A clever colour-block approach brightens this garden.
So often, house exteriors are painted in a restrained palette of tonal neutrals. Simple. And maybe a little bit plain.
That approach wasn’t going to cut it for Helen and Ian Ivess. Sure, they chose some smoky dark greys for their home in the seaside settlement of Oakura, south of New Plymouth. But then came a wall of soft mother-of- pearl white, and three walls of... well, red.
Helen Ivess indulges her love of red, but in a restrained way, like painting her front door in Resene Pohutukawa.
The couple opted for exterior blocks of colour after being inspired by the same technique on a local hotel. Resene Seashell was applied to the northwest facing walls overlooking a neighbouring park while the front of the house received a covering of dark green-grey Resene Woodsmoke. Resene Burnt Crimson went on three of the garage walls and on another wing of the house. The base of the house and fences are in Resene Black and the deck is Resene Stack.
The Ivess property is blessed with no physical boundary with neighbouring Matekai Park. First there were cows in the park. Then grazing sheep that occasionally got stuck in fences. Over time the fences came out and the park now visually blends with Helen and Ian’s garden.
Like others in the neighbourhood who border this communal space, the couple has enhanced it by planting trees and erecting a birdbath popular with tui and kereru. Helen tells stories of her parents moving here in 1952. Her father helped fashion the street, which runs parallel to the beach, with a bulldozer. “We were just country bumpkins then.”
Left: Garden-owner and colour-lover Helen Ivess framed by a wall in Resene Burnt Crimson. The posts are Resene Black and the deck is Resene Stack. Right: The wide northwest-facing deck is the perfect spot to gaze into the neighbouring park. The weatherboards are Resene Seashell, with the garage wall at the back in Resene Burnt Crimson. The deck boards are painted in Resene Stack, and the posts and veranda frame are in Resene Black.
The couple’s house began as a bach-like structure but after several additions and coats of paint, it feels modern, airy and colourful. “I love painting,” declares Helen, who is a home economics and textiles teacher, as well as an events contractor for the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust. “We have had different colours over the years – colours that were fashionable in the 80s as well as what Ian calls ‘Oakura grey’, a shade of beige.”
“What I wanted with the Resene Woodsmoke was the colour of oil and that’s the closest I could find… It was the sheen and shades you saw in different lights. I wanted something like that which was dark but not black.” The exterior tones are bright yet timeless, with the garden and trees enhancing this aesthetic.
Helen enlisted the help of a landscape designer friend to draw up a garden plan, which then evolved. “I don’t think that I’m a particularly avid gardener to be perfectly honest, but I like everything nice and tidy.”
Wide wraparound steps lead up to the veranda, and are painted in Resene Stack. The weatherboards are in Resene Seashell and the veranda posts are in Resene Black.
She and Ian clearly possess some skill, however, because the garden is structured with something to see from every angle. A collection of bangalow palms is striking as you enter the property – their stout trunks resemble columns, providing drama and vertical interest. At their base is a mat of Chinese star jasmine, while a well-established aloe vera plant and another unusual specimen with a red pineapple-type flower, break up the groupings of green foliage.
Around the corner, the park houses a range of productive trees including macadamia, bay and avocado. A tall clipped hedge of the scented shrub michelia frames the front door, which is painted in Resene Pohutukawa. Helen’s favourite colour is red but she is cautious of over-using it, satisfying herself with its vibrant sheen on the exterior and interior doors.
At ground level there is a combination of the glossy leaves of Ligularia reniformis, a reddy-coloured ground cover and a cycad palm. Together they edge a pottery urn. Stripes of mondo grass pop up between grey pavers that create a path across the grass.
Red and yellow hibiscus are planted at the base of the deck. Ponytail palms are among the trees adding height to this area.
A west-facing low garden is home to veggies and herbs; in a much higher garden bed, vegetation spills over the edges. Here, alstromeria and rosemary are given free rein.
Left: A vanguard of bangalow palms provides a dramatic entrance to the property, with a glimpse of the Resene Woodsmoke painted house. Right: The strappy leaves of clivia and palms line the side path. The weatherboards of the house are painted in Resene Woodsmoke.
Steps lead back to the deck where the striking leaves of a cycad and three bird of paradise plants make a show in a sheltered spot.
The theme of bold foliage and colour continues around the other sides of the house.
In one corner, the branches of both a kowhai tree and feijoa arch over a buddha statue, brought back from Bali. At its feet, clumps of grass-like Liriope muscari enclose the ground.
Down the side of the house, arching fronds of nikau palms add structure, along with staghorn ferns. Thick healthy clivia boast a range of yellow and apricot flowers. Other shade-loving plants such as hellebores spread across the ground.
It is a harmonious and layered garden. The boldness and organisation of the planting complements the strong exterior colours. Combine that with endless birdsong and the knowledge that you’re not far from the ocean, and a sunny, holiday feeling pervades this Oakura home and garden.
A grid of stepping stones connects the house and the garage. The weatherboards are in Resene Woodsmoke.
Top Tip: Stain your deck regularly, usually every 2-3 summers, to help keep it protected from the weather. When cleaning decks ready for staining, use Resene Timber and Deck Wash. Avoid waterblasting as it can damage the timber.
Choose the right Resene products for the job.
Words: Sarah Foy
Images: Jane Dove Juneau
a fresh, relaxed colour scheme for this garden
Landscape designer Louise Dunning of Noble Fox suggests this alternative scheme:
This property reminded me of a contemporary version of a traditional bach, so I have used colour and materials to create a relaxed, holiday aesthetic, reminiscent of 1950s or modernist style. I have added a new paved courtyard off the deck with seating and an umbrella for extra colour and shade, and a low timber wall, painted in Resene Shabby Chic, to define the space and create an accent. This will also work as secondary seating. Continuing the light, open feel, the house weatherboards are in Resene White Pointer, trimmed with Resene Rice Cake and a pop of Resene Just Dance on the door. It would be simple to change the colours of the low wall and door to update the look in the future. Resene Woodsman Whitewash brings the deck back to life; this product is an easy way to give the designer touch to timber fences, decks and furniture.
Did you know... that Resene has a range of products to help protect and enhance concrete pavers? Use Resene Walk-on Concrete Clear to protect outdoor concrete and pavers, or Resene Concrete Stain to add interest and depth. Pick up a Resene Decks, paths, driveways and recreational areas chart free from your local Resene ColorShop or reseller.
Phone: 027 706 5374
The weatherboards are painted in Resene White Pointer with trims in Resene Rice Cake. The low wall is in Resene Shabby Chic and the door is in Resene Just Dance. The deck is finished in Resene Woodsman Whitewash. The Forum Pavers are from Firth while planting includes heuchera, cannas, dichondra, cycads, nikau and hibiscus.
Illustration: Malcolm White
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