A Mediterranean and coastal-styled Haitaitai garden

Landscape architecture by Louise Dunning Morrow, Noble Fox.

This hybrid Mediterranean and coastal-styled New Zealand garden can be found right on the beautiful coast of Wellington’s suburb of Hataitai.

Olive, fig, apple and citrus trees thrive amongst the two revitalised garden spaces, making it hard to imagine that before a redesign, the outdoor areas were largely dominated by concrete.

Louise Dunning Morrow, founder of Noble Fox, was invited to join the redesign project of the home about midway through the completion of the interior renovation.

With the previous homeowners’ Mediterranean influence already prominent, the new homeowners decided to retain some of the existing plantings and continue to build on this theme and to pay homage to their stunning Wellington beach location. They also decided to include a relaxed coastal vibe, to compliment and infuse the Mediterranean theme.

The Brief

There were two main areas to work with and both spaces had their own limitations. The Northern Garden that extends from the kitchen was laden with concrete, while the Southern Garden was overgrown and uninviting.

A living space and a garden that boasted greenery, fruit trees, a vegetable garden and had a space to entertain was the vision. The homeowners loved spending time in their garden so although they did want something manageable, they weren’t necessarily seeking a low maintenance garden.

With two young children around, safety was also paramount. The space needed to be one where they could roam freely and enjoy the area without constant supervision.

The Transformation

The design maximises all of the available space. The development of the area involved removing the copious amounts of concrete that existed at the property to level the yard out and partially replace it with a lawn area – creating a much more inviting and user-friendly garden.

Low shrubs, hedges and ground coverings were planted around the fruit trees that were to remain and in the different pockets of garden spaces that were formed. The unique textures and colours of the grey lamb’s ear (Stachya lanata) and green tractor seat (Ligularia reniformis) that are layered against each other in many of these areas contrast beautifully. With the addition of the speckles of white from the rengarenga (Arthropodium ‘Matapouri Bay’).

Safety and privacy concerns were addressed with new fencing installed around the property. To take the edge off the fencing, Ficus Tuffy, feijoa and Corokia ‘Geenty’s Green’ hedging was planted and small olive trees (olea europaea) were used for a Mediterranean touch.

Attention to detail is evident in the finishing on the design. The paint finish showcased on the garage adds to the intended Mediterranean feel of the landscape. 

A key feature that was introduced was the outdoor dining area (complete with a fireplace to sit and relax with family and friends), a play area and a vegetable garden. Keeping the many existing fruit trees has been a source of pleasure for the family to be able to pick from the trees in their backyard.

Lamb’s ear (Stachya lanata)

The Result

A variety of plantings with different heights, shades of green, textures and leaves has formed a garden that is filled with life.

The pops of colour from the apple and citrus trees, and the whites and purples of the plants, groundcover and hedges add yet another dimension with contrast to the distinctive shades of greenery throughout.

When seeking solace at the seaside from the comfort of one’s own home, this garden provides the perfect retreat to do so.

Key Plant List

  • Arthropodium ‘Matapouri Bay’ (Rengarenga)
  • Cistus ‘Bennett’s White’
  • Citrus – Lemon ‘Meyer’
  • Corokia Geenty’s Green (Hedging)
  • Dichondra Argentea
  • Dietes Iridioides
  • Feijoa (Hedging)
  • Ficus Pumila (Creeping Fig)
  • Ficus Tuffy (Pleached hedge)
  • Griselinia littoralis ‘Broadway Mint’ (Hedge)
  • Ligularia reniformis (Tractor Seat)
  • Liriope Muscari
  • Lomandra ‘Lime Tuff’
  • Oenothera Lindheimeri (Gaura)
  • Olea Europaea (Olive)
  • Pratia Angulata (Groundcover)
  • Stachys Lanata (Lamb’s Ears)
  • Westringia Fruticosa
Gaura and Dietes
Landscape architecture by Noble Fox.
Photography by Bonny Beattie.