services | artistic content | testimonials | recent works

RECENT WORKS 2013-2014

Over the past two years we have formed a co operative . working together with Rob Strochdach [Greenman Landscaping] and Jamie Gilgrist [Tigers Eye Services] who are talented , artrisans , carpenters and al-round practical men and seem to be able to say yes to almost everything that could be seen as a bit of a challenge. Check out www.gaialandscapes.co.nz.


We developed a junior playground, with the support of the teachers, parents and a very dedicated groundsman coming to dig and plant...and wheelbarrow stuff around the site a few dramas along the way with the budget as the ground work soaked up one third of it [literally] ... we needed to put in extensive drainage due to the areas history of flooding.... Peagravel was used as a softfall, there is a tunnel and ropes and net to climb and a mound with a maze .. and productive food gardens .and big tyre swing.


Who original premises in Huxley street was redzoned, and for two years worked out a hall The ministry of ED. paid for a portocom to be placed on waltham school grounds ... and we co-created a landscape around it ... treehuts, stream, bridges, foodgardens, mosaic , easy transition from the building to the outside area which allowed for some interesting levels and slopes, a very creative team of teachers and supportive community, and a delight to watch this landscape develop. Check it out for a wonderful example of what team spirit can manifest.

PEBBLES [Nayland street]

The consequence of the redzoned preschool at cambell rd instigated the purchase a beautiful villa in sumner. The new centre was being renovated at the same time we where developing the landscape, an experience of juggling space ,negotiating the clash of cultural differences in how contractors work ... and tight time frames. Rather a lot of chaos ... and finally the opening day to reveal a beautiful environment inside and out ..... an existing big Acer tree[re named the HEAD KNOCKER ] has ropes and swings attached, there is a climbing wall, secret garden, deck around the ancient cabbage tree, little huts, and for the first time, we have installed some fake grass !!

PEBBLES [Cambell]

Got re zoned to green and is now established as a Montessori preschool, we re-enlivened the forgotten landscape.. with new sand and pea metal softfall , added some more stone paveing, a vege garden, new slide and a teepee made of branches from the headknocking tree at nayland street.


Brand new building next to an existing well established preschool in the country [which I have been gardening over the past 4 years] A huge out side area for us to develop.. quite a contrast from a tiny suburban garden We worked through the winter storms and powercuts Rob had his first experience of managing the site while I visited relatives in the uk and japan, .. there are sweeping mounds ,sloping wheel toy tracks connected sandpits,between the toddlar and infants, waka deck, willow house, a community food garden, gum branch fences, waterplay rockpools lots of spring blossom and fruit trees


The landscape HAD a square central sandpit, soft fall mat and a lone Tikouka tree, .. the vibrant NEW landscape allows the children to be imaginative and contented and dynamic and the owner feels he is getting value for his money , there is a village feel to this playground, and we are still unfolding the vision... there is a deck with Perspex for the babies , grassy mounds for the toddlers, and hidy places and various levels for the older children. Also lots of new gardens for them to water and cultivate, and learn the art of grace and courtesy.


A traditional 1960s, playground, with some wonderful established trees, this is stage one of a strategic concept design... we freed up the massive willow tree from its entrapment of an old deck, established new softfall, relocated the sandpit, created a small river landscape ,opened up an area that was neglected to become a dynamic playscape experience Thanks to the optimistic teaching staff and committees enthusiasm and a very successful working bee.


I redesigned some of the existing playground and the first stage of this has been developed with a bridge and waterplay and expansion of the sandpit, and a raised macracarpa food garden that makes a boundry between the sand and grass area.


Another redesign that will expand the existing ground into a more fun and experiential atmospheric place for the teachers and childrens enjoyment.


Our on going work and layering into the landscape and the caring for the existing micro sanctuaries continues .. with CPIT EARLY LEARNING CENTRE , E.TIPU.E.REA , NOVA MONTESSORI , COURTYARD MONTESSORI with Katie and Ema This is a maintenance service..that keeps refreshing the energy of the playgardens [plants, mulch, food, watering, sweep, tidy, review and add too] along with the idea that we can encourage the teachers to get involved in helping the children to look after their garden, and unpacking the curriculum around Te Whiriki Big emphasis is to get more food growing The children are the future guardians of the earth It is our responsibility to gift them the knowledge

This year 2014 and 2015 are allowing opportunity to create some sanctuaries in private gardens .. and im excited to be developing a theraputic garden for an agency in ChCh.


John Allen - Elementals
Designer Gardens & Landscapes
Global gardening consultant
No place on Earth too far to go

Phone: +64-3-328-8977
Mobile: +64-21-365-966
Email: john@elementals.co.nz