You’ve found the perfect plants for your balcony – right colour, shape, texture - but will they survive? Have a read of these handy tips before you get started.
There are five main factors that influence how well your plants will thrive.
Simple really when you know how!
Knowing the conditions affecting your balcony is probably the most important factor in ensuring the success of your garden. Do you face north, and get day long sun? Is it windy? Is your apartment enclosed or open?
If hot and sunny think of structural plants like succulents (the fan aloe is especially impressive) and birds of paradise, or the simplicity of native grasses, the colour of daylilies, or the formality of clipped buxus or westringia balls. These are also tolerant of wind. Don’t forget the vegies and fruit trees!
Shady balconies may seem challenging, but try camellias, hydrangeas, jasmine or buxus; variegated plants brighten up these spaces. Group your planters and layer your plants to create mini micro-environments.
Before choosing planters, check weight restrictions for your balcony. Consider double skinned planters (the planter seems large but it only has a small planting vestibule) which also protect the plant's roots from extreme heat (dark planters also attract heat); or think about light-weight planters and don't forget the weight of the appropriate soil. Saturated soil can increase planter weight considerably! Drainage holes are essential except for indoors or enclosed balconies – be careful not to overwater these though as excess water cannot drain out!
As potted plants rely on the small amount of soil around them, it always pays to use the best potting mix you can. It should be free draining for succulents, orchids, etc., and water retentive for most other plants. Planters should only be slightly larger than the existing pot. And don’t forget mulch, especially if your plants have high sun exposure as it helps prevent water evaporation.
Watering and Feeding:
You can use self-watering systems (only for plants which require more moisture), and open balconies may utilise irrigation systems, or else you can develop a watering regime yourself. It’s fun checking on your plants. And it's a really good idea to invest in a quality water meter.
Just like watering, feeding is best done on a regular basis, especially during the growing season. Plant foods are either organic (natural) or inorganic (man-made). Organic ones tend to condition the soil and plant, while inorganic fertilisers provide nutrients but don’t improve the soil. If you only want to fertilse once a year, the latter is for you!
Now that your garden is complete, you want to keep it looking perfect.
Most plants simply require removal of dead or unhealthy branches and flowers. Some require regular pruning or formative shaping, and you may have to re-pot if your plant outgrows its planter after a few years. This can put people off planters, which seems a pity, so be clear about what type of maintenance you find acceptable. Balcony gardens tend to be less work – think minimal weeding! – but there is no such thing as a “no-maintenance” garden (unless you have a handy gardener!). There is such a thing as low maintenance however; there are plenty of plants that don’t mind missing the occasional water or feed and don’t need much titivating.
For low maintenance planting steer clear of fruit trees, roses and buxus balls. Instead choose succulents, plants which only need an annual trim such as grasses and some shrubs kept in their natural forms, evergreen trees, and architectural plants like birds of paradise.
The good news is that whatever plant you choose, tending your garden connects you with the great outdoors and makes you take the time to smell the roses, literally!
Written by Kathy Peake, owner of Eden Landscapes Ltd, M 029 256 6312
Unsurprisingly, balcony and outdoor room design has evolved exponentially with the increasing popularity of apartment living. People are becoming more discerning regarding this special space and the good news is that there is an abundance of furnishings available with which to stamp your style!
So forget your old cumbersome furniture, at least until you decide how you will use this space and ensure it will work!!
You may decide you would like a dedicated entertaining room with a dining table and BBQ, or that you only need a small table and chairs to have your morning coffee, or perhaps a couple of lounge chairs for relaxing and kicking back is more you.
Draw an outline of the furniture to scale on the floorplan of your balcony to ensure it works. Is it the right size, is it an efficient use of space? Ensure it is not cluttered and it is easy to move about in the space. How does the furniture impact indoor-outdoor flow? Is the furniture placed to enjoy the view, connect with the indoors and are you protected from the prevailing weather? A bit of legwork now ensures you create the haven you envisage!
Outdoor furniture comes in a variety of materials and styles, the common thread being that it tends to be durable and able to withstand the elements, especially the sun, and of course the rain if your balcony is open. Fabrics used should be suitable for the outdoors, and the same goes for the structural elements – typically outdoor furniture is constructed from aluminium, steel, synthetic woven materials, timber, moulded resin, to name a few. The choice ultimately comes down to your style, comfort and practicality (if you have limited space, the chairs, for example, may need to be stackable).
