Wings Over Water

The still days are when the landscape reveals its true beauty.  For it’s on those tranquil days when a perfect reflection in the lake besides the property reflects the design, effectively doubling down on nature, producing a mesmerising aesthetic that is both real and unreal.  As a place for contemplation and relaxation, it’s perfect, figuratively washing away stresses and burdens.

Planning such solace comes laden with complexity and everything is purposeful within this setting.  The trees planted around the edges of the lake are positioned exactly.  They frame the property and define the setting, whilst also minimising the reflection of grass in the lake itself.  The reflection is maximum sky, adding colour and brightness, with the trees growing from the edges towards the sky, both real and reflected. 

The name Wings over Water identifies with the butterfly roof of the house and the Swallow sculpture designed by Simon Max Bannister (Falco Sculpture). Planning such solace comes laden with complexity and everything is purposeful within this setting designed by landscape architect Jude van Brandenburg (JVB Landscape and Design). Also credit goes to Monk Earthworks for the land shaping and pond creation on this stunning site.

Carried in the reflection and planted along the driveway, are a series of LIQUIDAMBAR ‘Worplesdon’This is one of those trees that takes your breath away with its colour. The upright pyramidal form puts on a stunning show as the large star-shaped leaves change from resplendent green to gold, then vibrant orange. The colour show reaches its attention grabbing crescendo when the red, crimson and purple shades come though.  Hardy and deciduous, it will grow to 5 – 7 metres.

Softening the intensity and adding a balance to the aesthetics is the Prunus yedoensis ‘Perpendens’Known for its mass of almond scented white flowers in early spring, as the seasons progress, it changes from the warming orange of summer to the type of Autumn red that typifies the romance of the season.  Known to grow extremely well in Southland, Otago and Canterbury, it has a hardy nature that is able to cope with both wet and dry climates.  Deciduous, it will grow to 5 x 4m.

A more upright Cherry provides a complementary aesthetic.  Known as the ‘Great White Cherry’, Prunus ‘Tai Haku’ is one of the largest and most spectacular cherry trees, with fragrant, large flowers of pure white.  The contrast against the coppery tones of the leaves in spring is quite remarkable and sets it apart as a specimen tree, or it is often used in avenue plantings. Deciduous, it will grow to 8 x 6 m.

Autumn colour is provided by a tree known to some by the slightly misleading name of ‘Swamp Spanish Oak’.  The Quercus palustris – Pin Oak, has a classic ‘garden green’ colour during the summer months but changes to a red velvet hue in Autumn.  The pyramidal habit makes it particularly appealing as the colour licks the sky, like the tip of a flame.  Deciduous, it will mature to 8 x 6 m.

Finally, a solitary Weeping Pear – Pyrus calleryana ‘Autumn Leaves’ makes an appearance close to the residence, with its leathery leaves that change from a glossy green to fiery crimson in Autumn. 

This lakeside residence is certainly unique.  The landscape is magnified by that water, the colour shows of the trees intensified by it, and ultimately – the potential for relaxation is multiplied by whatever factor you care to apply.  It might just be the only care you have when sitting outside on the decking on a still, warm evening.