Mark Read & Richard Neville

Mark Read & Richard Neville


Natural Habitats


Mark - 09 970 3480 Richard - 09 926 5247



Garden: Lingarth Street, Remuera

A tricky, tight site, but with huge potential that wasn’t realised for the family has been transformed into a magical space that has the neighbour’s children asking their mum “can’t we go next door, their garden is like a resort”! The clients’ brief to lead designer Mark Read and landscape architect Richard Neville was simply to increase the usability of their outdoor living space and maximise use of their land. “We responded by embracing the natural stream which runs through the site, maximising vistas and creating an opportunity to go beyond the outdoor living space,” says Richard. “The garden is now a place to get lost in thought and relax, in the middle of suburban Auckland. The planting maximises use of New Zealand natives and some exotic species to create a lush, relaxing environment.”

Extending vistas and embracing the landscape was achieved by pushing and pulling the line of the existing deck creating a more usable outdoor living space and pulling the tropical paradise closer. A feature bridge forms a focal point and an invitation to explore. Inspired by a wharf extending into the ocean, the bridge extends over the creek and into the ‘tropical jungle.’ A further connection with the stream is achieved by rocks which have been strategically placed through planting to step down to the creek. They are also a platform for further interaction with the environment by feeding the local eels. The mature kentia palms and nikau palm at the entrance are standout elements which create instant impact. One palm stands over 5m tall and creates instant drama and maturity to the garden. A personal standout aspect of the project for the designers was the entrance courtyard to the client’s house. “This was originally outside the scope of the brief, however the end result adds a huge amount of value to the property and forms a real focal point and statement at the entrance to their house,” says Richard. Beginning in mid-January this year and finished at the start of April, onside was Site Manager, Driaan Van Der Westhuizen, and Leading Hand Ruben Mitchell.

Once completed, the client’s reaction couldn’t have been more positive saying “it was great working with us and that ‘It actually felt weird without Ruben and Driaan being there in the morning’,” reveals Richard. “They have explained that they sometimes sit in their new outdoor living space from when they come home, until late at night when the garden’s feature lighting brings it all to life. They feel like they are on holiday, even though they haven’t left their home.”


Mark joined Natural Habitats in 1988, after completing a Horticultural Science degree, and 2 years of production management. He grew up on orchards, with a strong interest in botany and art. Mark has worked on a wide range of landscape projects including residential, commercial, public open space, resort, streetscape and subdivision developments. He is especially talented in producing innovative, creative design solutions with a strong environmental focus, attention to detail and a flair for designing water features and roof gardens. Combined with this he has considerable experience in horticultural production, project management and budget control.

In the past 20 years, Mark has been the designer of more than 50 award winning entries in New Zealand’s national LIANZ awards, with significantly, 5 major awards.

Richard has a passion for people, design and the environment, making him a valuable member of the design team at Natural Habitats. He has particular interest in resilience through design, embracing our environment’s constant state of change and the challenges it presents. After completing his studies in Wellington, Richard spent 3 years in Australia involved with various landscape construction projects. He has now returned to New Zealand with the practical experience and design knowledge to fit perfectly into the design and build philosophy at Natural Habitats.

Richard recently finished a project for the Children’s Mental Health Ward at Starship Hospital. His design transformed a dark sterile space into an uplifting environment, through organic lines, planting and colour. In 2010, Richard received a Bachelor of Design in Landscape Architecture from Victoria University of Wellington, with honours.

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