Finally, there are the finishing touches which will personalise your space. Use soft furnishings (cushions, etc) as you would indoors. Remember mood lighting (lanterns and hurricane lights), plantings and artworks. An appropriately sized, well-chosen piece of art (think bronze, stainless steel, corten steel or stone) can create a focal point which draws you outdoors and cleverly links your balcony to the interior.
Left: Paul Dibble sculpture (Tribute to Loss 6, bronze and 24 carat gold gilding, 540 x 300 x 140mm, 2018). Photograph supplied courtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery.
Written by Kathy Peake, owner of Eden Landscapes Ltd, M 029 2566312
Photos supplied by BoConcept
Downsizing is an exciting and fulfilling process, in fact it can be quite liberating. It allows you to simplify your life, shed those items that no longer serve you (think Marie Kondo), and surround yourself with things that you love. Also, with more time on your hands, you will be able to pursue those interests that may have eluded you. Sounds great so far!
So, as you transition from your existing home to your new apartment, think about what works for you and what doesn’t. What do you use regularly, what can’t you do without and which items give you immense joy, and inspire you daily?
Using this as a starting point, explore, get advice if you need it and embrace the journey!
If you want to change your style, some of your furnishings may adapt but others may not. Be familiar with your new floor plan and make sure the furniture fits the space. But above all, love the pieces you have or acquire.
The same goes for your balcony. Many people will have had gardens.
Did you love it or was it a burden? What would you like to see growing and what epitomises your style? Much of this can be achieved albeit on a smaller, more compact and wonderfully manageable scale!!!
Formal? Think about using topiaries (use buxus or westringia balls, citrus and rose standards) and clipped hedges such as buxus, lonicera or corokia (the list of plants you can use is endless).
If a productive garden is for you, why not consider standardised or espaliered fruit trees, or miniature varieties that you can keep in check.
Vegetables anyone? They can be layered, planted in vertical planters, and you can also cram a lot into a small space as long as you are prepared to regularly water and fertilise.
If you prefer colour, flower gardens can be easily created by having a permanent framework of shrubs and perennials and interspersing them with seasonal colour.
And if you’ve never had a garden before, don’t worry, start small. Most balcony gardens only need a few minutes daily keeping them in check, and as an added bonus they will connect you with nature and the environment.
(Always remember to use a saucer to protect surfaces, unless it is a self-watering enclosed unit, and to take into consideration your deck’s weight loading capacity).
Next week we look at outdoor furnishings and how they can be used to maximise and complete your living spaces.
Written by Kathy Peake, owner of Eden Landscapes Ltd, M 029 256 6312
Balconies are special. 10 St Marks’ attention to detail has created generously proportioned, well positioned outdoor spaces with exceptional indoor-outdoor flow that are ready for you to stamp your mark. Being dual-purpose they provide a conservatory style enclosed feel or the more traditional open space when the sliding doors are retracted.
They are the place you slip out onto as the sun rises and the day comes to life for the first coffee of the day, where you watch the rain fall from your sheltered spot, where you sip a glass of wine as the sunsets and the world winds down around you. A place to entertain your friends and family. A relaxed place to just be.
So now that the apartments are finished, the external planting looks amazing, and ideas of furnishings have come to fruition, it is time to address the outdoor space.
Balconies fall somewhere between the interior spaces and the garden and so can take some effort to get right. However, giving this space some thought will result in a resolution that finishes off and adds to your home. This is reliant on understanding how you want to use the space and then how to maximise its potential!
What are your needs for your outdoor room?
Is it an extension of your indoor living space, do you prefer to entertain outdoors, or do you just want to create a haven to escape to?
Is your style minimal, formal, contemporary, eclectic, homely? Your style is what unites your home, and the sense of indoor-outdoor flow is enhanced when the spaces connect aesthetically. Your balcony does, however, allow you to have poetic license and have a bit of fun!
Plants are the soft furnishings of the outdoor space, they provide soft, discrete screens, they guide your view, reflect your interior or complete your oasis. They are in fact one of the simplest ways of completing a home. And besides looking fantastic they also provide proven health benefits.
