Good design is a process of elimination. Weigh up the negatives and positives, get the proportions right, and you are well on your way. Where is the best view? Where is there most shelter? I spend lots of time at the start, looking at every option before designing.


This home in The Mount was a favourite project. I am often asked to design land­scapes and swim­ming pools. But this ren­o­va­tion includ­ed alter­ing the inte­ri­or and the house’s façade. I start­ed the whole land­scape con­cept with a curved line, which end­ed up as the pool’s edge. The lawn leads to a semi-enclosed pool deck with a spa. It’s rather nice to look back to the house and get away from it all.

THE START OF THE PROJECT: The house had great bones, and sat real­ly well on the prop­er­ty. It was tucked up close to the road, which left a large plot of enclosed, pri­vate, north-fac­ing land here at the back.

CLEARING THE SPACE: Under the bro­lite exte­ri­or were weath­er­boards in fan­tas­tic con­di­tion, which was an excit­ing dis­cov­ery at the start of the project. They de ned the whole beach the­me for the house. The entire façade was removed, and the lay­out recon gured to max­imise the north-fac­ing view of The Mount.

Bed­rooms were moved upstairs, and the liv­ing area moved down­stairs

BEACH HOME: The enter­tain­ment area is entire­ly cov­ered by the deck. A per­go­la extends fur­ther, so you can sit out­side all year round. Every ele­ment has been designed and con­struct­ed as a whole: the deck, per­go­la, the stairs, balustrades and the sail shade. I use expert car­pen­ters to bring the­se detailed struc­tures to life. It’s designed so that light is max­imised where need­ed, and shade is cre­at­ed to give pock­ets of cool relief in the sum­mer. All light­ing was installed with dim­mers to help cre­ate atmos­phere.

THE CURVE: The whole design of the out­door area start­ed with a curved line through the sec­tion, which end­ed up being the edge of the pool, the edge of the lawn, and the bot­tom of a slope. The line could have devel­oped into a wall, or a path, or some­thing entire­ly di erent. Every­thing evolved from that line, keep­ing bal­anced pro­por­tions for the house and land.


The step, con­nect­ing indoors and out­doors, needs to be just the right lev­el for easy trans­fer of drinks and din­ner. It was con­struct­ed to give a beachy, board­walk feel.
This is the cru­cial view, from inside the house out through the enter­tain­ing space, the lawn and the pool. It’s so often spoiled with a fence. By rais­ing the pool slight­ly and drop­ping the lawn, there’s no need for one.
A semi-enclosed space for the out­door show­er, with tim­ber detail­ing to act as a screen.

Get the look with Mark Cashmore

Swim­ming Pools + Land­scapes + Ren­o­va­tions

POOLS NEED TO BE SAFE. But that doesn’t mean you need a fence round it. I use lev­els, mate­ri­als, slopes, drops and geom­e­try to design pools that look like water fea­tures, feel like part of your land­scape, and are per­fect­ly safe and legal.

ACHIEVE YOUR LOOK BY THINKING DIFFERENTLY. I used white peb­bles in white con­crete as an exposed aggre­gate for the enter­tain­ing area. It reflect­ed light back up into the details of the white per­go­la and real­ly added to the beach feel.

EVERY PROPERTY AND EVERY CLIENT IS UNIQUE. I will con­cep­tu­alise the task and devel­op orig­i­nal design ideas, no mat­ter what size the project. Sketch­es and lots of com­mu­ni­ca­tion are impor­tant.

44a Tay Street, Mount Maun­ganui