gardens should capture the
beauty of nature around us,
be timeless in their application
and help us feel rejuvenated
and relaxed


My desire is to work with you to create a garden that reflects your dreams, lifestyle, and preferences. I understand that a successful project occurs when beautiful design meets an inspired and satisfied client.

A completed project sees some or all of the following benefits:

  • The building architecture and garden integrate as one
  • Garden creates a deep sense of enjoyment and satisfaction
  • Your design preferences have been translated into an inspiring and functional garden
  • Garden has an enhanced and sheltered microclimate
  • Planting arrangements suit your climate, soil and aspect
  • The garden is a safe haven for children
  • There are well designed spaces for growing vegetables and fruits

Scroll down to the PROJECT GALLERY to view images of Carls work.

how carl works

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PROJECT GALLERY - click to enlarge images

Baildon Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland
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The design for this compact city site turned
an existing sloping lawn into a modern
courtyard and usable level lawn. Fences
were reconstructed, planting simplified
and modernised, and paving slabs laid to
improve accessibility.

Contemporary Rural Garden, West Melton, Canterbury
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Richard and Natasha, with their design
background, had high expectations to create
something stunning and sustainable. I set
about creating a brief, which incorporated
Richard’s desire for contemporary outdoor
spaces with Natasha’s love for growing food.
The resultant design, being completed in
stages, was in Richard’s words "a plan that
both was genuine to Eco and Permaculture
principals and had a strong architectural
visual base. The whole process was seamless
and effortless. Carl always listened and was
able to at times do what would seem the
impossible. From general concept to detailed
drawings and specification he was totally
professional and inspirational. He has earn't
our complete trust and respect through the
whole process"

Richmond Road Grey Lynn
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A back yard transformation to include a
concrete pool with in-built spa and lawn
area. The pool and spa had to be carefully
fitted into a particularly tight site without
feeling overly dominant, and while retaining
the existing courtyard area. We worked with
the landscape contractor and pool builders to
facilitate the planning process with Auckland

Westbourne Road, Remuera
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I designed this garden as a series of terraced
beds to accommodate the slope on site and
make use of a forgotten corner. The nikau
palm was saved by containing it in a garden
bed wrapped in a curved plaster wall.
Here is what the client wrote for me:
"To Whom It May Concern, I have recently
had my property completely re-landscaped
by Silverfern Landscapers. In order to get
this done I consulted Mr Carl Pickens,
Landscape Architect, to provide me with a
plan. The result has been outstanding. It
has amazed not only myself but all my
friends and family. The property now
utilises all its areas to the utmost and is a
joy to look at. I also found Carl very easy
to deal with, amenable to my suggestions
but able to lend his expertise and make the
major changes. I, therefore, can recommend
him for any further works without any
." Yours Sincerely, John de Geus.

Larchwood Ave, Grey Lynn
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This design improved what was a tired and
under-utilised garden space. Paving was
designed with a sweeping curve to soften the
straight lines of the building. A water feature
was included as a focal point and existing
palms were retained. Here is what the client
wrote for me:
"After trying and falling with a number of
landscapers and designers we asked Carl
to help us with our landscape design. The
result is fantastic and has transformed a
garden area that we couldn't use into a
stunning outdoorarea.
I highly recommend him

Hepburn Street, Ponsonby Villa
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Working with Siverfern Landscapes in
Auckland, Carl produced water feature
designs for this renovated villa in Ponsonby.

Cashmere Walkway, Port Hills, Christchurch
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On this steep property in the cashmere hills
I designed an architectural walkway from
the driveway to the front door, a drop of
some 4m. The simple yet beautiful result
using natural timbers captured Ray and
kays imagination. Native ferns and trees
will in time grow high to soften the walkway
and help it feel like it's 'floating in the bush'.
Read what is written about this project in
Avenues Magazine.



Working with a retired farming couple, Carl
produced a Concept and Planting Plans for a
beautiful site in Hororata, overlooking the
Canterbury Plains. Implementation photos
to come.