Balconies are no longer the domain of the old leftover outdoor furniture, or the odd planter that has not survived or not done so well inside. Be inspired. Map out the space. Jot down a wishlist. If you intend to use existing furniture, create cutouts so you can see if the furniture is the right fit for the space. Where do you require screening, and would you like to soften the space with planting? Think through what has caught your attention in the past and use that as a starting point.
But most of all have fun.
If you have lived in a house previously this will be a new experience for you. And by creating your own little oasis, with no lawns to mow, this may just turn out to be your favourite spot yet.
Written by Kathy Peake, owner of Eden Landscapes Ltd, M 029 2566312
The finishing trades are now in full swing and the site has never had so many workers swarming over it!
A cafe operator has also been announced and there is a special offer from BOCONCEPT for furniture, click here to read more.
It was fantastic to have Developer John Harman and his family featured in this lovely article from Stuff.co.nz.
Follow the link below to read more.
The beautiful St Marks Luxury Apartments - Living Defined By Light are nearing completion and there are only five apartments remaining - get in quick!
The soon to be installed St Marks Green walls have won an innovation award form the New Zealand Green Building Council.
Click here to find out more.
Over the past couple of months the build team have experienced rain delays courtesy of the storms that have battered Auckland. Unfortunately the build programme has been affected due to remedial work being required following these events. There have been some delays in glass and glazing procurement and the Dominion team have been making best endeavours to mitigate these supply issues. Dominion Constructors have revised the anticipated build completion to 30 September 2018, with settlement to follow in October 2018.
Once the building is fully enclosed the risks to build programme reduce and the completion date becomes much more certain. More areas on the building have been shrink wrapped to mitigate the effects of any Autumn weather related events.
The first apartment at St Marks has been completed and is ready for viewing!
MAC 101 is now open on Saturdays & Sundays from 1.00pm – 3.00pm so that you can experience the true luxury of 10 St Marks. Feel free to contact the Bayleys team and arrange to bring friends and family through for a look.
The Dominion Constructors team has been battling the elements in 2018, with numerous days washed out as the warm summer brought unseasonal weather event after weather event. Despite the inclement conditions, the team has forged ahead and it was exciting to watch 10 St Marks rise to its full height with the installation of the roof on the MAC/MARK building.
Overall, the building structure is now at 98% complete with only the tower crane void remaining as significant works. The crane will be dismantled at the end of April, at which point work will commence to fully enclose the basement. The aluminium elements of the building façade are now installed to level 4 and glazing work is ongoing. Once the structures are fully enclosed the weather will have far less of an impact on progress.
Installation of the exterior building fins will begin this month, as will waterproofing work to the roofs. On the interior, framing and first fix services (electrical, plumbing, fire and mechanical ventilation) have progressed to level 5, in all buildings and council inspections have been without incident. Installation of the elevators and the electrical plant will begin this month as well.
Natural Habitats has taken the seedlings that they propagated last year for the St Marks green walls and planted them into the frames, containing growing medium that will be attached to the back of the MAC building facing into the Grove.
With more than 5000 predominately native plants, and making up approximately 330m², the wall’s design pattern “features organic swathes with explosions of seasonal colour change”, says Natural Habitats Landscape Architect, Mel Robinson.
“Apart from visual benefits for the development’s residents, visitors and neighbours, the green walls also will have ecological benefits,” says Ms Robinson. “The increased biodiversity provides additional bee and bird food, absorption of contaminants from the atmosphere and the production of oxygen. The walls will also contribute to reducing the ‘heat island effect’ and can help protect the building from temperature fluctuations and UV radiation.”
Kiwis are constantly setting their sights higher when it comes to having the best of everything in their new builds and renovated homes.
These days that could mean increasingly innovative products and to-die-for solutions ranging from vertical gardens to Wi-Fi operated curtains.
More homebuyers are looking for Homestar-rated properties, which spells out homes' health, warmth and efficiency.
The New Zealand Building Code is the equivalent of a 4 Homestar rating. To achieve a 6 Homestar, which is the minimum standard expected by more discerning buyers, new homes must be healthier, warmer and more efficient than the law requires.
Read more from the NZ Herald Article here.
Construction is advancing well at St Marks with the buildings beginning to take shape. Completion is due for August 2018.
Having successfully dug one of Auckland’s largest basements outside of the CBD, Dominion Constructors Limited are making rapid progress towards the roof level of the four buildings on-site.
