case studies

Coastal Split Level


Creating space for a family to live and breathe in this re-interpretation of a forbidding site

The Brief

This close and happy family of 5 were looking for a new garden space that provided as much pleasure as their house and interior. The children needed a space to kick a soccer ball, jump on a trampoline and just enjoy being out there. The parents wanted to enjoy this space and sit back in the spa when time allowed, to savour the view.

The garden had spectacular vistas across the district and ocean that made visitors gasp, every time. To make the most of these and to provide open flat areas out of cascading terraces would be our challenge.

The family rarely used the back garden as it was difficult to negotiate and had grown uninviting.  The yard consisted of shallow sandstone terraces dropping off a top level timber deck.

A steep height difference from back deck to rear boundary provided very little functional, flat space for play and the original plant material had grown high and unruly.

The client listed a swimming pool, in-ground trampoline and a flat play area to kick a ball plus they wanted these elements set within new garden plantings, including fruit trees.

The Solution

The first step was to locate the swimming pool and spa. We positioned it off to one side of the property stepping down the slope to reduce bulk and construction expense and to provide room for the new lawn.

The next step was to expand the narrow terraces to provide some level play area. This then provided an opportunity for a family gathering place in the form of a firepit.  The new levels were achieved by removing the central sandstone terrace and raising the lower wall height. We now had two larger flat areas to work with.

To link these areas, we designed light, floating steps that, whilst originally conceived as timber landings, were eventually formed of reinforced cantilevered concrete which hug the top sandstone wall.

Careful plant selection for this exposed ocean-facing slope provided the softening factor within the flowing boundary gardens. Each planting site was filled with organic soil mix and finished with drip irrigation.

The family now constantly use their new outdoor play area and have recently added a new dog to their ranks to also enjoy the space.

Client Feedback

Col is an artist and a dreamer and Lisette makes it happen,’

“The garden is a wonderful, dynamic space for our family. The kids play on the trampoline, swim in the pool and have such a lovely time with their friends here. They toast marshmallows with us around the fire pit, where we can sit back and take in the view. There’s a lot of laughter in the yard. It’s exactly the outcome we wanted, in every way.”

- Craig and Christine, Wamberal

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