This peaceful garden is a tribute to the design and philosophy of a far-away tropical island.
These North Auckland homeowners loved the idea of peace and tranquillity so much, they named their property after it – Sasana santhi is Balinese for the concept, and an apt title for a property that has brought a bit of Bali to New Zealand.
Colin and Jenny had travelled to Bali a few times and were struck by the peacefulness and tranquillity of both the island, and its people.
They already owned a holiday property in Mangawhai Heads, north of Auckland, so thought a Bali-style house and garden would be a perfect fit. The subtropical plants would thrive, and the many water features, which are a key element of Balinese gardens, would be appropriate for seaside living. They then went on to, literally, bring Bali to New Zealand by way of materials, timber, stone and decorative elements.
The house needed to feel timeless and solid, so is built of solid masonry, which has then been plastered, and structural steel, which is now disguised as timber posts and beams.
The name of the paint colour that now covers the plaster exterior is from a different part of the world – Resene Coyote, tinted into Resene X-200 weathertight membrane. The bargeboards and other decorative elements are in Resene Coffee Bean, and the timber posts are stained in Resene Woodsman Treehouse. Says Colin: “We had a similar colour on the plaster before but we wanted something a bit deeper, a bit richer.”
The outdoor dining area sits under the extra-wide house eaves, where Resene Coffee Bean is used on the trims along with Resene Woodsman Treehouse wood oil stain.
Top tip: When you’re planning dark exterior colours, choose Resene CoolColour paints or wood stains.
To help with spatial design and the garden, the couple called on landscape designer Ron Dykman who they had worked with before. He ended up not only designing the garden but also the house. Says Colin: “He’s a very clever man. To have taken on the house design as well, and to get it so right despite not having been to Bali, was quite an achievement.”
In true Balinese style, the garden features a couple of free-standing, thatch-roofed cabanas. The poles are finished in Resene Woodsman Treehouse wood stain.
A chance meeting on one trip back from Bali connected Colin and Jenny to another design professional, Ade Ferry Wirata, who is known for creating interiors for luxury Balinese resorts. His input on finishes and decorating details was invaluable.
The garden has distinct areas. The main one is an intimate walled garden opening from the house via a breezeway. Another is a ‘secret garden’ at the back of the house (Colin’s favourite spot). Then there’s a seaward facing terrace that overlooks the estuary and sand dunes below, and a sweeping drive flanked by towering palms and massive cads.
The entrance wall to the garden is also painted in Resene Coyote, while the side wall is made of hundreds of scallop shaped rocks, each one hand-cut to fit.
Many of the garden’s decorative elements were bought in from Bali, including the magnificent swans by the pool.
Water is a big feature – for a start there’s the swimming pool, but also a fishpond with ‘floating’ stepping stones that lead to the front door. Three magnificent swans spout water into the swimming pool – and drive Jack Russell, Bella, crazy every time they are turned on! Then there’s also a simple pot water feature in one corner. An in-ground Fireworks is cleverly covered when not in use.
Above:The quiet area at the rear of the house is Colin’s favourite.
Right: Tropical plants include vireya rhododendrons.
Right: Bella the Jack Russell relaxes by the pool. The stones on the wall, capped in Resene Coyote, were specially sculpted into scallop shapes for this seaside location.
Subtropical plants include many bromeliads, philodendrons, palms, black cordyline, cycads, mondo and more.
The house and garden took four years to finish and were a true labour of love. Any necessary changes to the original plans were made during the development, like re-orienting the swimming pool. Now, Colin and Jenny wouldn’t change a thing: “It feels like you’re on an island paradise somewhere,” says Jenny. “You could be in a different world, especially when the sun shines, and light shimmers through the trees. The garden comes alive.”
Words: Sharon Newey
Pictures: Sally Tagg
The magic of the Mediterranean comes to this garden
Tania Barke of Through the Garden Gate suggests this alternative scheme:
The subtle tones of Resene Miso cladding and Resene Rivergum trims are offset by a deep red Resene Mighty front door and crisp Resene Black White paths. The trellis is in Resene Quarter Titania and selected pots are in Resene Zinzan. Planting includes star jasmine trained up on diamond-shaped wires, standard mandarins, red geranium, lavender, buxus, mondo and a weeping silver pear.
For a different perspective on an already gorgeous garden, I have imagined Mediterranean themes and colours. Standard mandarins in pots guard the Resene Mighty front door, and geraniums in Resene Zinzan pots are wired to a trellis to create an interesting screen. The circular form of the silver pear in the background is mirrored in the circular area at the juncture of the path leading to the front door. Star jasmine is wired to the wall and echoes the diamond form of the trellis.
The house colours support the planting. Resene Miso is a fresh neutral green, chosen as a subtle yet interesting backdrop that adds a sense of openness to the space. The grey base of Resene Rivergum supports the plant colours rather than demanding all the attention for itself. The red oxide of Resene Mighty directs visitors to the front door, ties in with the red geraniums and offers contrast to the predominantly green scheme.
Did you know... that Resene Walk-on paving paint is perfect for finishing concrete paths?
Different uses are defined by design in this scheme
Robert Luijten of Luijten Landscaping suggests this alternative look:
The two levels of this garden help to create privacy for the cosy seating area as do the lightweight concrete planters, which form a divide between the entrance and patio area. The kwila boardwalk, finished with Resene Furniture and Decking Oil to keep its rich colour, guides visitors to the front door. A Japanese maple is set within the boardwalk to create dappled shade in the daytime while the torch-style lights and spotlight create a magical look at night.
Resene Clay Creek softens the plaster cladding of the house, with posts and trims in Resene Haka. A kwila bench seat and boardwalk are finished in Resene Furniture and Decking Oil, while a concrete planter is painted in Resene Thistle. Squabs on the bench seat are matched to Resene Black White and Resene Daredevil. Plants also include a maple and a potted leopard tree.
Resene Clay Creek is an earthy warm colour that gives a quiet backdrop for the plants and complements both the planters in Resene Thistle and the colour of the kwila. As accents, crisp Resene Black White and vibrant Resene Daredevil were used as inspiration for the seat cushions. The hedge creates privacy from beyond the gate and the flowers provide fragrance especially in the evening. Persian Shield is used for its extraordinary colours to soften the edges of the boardwalk.
Did you know... that there are a range of stain colours available in the Resene Waterborne Woodsman range to add colour to timber while letting the grain show through? See the Resene Exterior timber stains colour chart for colour options, available from your Resene ColorShop or reseller, or order online.
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