Wakamarina Valley Permaculture Design, Tasman
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Auckland based clients that were seeking a
permaculture inspired design for their 10
acre block near nelson. Delighted with the
result (we love it!) they pushed on
establish-ing native shelterbelts for shelter
and privacy, using plants I specified in a
subsequent Planting Plan. The earthouse,
food forest, orchard, chook run and
intensive food gardens are still to come.

Outdoor Room, Kakanui, Otago
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Thrilled with the gold medal winning garden
'Take five' at the 2009 Ellerslie flower show,
Philip and Diana engaged me to produce
their own version of an outdoor on the coast
near kakanui. The result was a robust,
dramatic, architectural structure that
blended beautifully with its surroundings.
in Philips own words " Carl provided an
exemplary service, listening attentively to
our requirements and came up with helpful
suggestions. He developed a scheme, which
was well thought out, practical, and provided
for our needs. It is highly original and

Governors Bay Steps, Lyttelton Harbour, Christchurch
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Views from the top of the grass bank over
lyttelton harbour were magnificent, trouble
is Ros couldn't get there. So i set about
planning a series of macrocarpa steps.
This simple looking transformation belies a
difficult manipulation of levels and tricky
earthworks with a digger on site.
Construction was supervised and completed
just in time for her daughters wedding.
These became, emphatically, the 'wedding

Residential garden with water features - Remuera, Auckland
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The design for this remuera property had to
reflect and compliment the strong archi-
tectural lines of the house. I acheived
this using contrasting curves and straight
lines, moving water, natural materials like
stone, and massed colourful plantings.
These architectural contrasts extended
throughout the garden, as commented on
in trends magazine 'we added a weir to the
side of the swimming pool which features
grey river pebbles. the roundness of the
pebbles is contrasted by the striking green
sharpness of astelia leaves. A crushed sand-
stone path also enhances the natural look.

Native Plantings, Waiheke Island
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The native plants covering these clay banks
on waiheke island had to have an elegant
simplicity about them while being tough
enough to cope with the testing coastal
conditions. I used hardy native flaxes and
grasses to achieve an aesthetically simple
look that is in fact, very thoroughly planned.

Natural Garden, Newmarket
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I designed and built this residential garden
straight out of university some years ago.
The client Robyn’s love of herbaceous plants
combined with my use of natural materials
produced a captivating, rustic, almost
romantic feeling garden with different
spaces to explore.

Subtropical Plantings, Waiheke Island
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Using native and exotic plant combinations
in this waiheke garden created a feeling of
vibrancy and lushness. The house itself was
inspired by Japanese influence so I designed
a small balcony courtyard with running
water to complement this theme. Nikau
palms will eventually rise up to provide
some much needed height in the plantings.

Small Urban Garden, St. Marys bay, Auckland.
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Working closely with the client Rebecca, I
produced a design that met all her wants
and needs in a very small series of spaces.
She was particularly enamoured by the
stepping-stones through the lawn and the
raised beds. We even managed to squeeze in
a small deck down the side of the house,
easily accessed from the lounge through
bi-fold doors.

Horses and Buddhism on a 10 Acre Block, Northland


This master plan has been created around
central themes of horse rearing, and a love
of Buddhist philosophy. The resultant design
shows off circular rock gardens and
contrasting linear plantings, all softened by
large expanses of native forest plantings.

Subtropical Plantings, Freeman’s Bay, Auckland


I combined native and exotic plants to create
a subtropical theme for this artist-client in
central Auckland. Happy with the result on
a steep and difficult site, and with all her
wishes met, Catherine could relax on her
second storey balcony and enjoy a bird’s eye
view of the garden.

Retreat Centre Seat, Torbay, Auckland
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I designed and built this seat for an Anglican
retreat centre in Torbay, using timber pulled
from the breakwaters of the Waitemata
Harbour. Looking over the ocean it is a
place to sit, pray, meditate, and connect
with nature.