Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Hi I’m Ben Edgar from Blue Nikau Landscaping based in the Whangarei Region of Northland New Zealand.
We are quality landscape design, construction and maintenance company and that also has a plant nursery.
Northland is in a particularly serious drought and we are seeing plantings fail and receiving a lot of queries about ‘drought proof landscaping’ particularly in our east coastal region.
Some pointers.
1. Plant selection. Native New Zealand plants are adapted to our climate and soil conditions, use them in landscaping. Plants from around the world can also be selected for drought tolerance too for different themed gardens like bold architectural succulents, some palms, subtropicals and Mediterranean plants.
2. Soil improvement. Adding organic materials or water retention crystals to the soil will improve water holding capacity.
3.Mulching over soil with a 100mm layer of bark, wood chip, untreated saw dust etc will insulate the soil from heat, slow evaporation and weeds too! Also when it does rain again, and that can be very heavy in Northland, the mulch stops soil erosion. I prefer these organic mulches to plastic matting which is unsightly and doesn’t bio-degrade and feed the soil.
4. Group water requiring plants like vegetable beds or a tropical courtyard close by so a drip irrigation system(efficient water use) can be installed or grey water recycled from washing machines or baths!
I’ll sign off now and top-up the mulch.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

pirit of the place

Often the first consideration in our design process is to look at what is unique and special about the site. What is the spirit or ‘genius loci’ of the place. The most successful and breathtaking landscapes draw from and build on these features.

Sometimes this 'spirit' is obvious, such as in bush surrounds, against ocean-backdrops, sites with mature established trees, or notable architecture. Other times it’s a more subtle discovery, and often when a site is ‘new’, and possibly featureless, the unique ‘feel’ has to be created.

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Getting There

The landscape starts as you arrive at your property. Design elements here will evoke different atmospheres. It may be a personal sense of 'arriving home', creating a warm welcome for guests, clarity of parking and vehicular movement or raising the value of your property. The design of the entrance also gives a hint of what is to come beyond, and makes a very strong first impression.

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Being there

What most defines the layout of a landscape is its anticipated uses as dreamed of by the client, and the physical nature of the site. Much design is based on working with the clients’ brief, within the site’s constraints to create different spaces, or ‘garden rooms’. Every client has different needs and visions. Some desire a formal outdoor entertainment setting and others are looking for a sense of the wildness of being in nature. Privacy or shelter can be important, or opening up into a special vista. Water, planters and sculpture create focal points and an opportunity for personal expression with the space. The possibilities are endless and Blue Nikau revels in exploring and creating beautiful, practical landscapes that are all the clients dreamed of.

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Staying there!

Maintenance is an integral part of any garden and is essential in keeping the landscape as a place of enjoyment. Blue Nikau will recommend a suitable maintenance programme, and can undertake all follow-up and ongoing development. Establishing a good maintenance programme retains the integrity of the design, protects your investment and keeps it all stress-free.