Natural design

Before carrying on from my last column about highlighting the beautiful Marlborough landscape in which we all live and play, I just wanted to say thank you for the great response I received from that column. 

It does appear that relatively little is known by us locals about the public spaces owned by all for the enjoyment of all.

I even received an unexpected call from the council thanking me for the column and pointing out that there are 150-odd public parks and reserves in the region that are open to the public. 

If you went to one every other weekend it would take six years to see them all! 

Another great Marlborough landscape is the Wairau River. It is one of many South Island braided river systems but it is one of the most spectacular, it is on our doorstep and ours to enjoy.

I have been to the source, and to the mouth and many parts in-between. It never ceases to surprise me. 

Often, at first glance, it is devoid of wildlife but in the remoter parts as you become accustomed to the sounds of the river you can more often hear it rather than see it.

The river system is varied, from rough tumbling alpine waters near the source, through steep-sided valleys, on to the braided channel system of the wide valley and then to the lagoons by the coast. It is an amazing landscape from start to end and I often take inspiration from it for the native landscapes we create for clients.

These landscapes are as varied as our clients' briefs but when we do design natural native landscapes we ensure they are sympathetic to the local environment.

We  use locally grown plants wherever possible and we try to use locally sourced seeds so they have the best chance to thrive. 

Wherever you live in the Wairau there is a landscape suitable for your location that will blend and merge with the wider landscape and you can enjoy the sustainable, responsible use of your land.

I firmly believe that the phrase ''native garden'' is not appropriate for rural properties. These should be called ''native landscapes'' as the way they merge with and mimic the natural world does not suggest much controlling influence by mankind. 

Gardens on the other hand by their very definition subscribe to the theory that they are controlled and dominated by man and are a more appropriate term for urban use. 

These theories of landscape philosophy are not new. They stem from the origins of men such as Capability Brown who typically transformed English country houses. 

In Brown's hands the house, which before had dominated the estate, became an integral part of a carefully composed landscape intended to be seen through the eye of a painter, and its design could not be divorced from that of the garden.

It is these principles that I apply to my modern, low-maintenance natural native landscapes. They essentially soften and complement the homes of my clients and make them feel connected to the wider Marlborough landscape, which is undoubtedly, and much to our advantage, underestimated by outsiders. 

To this day the whole of Marlborough gets little more than a page in a 300-odd page guidebook and 90 per cent of that is dedicated to the primary industry that supports us. 

I suppose that is a good thing for us!

To which park, reserve or public space you head to you do so for a reason - its beauty, its peace or its space. Whatever the reason surely you can incorporate some of the finer points into a refined space at your property.

Go forth and be inspired!

The Marlborough Express