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accent pillow case baby canvas home decor This family turned their Gisborne garden into the ultimate entertainer's area sofa pillow covers

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A bare piece of land outside of Gisborne is now the ultimate spot for family living and entertaining thanks to years of determination and hard work

A bare paddock and a vision for the future are at the heart of many a good Kiwi tale and that was definitely the case for Jo and Phil Ware, who returned from their obligatory OE in London dreaming of big New Zealand skies and rolling green pastures.

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Jo and Phil say making sure their garden was accessible for everyone to enjoy was key to their plans and it’s the one thing they’re most proud of. They love cooking outdoors, swimming in the pool, and being able to see their family and friends enjoy the fruits of their Herculean effort in establishing the garden. It is all the reward they need.

But this is a never-ending story and change is a constant at the Ware household. Ideas they are currently mulling over include a platform in the gully, more of their famous hedgingaccent pillow case baby canvas home decor, and planting yet more natives to encourage the birds.

Jo and Phil’s garden will be open to the public as part of the Gisborne Garden and Arts Festival in November.

Wordsby: Tina Stephen. Photography by: Sarah Horn.

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The hedging has turned out to be a significant and often-admired feature but does require extensive trimming several times a year, a skill Phil has had to master.

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Jo and Phil, pictured here with their boys, Cooper, 5, and Fletcher, 9, and Tank the dog.

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A barely used area at the back of the house has been turned into a courtyard where the family can catch the afternoon sun and ferry food and drinks easily through an adjacent kitchen window.

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A beautiful saltwater pool was added at the front of the house four years ago. Glass fencing ensures the home’s amazing views remain unimpeded.

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The original plan was to plant only natives, but after plenty of thought Jo and Phil decided to incorporate some exotics, including the ever-versatile Portuguese laurel as hedging.

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The family began surrounding themselves with a small forest of natives, taking care to retain their spectacular views

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A bare paddock and a vision for the future are at the heart of many a good Kiwi tale and that was definitely the case for Jo and Phil Ware.

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The hedging that runs along the steep side acts as a safety barrier and avoids having to clutter the view with fencing. It also integrates the pool seamlessly into the garden beyond.

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They now have more than 60 species, including titoki, mamaku (black tree fern) and Chatham Island nikau, some of which are now developing their own micro-climate.

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Paths have become a vital part of the garden, both for maintenance purposes and to encourage visitors to explore.

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After the house was finished in October 2006 and they had moved in, the couple commenced phase two: a few years of “phenomenal grass planting”.

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Jo and Phil say making sure their garden was accessible for everyone to enjoy was key to their plans and it’s the one thing they’re most proud of.

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Jo and Phil plan on?planting yet more natives to encourage the birds.

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The garden is an ongoing project and passion for Jo and Phil.

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