Villa Garden with Modern Tropical Twist — New Plymouth

Lemon Street, New Plymouth

For this central New Plymouth property local landscape designers PARKER developed a contemporary sub tropical garden to compliment the home’s recent renovation.

The house renovation was undertaken by builder Chad (Chad Niwa Building) and Ginny of The Home Collective.

During the renovation the front facade was kept completely original.

The Brief

The home, a former railway cottage, had been extensively renovated to create a fresh-feeling sanctuary in the centre of New Plymouth. The front of the house retained its original villa-feel and unique footprint, while a modern extension was added to encompass an open plan kitchen, dining and living spaces at the rear of the property.

A key feature of the renovation is its effective indoor-outdoor flow and private alfresco spaces to entertain in.

PARKER came up with a landscape design that maintained the clean lines of classic villa box hedge (buxus) gardens, with a modern tropical twist to reflect the new extension and match the young family’s lifestyle.

Planting was required to be low maintenance and not time intensive to accommodate the owners who were busy business owners with a young family.

All planting was kept to be low maintenance and combination of shades of deep green.

The Tranformation

In this villa restoration the front facade was kept completely original, and the rear was modified with a modern extension. This was mirrored in the landscape design.

A more classic pattern of planting and design was utilised for the front entrance, while out in the backyard a large contemporary deck was added to make the most of the outdoor living. This also included a sunken fire pit for those cooler nights.

Ligularia reniformis spill onto the back deck’s steps.

The plants used were mainly a combination of shades of deep green. Varying leaf shapes and textures were used to add depth to the garden without having to bring in too many flowering (and higher maintenance) plants.

Uruti stone, a stone unique to Taranaki, was used in the exposed aggregate concrete pathways. The white that these stones bring throughout the concrete reflects the crisp white exterior. This is also complimented by the lime chip used throughout the gardens and paths as mulch.

A row of chamaedorea costaricana to screen the neighbours. Underplanted with philodendron xanadu.

Wind-hardy feature rhopalostylis chathamica planted along the front fence.


Trachelospermum jasminoides clipped as a replacement for the classic buxus hedge.

Key Plant Selection

  • Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine)
  • Ligularia reniformis (tractor seat plant)
  • Philodendron xanadu
  • Chamaedorea costaricana (Costa Rican bamboo palm)
  • Arthropodium cirratum (rengarenga lily)
  • Rhopalostylis chathamica (Chatham Island Nikau)
  • Howea forsteriana (Kentia Palm) — Entrance feature palms

Hardscape Specification

  • Exposed aggregate concrete with Uruti stone

An exposed aggregate concrete path bordered with arthropodium cirratum (left) and ligularia reniformis (right).


PARKER is a landscape architecture company based in New Plymouth, New Zealand.