Ponsonby ‘pocket garden’ transforms a small, scrappy backyard

Susan Howell

It’s wonderful just how substantially land you can “discover”, even on a tiny plot when you crystal clear absent all the extraneous stuff – a scraggly bush, some damaged paving, nondescript vegetation. All these parts you never pretty get to, and definitely really do not use.

Abbie Reynolds and Daren Grover had lived in their smaller Freeman’s Bay cottage for 15 decades, and they experienced these kinds of a backyard. But when they ultimately did get around to performing a little something with the landscaping, their ”Ponsonby Pocket Garden” venture by All-natural Habitats took out a few big awards at the 2022 Landscapes of Distinction awards acquiring Gold for style, Silver for building and Bronze in horticulture.

On top rated of that, Guillaume (Gilly) Chabbert, who was instrumental in the do the job, won the coveted Young Landscaper of the 12 months and Remarkable Accomplishment – Job Improvement in the Youthful Landscaper of the Yr level of competition.

Natural Habitats was responsible for both the design and construction, adding a large deck with an adjustable louvre roof, new hard landscaping and all the planting.

Lawrence Smith/Stuff

Normal Habitats was liable for both the design and building, adding a substantial deck with an adjustable louvre roof, new really hard landscaping and all the planting.

The undertaking was a extended time coming, even so. Reynolds, who functions in sustainability, and Grover, who runs the Venture Jonah whale rescue charity, suggests at just one phase they had designed some pebble gardens, but then acquired very hectic, and the grass came back again. They ordered up some plans a few decades in the past, but they weren’t fairly appropriate. “We sat on them for a few of several years, and then, soon after the first lockdown I said, ‘we just need to have to get some thing done’, so we looked for a landscaper that looked like they cared about sustainability.”

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Organic Habitats Landscapes fitted the bill and was commissioned to come up with a plan. But the few had plenty of suggestions themselves. They appreciated the full concept of extending the smaller unloved existing conservatory to offer out of doors residing on a huge deck with a louvred pergola.

BEFORE: The garden was overgrown and not used.


Just before: The back garden was overgrown and not employed.

AFTER: Two raised corrugated steel planter boxes from Tankalot contain the vegetable and herb gardens, and are easy to maintain.


After: Two elevated corrugated steel planter boxes from Tankalot contain the vegetable and herb gardens, and are effortless to manage.

Biodiversity was essential

They required biodiversity, with plants that would appeal to birds and skinks into the garden, and they required an easy-to-regulate little vegetable backyard garden. “And we desired some thing that seemed great – a spot we could retreat to,” Reynolds suggests.

To get the job started, the pair went to the Botanical Gardens and obtained a list of all the plants we could put in that would be great for biodiversity. “We experienced a record of about 25 various vegetation – and gave the names to Purely natural Habitats, and they place in a mixture of these things,” Reynolds says

The group also gave a composition to the backyard garden, getting rid of all the current scrappy elements, opening up the area, and utilising each individual corner. And the big, protected deck has turn into an additional home of the home – it is employed continuously, even in the evenings.

Abbie finds it easy to keep an eye on what's happening in the garden every day.


Abbie finds it straightforward to continue to keep an eye on what is actually happening in the back garden each individual day.

There are two or a few distinct sorts of ground deal with around bark, which has manufactured it quite lower upkeep – it retains the weeds at bay all over the several plants, which incorporate mountain flax, hebe, and distinctive native grasses. And there are tiny pavers interspersed with a bold eco-friendly mondo grass, which is watered immediately with a system that has a rain sensor.

Two lengthy, slimline corrugated metal planters from Tanksalot, powdercoated white, supply elevated beds for the veggies and herbs, all of which are flourishing, like self-seeded tomatoes, arugula, parsley, rosemary, Vietnamese mint, thyme and coriander. The planters match a huge, in the same way formed h2o tank that retailers rainwater for irrigating the backyard garden.

And Reynolds has a worm farm, which gives good soil for the back garden.

Private paradise: Chabbert eyes the stepping stones that lead round to stone steps down the side of the house.


Personal paradise: Chabbert eyes the stepping stones that lead round to stone actions down the aspect of the house.

A large Tankalot rainwater tank at one side provides enough water to irrigate the garden.


A significant Tankalot rainwater tank at 1 facet gives sufficient drinking water to irrigate the yard.

The corner of the web page is outlined by a incredibly tall Washington palm, and a small feijoa tree. The again fence was aspect of the total system – it options narrow timber battens that give the backyard garden a sturdy, textural backdrop.

And the native butterflies and birds have flocked back again, which includes tui, riroriro (grey warbler) and morepork.

The end final result is a collaboration that has worked further than expectations. “It was really critical for our sanity for the duration of lockdown,” Reynold admits. “It’s these kinds of a minimal sanctuary.”

And even Chabbert states: “It’s by far my favourite one particular, because I have been a landscaper.”

But now they have completed the challenge, the pair are going to Nelson at Christmas. But they are not offering – having undertaken all the perform, they will be retaining the household.

Ground cover plants help keep weeds at bay. The fence was rebuilt with battens.


Ground cover crops enable keep weeds at bay. The fence was rebuilt with battens.


When tragedy struck Michelle Matangi turned her garden into a therapeutic backyard.

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