Terraced garden, Mt Albert

There is something particularly grand about a long entry sequence to a house; especially where one ascends a gentle slope beneath the shade of established trees. Whilst discussing this Mt Albert project with the architect, Marc Lithgow (of Space Division), we both felt that this sense of progression (which many projects do not permit) contributes significantly towards the success of both the architecture and the garden.

We were introduced to this project when the original house was being extended to create a new pavilion-like volume. From the driveway at the base of the hill, one approaches the front door via a series of landings and paths formed from handworked, local fieldstone, concrete and specially cut blocks of Timaru Bluestone (the latter elaborating several of the junctures within the design).

From the point at which one leaves the driveway, rounded specimens of a highly scented of Osmanthus play a role in establishing informal structure within the gardens, as they do elsewhere in the design. At this point in the property, Osmanthus is contrasted against the more upright growth form of weeping mapau (Myrsine divaricata) and an attractive, compact shrub from Whangaroa Harbour, Pseudopanax gilliesii.