystone walls and the rusted steel dog fence. The experience of one of the owners as a dry grasslands ecologist provided us with additional insight and inspiration into working with the 'dry' ecology types that characterise this part of the North Island coastline.

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Chelsea Flower Show, England, 2006

In 2006, Philip Smith of O2 Landscapes was a key member of the Silver-Gilt Medal award-winning New Zealand garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. The 100% Pure Tourism New Zealand Garden was positioned on the Main Avenue at the Show, and provided a very different experience from traditional Chelsea gardens. The overall design, of a moody Karekare landscape interjected by jagged abstract 'hard landscape' elements, was by Xanthe White; whilst Philip's role (as plantsman) was in providing ecological and aesthetic expertise in composing planting design, and in co-ordinating the selection, growing-on and export of plants for the Show. For this role, Philip worked closely with James Fraser, of Avant Gardener, who was the English-based plantsman for the team.

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Gully garden, Parnell

One of the owners of this house in a shady gully in Parnell, Auckland, had already developed a very good garden containing many interesting plant species present at that the point that we became involved. The structure of the garden consisted of a collection of species of Magnolia, Lonicera, Malus, Fagus and other traditional garden trees and shrubs. Many of these are more typical of southern gardens than in Auckland, where sub-tropicals and Mediterranean style plantings have dominated gardens for the last 15 years.

The most striking feature of this woodland courtyard is a clothesline that we designed especially for the property, based in part on the anatomy of a native tree, toatoa.

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