Localised excavations for building footings was scheduled for the dry months, however the team was hampered by record March rainfall and additional deluges in April. The rainfall slowed the remaining rock breaking activity, and the team had to wait for the rain to stop falling before draining thousands of cubic metres of water from the very large hole in the ground.
Following this un-scheduled work, the foundations could be formed to the high satisfaction of Tonkin and Taylor and Holmes Consulting Group. Once these activities were completed the concrete could start being poured for the basement slab.
Despite the weather, the team are now making excellent headway across the site, with floor slabs poured to level 3 in the Mac, and level 2 in the Mark and Grove. Both retail spaces on St Marks Road have taken shape, with their 3.4m ceilings they are already showing the light filled potential of these very impressive spaces.
The steel work and concrete work continues at pace, window systems are being put into fabrication and the installation of sprinklers and lights has commenced in the basement. The podium on the ground floor is complete, with the exception being the hole that the tower crane occupies. Once the crane is dismantled and the final piece of the podium is installed, the landscaping finishes will begin to be added next year.
The bulk excavation and temporary retaining works are now complete with the team having removed some 5,000m³ of soil and 14,000m³ of very solid basalt rock. The basalt rock was formed by lava flows from two of Auckland’s volcanoes (Mt Eden and Mt Hobson). The teams have moved on to the piling and pit excavations for the lift banks, which are already nearing completion. Localised excavation for the building footings and drainage systems is well underway and the Level 2 basement slab will be poured this month.
Delivery and installation of the first pre-cast concrete panels is scheduled for March and when they arrive, the basement will quickly start taking shape. Once both levels of the basement walls are installed, and the Level 1 basement floor is complete, the space between the excavation and the pre-cast concrete will be back-filled to complete the ground works. We expect to be “out of the ground” and moving on to the ground floor slab by the end of April.
The plants for New Zealand's biggest green walls have already started to be grown!
Development approval has been given! The excavation is nearing completion and the tower crane will soon be up.
Auckland has been propelled into the upper echelons of top cities for deluxe real estate according to research by global network Christie’s International Real Estate. Demand from international buyers has put Auckland in the top spot followed by Toronto (last year’s number one), Victoria, B.C., Valencia, San Francisco with Sydney holding down ninth as the only Australian city.
Home buyers are turning their backs on traditional suburban villas, sparking a boom in apartment living. Building consents for apartments have increased tenfold in five years and figures show one in five people buying apartments are switching from a house.
In 2015 Auckland joined a select group of international cities voted the world’s most livable, ranking ninth in a report by The Economist. The results showed Auckland's increasing levels of desirability across a number of areas such as lifestyle, safety and schooling however availability of quality apartments was not one of them.
A former breast surgeon turned property developer hopes his new apartment project will help Kiwis embrace a more efficient way of living. John Harman has turned his hand to property investment after an accident left him unable to operate. His 59-unit St Marks apartment block will break ground this month in Remuera.
Surgeon John Harman performed the first breast reconstruction surgery in New Zealand and set up the country's first breast clinic. The 63-year-old has become a luxury apartment developer after a spa pool accident last year left him unable to operate.
Leading Auckland breast surgeon John Harman is shaping a new landmark integrated residential community in one of the city’s most affluent and sought-after suburbs. His mixed-use St Marks development is positioned in a premium, leafy suburban location on St Marks Road at Remuera, just southeast of the Auckland city centre, and will comprise three separate apartment buildings organised around a central courtyard.
With 45 per cent of his Remuera development's apartments under contract, prominent breast surgeon John Harman has bought a neighbouring property to enhance arrival and boost views.
He's creating the St Marks community of 60 apartments in three luxurious apartment buildings. The Mac, The Mark and The Grove will be organised around a central plaza featuring a large living wall. Hip Group will run the ground floor cafe-restaurant and separate deli plus residents' concierge service.
Amelia Holmes shares her inspiration behind the interior design for St Marks with Fashion Quarterly.
Turn to page 36 to read more about the beautiful new St Marks development that is to be built.Read more...
Surgeon John Harman believes the centrality which has served his patients for decades will suit luxurious apartments. He's creating the St Marks community towards the upper end of St Marks Rd which runs from the southern end of Broadway, Newmarket, up to Remuera Rd. Its three luxurious apartment buildings will be shielded from the motorway by a fourth building, housing his clinic.
National Business Review
Wednesday October 21st, 2015