Cliff Top House, Queenstown

A contemporary house on a steep site on the shores of Lake Wakatipu

The house is separated from the lake shore by a large natural cliff face, which forms the majority of the garden.



Working closely on the design with the architects, the challenge was to create a functional, safe, yet aesthetically pleasing garden on a challenging site.  Natural stone walls were built on the cliff face to create pockets for planting, and heat tolerant plants were chosen to cope with the rugged environment.

Working closely with the clients and architects the garden was designed to compliment the house and the local setting.  Unrendered locally sourced stone was used to reflect the properties of the cliff face and the stonework on the house, and a schist chip from the same source was used for the pathways through the garden.  Steps were cut into the cliff face and an irregular shaped timber deck is situated halfway along the steep path to the base of the cliff, as a resting point and place to admire the lake views.  A woodland garden was designed for the base of the cliff and a formal courtyard is located on the upper level with schist inlays into exposed aggregate, timber decking, steel pergola and ornamental planting.