David and Sharon Nel’s garden on Leisure Island

The property was acquired a little more than a year ago:  it was an established garden with mature plantings and structures.  With a little bit of reorganising, plants that were in the ‘wrong’ places were transplanted to create an integrated garden of  plant groups. A new garden emerged – bold and stunning!



 This chic, modern garden could  be at home at a Chelsea exhibition. The hard landscaping creates strong flowing lines, the plant choice is limited to only a few species, and the colour choice is bold and vibrant. Colour is achieved by colour in leaf, as opposed to colour in flowers. The result is a garden that is colourful throughout the year and almost maintenance -free. Being a holiday home the brief was to create a garden that will look good all the time in the absence of the owners. The garden is entrusted to their gardener, Trouble, who obviously loves it, and the immaculately maintained beds bear testament to his efforts.



 The pathways lead one to hidden corners; the hole left by the removal of Metrosideros  became a sunken garden, the formal arbour now leads to an artistically decorated pot surrounded by a ‘lawn’ of Mondo grass,  and the back garden’s simple design has created a  distinct Mediterranean feel.




 This garden for all seasons is an inspiration, for it shows that you can succeed in creating a colourful garden without the use of annuals.

David and Sharon Nel
David and Sharon Nel

Text and Photographs: Esther Townsend