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Inside out

Posted on Dec 11, 2012

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By Karen Pasco

Creating a number of outdoor rooms means now summer has arrived, the family that lives in this Canterbury home can practically live outside.


For Dave and Jacqui Williams and daughters Grace and Amber, the creation of a variety of “rooms” at their Ladbrooks home, just south of Christchurch, enables them to make the most of the long and balmy days.

“The Canterbury weather is so unpredictable, so we developed different areas for all the wind directions, this has us outside enjoying the surroundings instead of the family being inside on computers and in front of the TV,” Jacqui says. “The areas have also been made big enough to accommodate large gatherings of friends and family. Being in a country location it’s nice for people just to come and enjoy.”

Pathways, alcoves, immaculate gardens, petanque court, hedging, children’s play zone and even a woodland area have all been incorporated into the design. In all, 25,000 plants have been set into the gardens. Chairs have been tucked into private and more exposed places, so people can sit back and enjoy the results achieved through the hard work and imagination of this family.

“We firstly started our five acres of gardens in 2004 and then four years later built the house. We initially approached two of Christchurch’s leading designers to complete our design.

It was 2008 and the building boom was on, we got no response from the designers so we did it ourselves and had a landscape company check our ideas and put in the permanent structures. We have always done our plant plan.”

The most utilised space is the area just surrounding the house. Here there is a shaded lounge area, swimming pool and spa and an outdoor dining alcove complete with pizza oven and barbecue.

It is here there have been make your own pizza nights, rotisserie roast birthday dinners, children’s pool parties and the annual New Year’s Eve celebration which includes the tightly contested cricket game on the expansive front lawn.

These memories have been made because of the adaption of the outer space, a space which only five years ago was a sheep paddock. Creating areas for people to each do what they want, while still being conveniently close to each other.

The inclusion of an outdoor lighting and integrated sound system means the day easily stretches into night for those afternoon gatherings which just keep on going.

However this is a project that is never finished. There is now mention of a fire pit near the petanque court and a new dining area tucked around the corner which will completely evade the persistent north-westerly wind as well as a water feature and pond with a jetty – more spaces to ensure they make the most of their outdoor living.

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