Dave’s garden goes from simple to stunning

23 Aug 2018

A busy garden can still provide a restful space, as proven by homeowner Dave Lewis’s detailed yet calming outdoor area. And with a new paved area, large existing fireplace, garden walls painted in grey Resene Tapa and an upcycled family heirloom benchseat in Resene Pioneer Red, the garden is a modern-day paradise.

Before the makeover, Dave’s courtyard was simple and, well, boring. A small square of paving sat in front of the free-standing fireplace, overlooking a plunge pool, overgrown hedges and a shabby-looking lawn. It was neither inviting nor useable.

Dave knew the area needed an upgrade. He desperately wanted a space that allowed him to re-arrange his outdoor furniture so that he could entertain more easily. He enlisted Dee McQuillan of garden design studio Ivy & Bloom to work her magic. 

“I really liked her style, so I was happy to give her a free hand with the design. She really listened to what I wanted. Her whole concept blew me away,” says David.

What transpired is a courtyard filled with detail and accents of colour, freshened up with Resene paint, while also providing a calm, restful space for whoever enters it.

Dee designed the garden around a generously paved area, a series of raised garden beds and new seats to anchor the existing fireplace, as well as new planting.

What catches your eye immediately is the 100-year-old riveted antique bench seat, now painted in Resene Pioneer Red. It is a family heirloom passed onto Dave. He mentioned this to Dee at their meeting, who had the bench repainted and created a special alcove in the raised planting beds for it to sit.

Says Dee: “I chose that particular deep brown-red because it’s quite manly and it’s the type of red you see quite a bit in New Zealand; it’s quite kiwi.” The red bench is off-set by the walls behind it painted in Resene Tapa, a smoky understated warm grey.

Dee chose to use Resene Tapa throughout the courtyard, painted on all of the boundary and planter bed walls, except the ones behind the pool and on the fireplace chimney.

Dave worked in the marine industry for many years and appreciates symmetry and precision, so gave Dee strict instructions to keep the design neat and tidy.

So, although the existing fireplace isn’t centred in that part of the garden, it now lines up with the barbecue opposite, which has its own spot on pavers that recess into the garden. Ceramic pavers now cover virtually all of the space at one end of the garden, leaving lots of flexibility for outdoor furniture to be rearranged in front of the fire, or oriented towards the house.

Top tip: To keep concrete walls and surfaces looking smarter for longer, use Resene Aquapel or Resene Concrete Clear.

Precision doesn’t have to mean boring, either. Rather than keep the planter beds straight, Dee stepped them in and out, and included a space for two seats to flank the fireplace. The shapes are simple but add visual dimension to the courtyard.

When it came to foliage, Dee suggested a range of flowering plants as well as repeat planting – with all the colours brought in to complement the Resene Pioneer Red-painted benchseat and Resene Tapa grey walls. There’s nandina, purple ake ake, festucas, leucadendron and Boston ivy. Flowering plants include kangaroo paw, verbascum and helenium in shades of deep red, purple and orange. Dee calls it a “stripped back masculine flower border”.

Dave also has some orchids inherited from his father “that I’ve somehow managed to keep alive” that are a perfect russet red colour match, and which now have new homes in smart black pots.

Garden lights add another dimension to the garden at night. Set into the raised planting beds, they are directed up into the plants and over the walls. Says Dave: “It’s great to have quite a different look from day to night.”

A small herb garden is frequently harvested from for Dave’s cooking. “It’s great. I can just grab some herbs for my cooking and I now know the difference between basil and coriander,” jokes Dave.

The attention to detail by the installers Urbis Landscapes also impressed Dave. They suggested clever ideas such as a drainage slot instead of a central grate in the pavers and made sure the barbecue hood sat in just the right place so that the hood didn’t hit the glass pool fence when it was open.

Dave now gets much more use out of the garden, either reading a book on the old bench set or entertaining friends. He even enjoys the chores, like mowing the lawn or tidying away fallen leaves.

“I love the whole thing. It’s calming, versatile and usable, and suits my sense of order. Dee came, and she waved her magic wand.  I wouldn’t change a thing.”

words Sharon Newey
images Bryce Carleton

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing editor Sharon Newey on [email protected].

garden, outdoor fireplace, outdoor dining, planter beds, outdoor entertaining, vintage benchseat

Raised planter beds, boundary walls and seating painted in Resene Tapa complement the large paved area and existing fireplace, where homeowner David Lewis enjoys entertaining friends. The 100-year-old riveted benchseat, painted in Resene Pioneer Red, is a family heirloom and has its own alcove in the garden. 

garden, outdoor fireplace, outdoor dining, outdoor entertaining, grey outdoors, planter beds

Dave has a background in the marine industry and appreciates symmetry and precision. He asked designer Dee McQuillan of Ivy & Bloom to create a neat and orderly garden – part of that vision was sitting the barbecue perfectly in line with the fireplace. The raised planter beds, boundary walls and seating are painted in Resene Tapa.

garden, outdoor fireplace, outdoor entertaining, raised planter beds, grey outdoors

The narrow part of the garden wraps around the side of the house, with lawns and two gardens, one for herbs. The raised planter beds, boundary walls and seating are painted in Resene Tapa.

garden, vintage bench seat, raised planter beds, grey outdoors, red garden seat

Dave enjoying his garden, which he calls calming, versatile and usable. The bench seat is painted in Resene Enamacryl tinted to Resene Pioneer Red. The raised planter beds, boundary walls and seating are painted in Resene Tapa.

garden, verbascum pheoniceum violetta, purple flower, violet flower

The garden features verbascum pheoniceum Violetta.

garden, red flower, kangaroo paw, garden flowers

It also features Kangaroo paw, which echoes the colour of the bench seat painted in Resene Pioneer Red.

garden, tropical garden, retro garden, blue outdoors, garden plans, garden inspiration

In every issue, we ask a designer to reimagine the featured garden. Erin Farrow and Julie Moncur of Erin Farrow Landscapes suggest a tropical retro chic look, filled with Palm Springs-inspired planters, perfect for sipping refreshments by the pool. A wall painted in Resene Jet Stream anchors the courtyard, with Resene Pompeii from the Resene Paths, Driveways and Recreational Areas on the floor, giving a warm base to the scheme. The pots are painted in Resene Alabaster while products featured include mountain cabbage trees and Willory pots from Palmers, a clipped blue totara hedge from Twining Valley Nursery, Banana Sun Loungers from Composites, Flamingo cushions from Fishpond and boulders from Paradise Quarry.

garden, garden inspiration, retro garden, tropical garden, garden moodboard

Get the look with accents of Resene New York Pink, Resene Wheel Of Fortune and Resene Picton Blue, with floors in Resene Pompeii from the Resene Paths, Driveways and Recreational Areas on the floor, as well as (clockwise from top left) Firth Solar Screen Blocks from Firth, Mother-in-law’s tongue from Palmers, and Cancun Aqua Outdoor Rug from HBR Homeware

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