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Lockdown has some benefits; it allows us space to reflect on things both from a personal and professional perspective: our life, friendships, family, goals, aspirations, disappointments, achievements and much more.

From a professional perspective, it gives us the opportunity to reflect and delve into what we have achieved, what we could do better and ‘sharpen the saw’ so to speak. I have been doing this over the last 1.5 weeks of lockdown. I have looked at ways to improve my business introducing new systems that will improve efficiency, reviewing some previous projects and reorganising my tools and equipment. Its amazing what you can find in a landscaper’s garage during lockdown; I have vast array of materials and fixings left over from various jobs. A home handy man’s delight!

Lockdown Ideas around the home

I would like to take the opportunity in this blog to list a few things you can do in your garden and around the house whilst you have extra-ordinary amounts of time to kill.

A: Pruning Roses and fruit trees. If you haven’t done already. You want to get this done before Spring kicks in and the sap starts rising.  Here’s some basic principles which will help with this. This can be applied to bush roses and modern standard roses such as the ever- popular Iceberg Rose

B: Fertilising. Good time to get some additional plant food in the ground to help support upcoming spring growth. Use a combination of inorganic and organic fertilisers such as Nitrophoska blue, sheep pallets, blood and bone and seaweed. These are commonly sold in super markets now-days and you can also spread home – made compost if you have any around.

Slow Release fertilisers such as Nutricote which control the release of nutrients over a period of time through a porous coating are another excellent spurce of plant food. These work best if incorporated into the soil at planting but can be applied to the around the drip zone.

Care should be taken with inorganic fertilisers which can have a high salt content to not apply too liberally to drip line (follow manufactures guidelines) and water in well. Organic fertiliser should not come into contact with the stem or trunk as this may promote rotting. Pull back mulch layer prior to applying both of these for improved results.

C: Drainage: Identify where poor drainage occurs in your property. Check low lying areas for puggy ground. Plants that appear yellowish and leaves hanging downwards are also signs of wet feet, particularly after heavy rainfall. Feel free to send me some pics for further diagnosis.

Make a note of these areas and dig in drainage where possible before the ground gets hard in summer. If providing a drainage system is impractical, mounding soil and lifting plants where possible may also suffice. Likewise, improving soil structure by adding organic material to the garden as also a big help.

Lawns can be spiked with a fork and pumice sand and organic material added to improve aeration.

D: Plant hygiene: Clean up plants by removing spent leaves and flowers. Remove build- ups of fallen leaves and debris in thr garden to improve airflow around plants and reduce the harbouring of pests and diseases. Cut back spent perennials. At least one third to encourage new growth.

Two Recent Projects

St Heliers Poolside renovation.

Presented with a tired 1980’s landscape and pool, this recently renovated house was in dia need of a pool and landscape upgrade.

My client had a clear vision on the look of this and we developed a very bespoke design capturing modern landscaping elements which would complement a pool renovation and house architecture.

Key elements of this design were:

To incorporate curved hardwood decking cut around face of pool edge.

Clad existing fence plaster-clad fence with the James Hardie Stria Panel system.

Incorporate large specimen Kentia palms with subtropical planting beneath.

Floating hardwood steps cantilevered over a new block wall were added to create more interesting connection between upper and lower levels.

A Graniflex decorative concrete finish was added around the pool to create a bespoke decorative finish

The existing Pool and built in spa was renovated by Auckland In ground pools See Auckland in ground pool with new coping tiles, plaster system, heating and pump system Copper outdoor shower was also installed for wash down after swimming


The Plan


Glen Inness Rear Courtyard Makeover

My customers, inherited a fairly dysfunctional rear garden when they purchased a new build in Glen Inness. The ground was also heavily compacted with a thick layer of base metal underneath, making planting back breaking and seldom successful.

My brief was to produce a tropical garden area which incorporated:

  • Raised garden planters to break up the space, lift the planting root zone out of the poor soil and provide screening of neighbouring apartment views.
  • Bench seating and patio area were incorporated into planters for relaxation
  • New hardwood deck to provide flow from the lounge and provide an attractive functional space for entertaining and enjoying outdoor dining and barbequing
  • A new high quality rye lawn.
  • Also to relocate the clothesline area which took up prime garden real-estate down the side of the house where it could be hidden from site


The Plan


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Recipe of the Month

Gerry’s Succulent Jerk Chicken

As BBQ season approaches, I thought I would mention this recipe from Gerry which we had the privilege of devouring during this project.

  • This is best done on charcoal coals but can be cooked on gas or in the oven
  • Serves 4 people


  • 1kg of Chicken pieces butchered bone in
  • 2 tablespoons of Canola oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons of Wilsons Jerk chicken sauce (you can get mild and hot depending on heat tolerance)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of 50:50 tomato sauce and Jerk chicken sauce for basting



  • Prick chicken pieces thoroughly all over to help marinade
  • Coat in canola oil
  • Season well and add Jerk sauce marinade
  • Work into meat with hands making sure all of the chicken is well coated with marinade
  • Cover and leave in refrigerator over night at least for best results. The longer you can leave it the better it gets!
  • Prepare coals/gas bbq to an even temperature of around 200 degrees Celcius
  • Place Chicken on grill and cover with BBQ lid
  • Check and turn every 20 minutes basting with Tomato-Jerk sauce mix
  • Chicken should be cooked to internal temperature of 74 degrees Celicius
  • Serve with cold slaw, flat bread and rice