Coastal Native Garden - Castlerock

By Second Nature


Design, planting implementation and maintenance by Second Nature
Architects: Herbst Architecture 

The site sits on the edge of Whangarei Harbour, with Mount Manaia dominating the view to the north. A magnificent, ancient Pohutukawa sits on the highest point, the last remnant of the coastal forest that would have cloaked the site. Midden mark in time, past habitation.

We started with a site stripped bare by decades of farming on the unstable and poor compacted clay soils.  The land is to be ‘retired’ from production and rehabilitated (that is after the disruption of the house construction). The brief is a coastal garden that is sympathetic to the broader surrounding landscape, that compliments the architecture of the house, consists primarily of native plants,  creates habitat for native species, provides privacy and shelter, allows walking  access around the site and to the beach (and of course, meets the Resource Consent requirements).

One the drivers of the landscaping project was the provision easy pedestrian access around the contoured site, creating a sense of ‘journeys’ to the various destinations around the land. The house, located on a promontory overlooking the harbour, is eighty metres from the car park. The clients wanted to be able to ‘kick-off their shoes’ and enjoy the walk to the house. A journey that, in a very tactile way, marked a transition from their busy professional lives and a long car trip into a more relaxed space that reconnects them with the natural world.  

Extensive earthworks were required to reinstate the site post the construction phase. Contouring restored the natural landforms and enabled the creation of pedestrian pathways to key destinations. Location of the pathways was influenced by the routes taken by livestock that had, for decades, chosen the easiest routes around the property. 

The extensive native planting design is a hybrid between a native revegetation project and a more domesticated native garden. The boundaries are planted with a mix of native trees, with foreground planted in large drifts of native shrubs and groundcovers. The extensive native planting is now established. It is joy to see the natural humus layer being formed under the canopy, succession plants are self-establishing, and biodiversity is returning.

The landscaping of this site has fulfilled the clients brief and has begun the journey towards to enhancing the beauty and diversity of this outstanding site   

Professionals used in
Coastal Native Garden - Castlerock

About the

Second Nature is an award-winning, well-respected landscaping company based in Auckland, established in 1996. 

We understand the importance of turning your dream garden into reality, and that's why we're dedicated to creating beautiful outdoor living spaces. By working closely with you, our goal is to produce great design and help maximise both the beauty of, and add value to, your lifestyle and property. 

Our team of experienced professionals offers a range of services such as garden design, landscaping, project management, planting, landscape construction and garden maintenance, all of which are managed with a collaborative approach to ensure each project is enjoyable for all the participants. Our goal is to take every opportunity to enhance the final result for our customers. 

We have been awarded the 2023 Registered Master Landscapers Landscapes of Distinction Supreme Award along with several Gold Awards over the years, from the Registered Master Landscapers for Residential Project Construction: Over $100,000.

We are members of Registered Master Landscapers and are also proud supporters of The Native Forest Restoration Trust and the Rivercare Group - Te Wai o Pareira.