Breaking fresh ground

Breaking fresh ground

The passionate landscape architecture team from Eliot Sinclair takes an innovative and high-tech approach to design, but the first step is always a good chat over a coffee.


“There is a lot of coffee,” says Kess Aleksandrova, one of three dedicated landscape architects in the wider Eliot Sinclair team, “In residential landscape design it’s all about the client, getting to know how they live, what they do on the weekend, whether they have kids or pets. All of those things inform the design.”

Established in 1932, Eliot Sinclair is one of the longest-standing surveying and engineering firms in Christchurch with a depth of expertise within the 100 strong staff that only comes from experience. The company specialises in surveying, engineering, planning, and urban design with the landscape architecture team looking after housing developments as well as individual residential design. Landscape architect, Jade McFarlane, finds having the wider team close by invaluable, “It’s great to have planners and engineers just down the hall. If we’re working on a hill site or a challenging location, we can tap someone on the shoulder for advice or to discuss an innovative solution.”


The team collaborates closely on each project. One person will take the lead, working with the client from developing concepts through to completion, but always in constant consultation with their colleagues. “We get around the table and look at each other’s work, discuss options and challenge each other when we need to. Bouncing ideas around helps us work out if we have the best solution for our client,” says third team member and landscape architect, Matt Smink.

In recent years new technologies have revolutionised design and Eliot Sinclair embraces innovation and the use of cutting-edge drone technology, 3D scanning, 3D modelling, 3D printing and augmented reality to show clients how their design could look. “This really helps our clients to visualise and get excited about concept designs,” says Matt. Every site is unique when considering sun direction, prevailing winds, and seasonal change. These factors, along with our clients' lifestyle, are key in creating the best possible outdoor living space. Jade says, “We love it when a project has been built and our clients are really enjoying using their outdoor space throughout the seasons. That’s the result we are looking for.”


Case study: Prebbleton home

The Landscape Architecture team were engaged by the client to create a landscape plan for their rural residential home in Prebbleton. The brief from the couple was for a design that included simple, clean lines, extensive decking, varied open spaces, a central outdoor living room sheltered by louvres, breakfast and spa areas, a custom fire and barbecue and strategic lighting throughout the outdoor living areas and accessways.

“We asked Jade from Eliot Sinclair to undertake the landscape design of our new lifestyle section near Prebbleton. Our family is really happy with our finished space and we use it all the time - we recommend Jade and the team at Eliot Sinclair to other homeowners looking for a high-quality living environment.”
— happy clients of Eliot Sinclair

Led by Jade, the plan included the hardwood decking with a waterfall edge which was expertly constructed by Hoogervorst Architectural Builders. The warmth of the timber deck complements the charcoal and white aesthetic of the building and the planters. An overhead louvre provides shade and shelter, allowing this living space to be enjoyed in any season. The clients desire for seasonal colour and year-round foliage has been achieved by using a variety of evergreen and flowering plant species.

The clients are delighted with the space, particularly the evening outdoor living environment. The kitchen flows seamlessly into the outdoor dining space, creating a wonderful entertaining area for the family and their guests. “It’s the perfect orientation to enjoy a Waipara Hills Pinot Gris in the afternoon sun, with the northwest arch in the background – and that's exactly what we did when the project was complete!” says Jade.

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Elemental Elegance

Elemental Elegance