Canterbury Violet

Client trust is a vital element that goes hand in hand with designing and constructing gardens. Our Canterbury clients took this to a whole new level when they entrusted our services back in August 2017 and allowed us to uproot and transplant their 20+-year-old Japanese Maple trees. The outdoor-loving family of four asked us to do a complete transformation on their tired front, side and rear gardens into areas that shone. In keeping with the flavour of their heritage home, it was crucial that the garden design be classic and timeless with a contemporary edge.

The brief for the front garden was simple: to make heads turn and create a showstopper that would command roadside attention. A dedicated front entrance was also a must. As is the case with many of the older properties in the area, the heritage Victorian property was already home to an array of mature trees. Here we were especially lucky to find stunning, well-established deciduous Magnolias and Japanese Maples greeting us on arrival. Ian’s preference is always to keep or reuse existing plants wherever possible. He was quick off the mark to recommend a design that would showcase these beauties, albeit in a different configuration.

To achieve the front entrance our clients desired, they put their trust in Ian’s judgement to uproot   Maple trees that had been in the ground for over two decades and transplant them to other areas of the garden. To do this was costly and not without risk, but that leap of faith has played a key role in transforming this garden.

We employed the services of Established Tree Transplanters – experts in such transplantations. Using high-pressure water jets to cut around the tree roots cleanly before removing them helped to reduce shock to the trees. With this technique, the chances of success increase from an average 70% to a much more enticing 98%. To further increase our chances, we chose to carry out the transplant when the weather was cooler and before the leaves turned.

Repositioning the 6-metre-high Maples allowed us to create a simple, lush canopy, which gave our clients clearly defined, direct access to the home they were after. The sheer stature and maturity of these trees make this front garden a show-stopper.

A slightly contemporary offset path to the side of the home was designed to link the classic front garden with a more modern setting at the rear. The offset steppers are broken up with Filetti ‘Endicott’ feature paving to add interest and warmth to the design.

A pool and entertaining area were both high up on the family’s priority list for the landscape at the rear of the property.

An extraordinary 8-metre-high, 2000L root ball, Magnoliagrandiflora tree was brought in and positioned on the adjoining fence line to provide necessary privacy from the neighbouring property. The maturity and health of the trees are the absolute focal points of this landscape.

The planting palette for this garden design was simple and understated. We chose to use Asplenium bulbiferum (ideal for Woodlands), Liriope muscari ‘Royal Purple’, Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’, Buxus sempervirens spheres, Pyrus nivalis and Parthenocissus tricuspidata.

We take such pleasure in watching our gardens grow – and this project is certainly no exception! We are absolutely thrilled with how it’s progressing and are so grateful to our clients for trusting it. It’s a garden that we hope will bring them years and years of joy and tranquillity.

Plant Selection

    • Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’
    • Acer palmatum
    • Helleborus ‘Black Beauty’
    • Hydrangea ‘Pee Wee’
    • Syzygium australe
    • Heliotropium ‘Lord Roberts’
    • Platanus orientalis– Living pergola

Hardscape Specification

    • Flamed ‘Smokey Grey’ Granite paving, edging and steppers
    • ‘Bokhara’ exposed aggregate concrete driveway
    • Wide Filetti ‘Endicott’ inlay
    • Courtyard with Plantanus orientalis living pergola

Landscape Area

    • 790m2
    • Front and Rear Garden
Design by - Ian Barker Garden Design
Constructed by - Ian Barker Landscapes
Photography by - Claire Takacs
Maintenance by - Ian Barker Gardens