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Ocean's reach

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Located on the edge of the Hauraki Gulf0, this elevated site required natural protection from the elements, without sacrificing the spectacular views


Asite with unobscured views of the ocean is an ideal location in any coastal city. However, sea views are often accompanied by harsh conditions, such as exposure to high winds.

Landscape architect Mark Read from Natural Habitat says the elevated site featured on these pages enjoys great harbour views. But judicious planting was required to provide shelter for the pool area.

"As the home was built on a small peninsula, it was exposed to the sea winds," says Read. "We needed a range of dense planting to provide protection."

Plant selection was limited to species that could tolerate salty conditions. A mix of tropical palms and natives, such as pohutakawa, flaxes and cabbage trees were chosen for the most exposed areas. For ground cover, Read selected a range of plants, including bromeliads, libertia, xeronema, alocasia and liriope.

"In a short period of time the plants have established themselves and are beginning to prosper," Read says.


The outdoor living areas were created to complement the modern, clean-lined architectural style of the home. As the site drops 6-7m from the street to the edge of the lawn on the lowest level, there are three distinct outdoor areas to match the three-storey home.

Two decks are accessible from the house – the upper balcony connects to living room and the lower balcony to the master bedroom.

Clear glass fencing on both upper decks ensures uninterrupted views from every level. Large rectangular planters on each of the descending terraces match the dense green foliage beside the pool area on the lower level.

"With a minimalist design, the choice of materials is critical. For example, the paving stones are the same colour as the home's exterior," Read says.

Another important consideration was connecting clear, geometric architectural forms with the untamed ocean beyond.

"The mosaic pool tiles are a rich blue colour to reflect the sky and to reference the sea beyond," says Read.

First published date: 23 August 2004

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Credit List

Landscape architect Mark Read, Natural Habitats, LIANZ (Auckland)
Architect (house) Frans Kamermans
Builder North City Builders
Outdoor furniture Konturest
Pool designer Rob Thomas Landscaping