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Landscaping within community rules

Residential construction continues to pump out new housing developments and living spaces, each of which bring their own guidelines for builders and landscapers

A recent news story covered disgruntled residents living in Hobsonville Point, who were upset at neighbours hanging their washing outside. The complaints said the washing looked messy and broke society rules in the area.

These rules belong to a set of guidelines set out by the Hobsonville Point Residents Society, which cover conduct, noise, and the appearance of each member’s residence. The guidelines state that all house alterations and landscaping (including fencing) must be carried out in accordance with the local body regulations.

Though not every new housing development has such restrictive rules, many sub-divisions and small communities set guidelines for residents to abide by. For instance, Omaha Beach Resident’s Society has outlined a ‘View Protection Area’ in the neighbourhood plan, which sets different rules within that boundary.

Fencing and plants in this area cannot go above 1.2m, with an emphasis on native, locally sourced plants being used.

In Jack’s Point in Queenstown, residential design guidelines released last year placed rules for any homeowners in the area building or renovating their house or landscape. Some of the guidelines and recommendations around planting are:

  • That planting is undertaken during autumn, so that landscape areas becomes “quickly established”.

  • 75% of shrubs and trees shall be native.

  • Planting should flow through from adjacent reserve areas, streetscape or residential sites.

  • Exotic or formal planting should be confined to the immediate context of the house and not visible from surrounding areas.

  • Staking is to be “visually recessive – natural or dark stained timber”.

  • Any bare earth around planting is required to be mulched.

Jack’s Point also requires fencing and gates to meet a certain aesthetic. Stone boundaries are to be restricted to a 1.5m height and made up of schist stone from the Wakatipu Basin with vertical capping or a flat top. Fences have the same max height, requiring dark or natural stained horizontal timber slats or macrocarpa post and wire, mesh or rail.

Kirimoko Park, a recent housing development in Wanaka, also implements its own landscape strategy.

The strategy includes Lot Specific Layout Plans, which identify where its landscaping guidelines apply. This details where decks, sheds, pergolas and other such things should be built and — like Jack’s Point — the heights and variety of plants that can be planted.

Kirimoko Park encourages hedges instead of fences, and states that, should a resident want to install a continuous fence, that it be limited to post and rail fencing to a maximum of 1.2m. The development also requires plans to be submitted to the Kirimoko Park Resident’s Association for design approval.

Examples such as Omaha Beach, Jack’s Point and Kirimoko Park show that an increase in housing developments can also introduce new codes for landscapers to be aware of.

Having knowledge of a new subdivision’s landscape strategy could prove advantageous for some local landscaping businesses, but for those without any knowledge, carrying out work that breaks guidelines could cause issues down the line.


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