Rick Molino, Ashburton

2022: 2 Baker Parade, Ashburton

Open Date
12-13 Nov. 2022
Garden Entry

Open 10:00 to 5:00


Deco meets Mid-Century

The 1930s original home and 1950s styling of the recent rear home extension both came from periods where informality was becoming more favoured over order. Gardens of the eras employed variation and interest in plantings, plant structure, and generally a clear independent distinction between the main elements and shapes. This garden’s design reflects this philosophy refraining to be completely ordered and linear, enhanced by being a little unpredictable, curvaceous, inviting and naturalistic in its layout.

In order to successfully merge and connect the front, rear and side gardens, the front garden primarily features classic English and Asian styled trees and shrubs of the original home’s era but laid out in a more organic and juxtaposed format to complement the 1950s style being adapted to the rear and side gardens. This delicate balance in respecting with integrity the two architectural periods whilst also creating synergy has been achieved by gently morphing the garden styling, plant palette and placements. This becomes more amplified as you progress through the property where more exotic and highly architectural species and structural elements (akin to the 1950s era) are gradually introduced as you get closer to the rear garden and new home addition.

With the house facing north and quite open to the west the introduction of shade was vital to cool the home and outdoor living areas through use of shade canopy trees. Deciduous forms including Ginkgo, Maples and Magnolias were introduced and strategically located to provide cover in the warmer months while also offering views to their beautiful autumnal tones and maximising crucial winter sunlight in the cooler periods.

A sunny rear garden that already featured a range of hard surfaces including granite pavers, ceramic pool tiles, timber decking and wall cladding post the pool and home builder’s scope of works desperately required garden beds to be introduced wherever possible to further soften the area and reduce glare. The insertion of beds cut into both levels of the decking whose shape mimicked that of the “stepped” archway on the front porch not only satisfies the need for greenery and some colour but also discretely incorporates a key design element of the original home to the rear garden giving a greater connection and some genuine interest.

A key part to the garden’s success is the long garden bed that runs along the rear of the property parallel to the new pool. Being in full view upon entry into the home, not only did it need to reflect the more modern styling of the 1950’s slated for the rear garden, but it also importantly had to ensure a visual connection that complemented the front garden’s styling to maintain the overall harmonious feel. The opportunity was seized to create something more spectacular where the taller plantings are a varied, contrasting coloured group of evergreen and deciduous upright species that comprise Elaeocarpus Reticulatis (Blueberry Ash), Ginkgo “Fastigiata”, Magnolia “Alta” and golden Pencil Pine; whilst the lower plantings of Dwarf Japanese Pines, Rhaphiolepis, Euphorbias, Asparagus Meyerii (Foxtail Fern), Nandina “Lemon Lime” and Zamia Furfuracea (Cardboard Plant) provide an eclectic mix of shapes, foliages and colours which also mirror some of the species selected throughout the property.


The outdoor space is now a series of garden rooms that allure you to look, explore and enjoy; each catering to very different family needs but importantly still all feel as one.

The front garden offers a warm and authentic welcome chiefly aided by its new grand (but unpretentious) bluestone stepped entry from street giving the home a new sense of strength and presence to its surroundings whilst softened by the curved beds and undulating grassed mounds. The rear garden is now a generous and diverse place of interconnecting dining and entertaining areas including in-ground pool that offers a place for various family activities and occasions, each neatly defined by changes in floor levels. The side garden once a driveway is now an interesting, intimate and serene place for contemplation featuring a meandering organic stone stepper path with naturalistic plantings framed by the canopy of a majestic “Full Moon” Maple which additionally even includes a place to home harvest within the randomly located raised steel circular beds. A thoughtfully placed and highly visible Japanese-styled feature garden encased by the home on three sides bridges the old house to the new offering a tranquil transition that can now be admired via large floor to ceiling windows in the primary living rooms of lounge, kitchen and dining; while finally a lush secret garden now surrounds the en-suite bathroom providing a special and relaxing outlook to the space containing many interesting and textural elements.