Native and Modern, Karaka

Client Brief:

Use natives and sculptures to complement the modern designer home, and use landscaping to emphasize viewing corridors.


Specific Challenges:

  1. The designer’s plan required a curving gabion basket haha/retaining wall with no gaps between baskets. Gabion baskets have a rectangular shape.
  2. Create views of the nearby lake with attractive landscaping to draw the eye
  3. Use planting and landscaping to complement the modern house and suit the site.


  1. We worked with engineers to measure, coordinate and install a custom-made system of gabion baskets so that they fitted tightly in an arched shape with no gaps.
  2. We excavated to create a valley so that there were unobstructed views from the house to the lake. Riverstones and boulders were laid along the viewing corridor to resemble a dry riverbed leading the view out to the lake.
  3. Plants were chosen to be suitable for their location, eg steep, dry banks, and to complement the modern house. Yellow kowhais emphasized the yellow cedar joinery and plants with bold form and colour were striking against the black house.


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