Waikumete Cemetary Burial Ground Structure

In 2017 Carl Pickens assisted Nick Robinson with the design of a pergola structure with wheelchair access at Waikumete Cemetery in Auckland. The pergola with connected rain garden serves as a gathering place for Auckland Councils new flagship natural burial ground. Natural (untreated) timbers of macrocarpa and lawsons cypress were used to compliment the natural … Read more

Mt Eden Stairway

The design of this stairway on the eastern side of Mount Eden was influenced by the presence of 400 year old pohutukawa tree roots underground. A large water pipe under the stairway is supported by steel pedestals at specifically engineered points to avoid damaging these tree roots. Carl designed an elevated walkway to accommodate the … Read more

Port Chalmers Community Garden

Port Chalmers Community Garden was designed by Carl Pickens in 2008 after meeting with community garden co-ordinator Nicola Bould in Dunedin. A group of enthusiastic volunteers were wanting to lease land at a Port Chalmers site but needed a plan for application to council. Despite there being no money available, Carl gave his time voluntarily … Read more

Kaipatiki Project Hobsonville

Kaipatiki Project Hobsonville is a native plant nursery and environment centre on Auckland’s North Shore. In 2020 Carl was commissioned by Kainga Ora to create a Redevelopment Plan for the site. Design components include a new building designed by Isthmus group, an expanded nursery with propagation facilities, a covered teaching space, stormwater mitigation including a … Read more

Redoubt Rd Totara Vale

This food forest in Auckland has been designed on a half-acre sloping site with existing kikuyu grass. Carl’s design is centered around a series of contour strip tree plantings with productive trees and companion species on mounded beds to assist drainage in heavy clay. An organic approach has been taken to remove kikuyu grass which … Read more

Rukutai St Orakei

In 2017 Carl designed this garden in Mission Bay Auckland for a client who expressed an interest in permaculture and wanted to maximise space for growing food. With a steep slope to contend with, Carl decided on terracing to create level areas for fruit trees, vegetables and berry plants. The balance of steep slopes were … Read more

Hohepa Farm Canterbury

Carl studied organic growing at Canterbury Polytechnic in 2004 before going on to manage the horticulture unit at Hohepa Farm Canterbury in 2005 and 2006. Carl’s responsibilities included looking after 4 acres of intensive and open field vegetable production, a heritage apple and pear orchard, windrow composting, 4 x 30m tunnelhouses and the packhouse, all … Read more

Baildon Rd Grey Lynn

This residential garden in Grey Lynn was designed by Carl Pickens in 2013. A key aspect of the design involved a basement house extension and the question of how to access a lawn area some 3m above. Views out from the basement also needed addressing. Carl decided on terracing this 3m level change using timber … Read more

Westbourne Road Newmarket

Carl designed this Newmarket garden in 2013 while working as a contract designer for Silverfern Landscapes in central Auckland. It presented several challenges including the need to retain a mature nikau palm and how to transition parking and pathways over several levels. Carl designed raised beds made of (stained) black timber to accommodate level changes … Read more

Amuri Retreat Hamner

In 2010 the owners of Amuri Retreat Hamner engaged Carl to design an outdoor dining room for guests together with amenity plantings. Carl designed a roofed structure for dining which captured views while providing shelter, and emphasised the use of naturally occurring tussock grasses. These clients engaged Carl after seeing his award winning garden with … Read more

Tuparekura Rd Kaipara

This lifestyle block near Shelley Beach Kaipara District was exposed to prevailing SW winds and required shelter planting when Carl became involved in 2014. Carl’s design addressed the need for planting along the southern boundary and low maintenance courtyards to the north of the house. Carl and his team planted shelter species in plant guards … Read more

Takatu Rd Matakana

This rural block in Matakana was undeveloped sloped paddocks and exposed to prevailing winds  when Carl got involved in 2016. The brief was to establish shelter, create usable space / a productive landscape and retain grazing for alpacas. Carl designed a series of north-facing terraces with combined retaining and 1 in 3 planted batters. Terraces … Read more

Ellerslie International Flower Show 2010

Carl Pickens designed and built the Silver Distinction Award winning garden ‘Peace by Piece’ for the 2010 Ellerslie International Flower Show in Christchurch. This garden asked a simple question….’what can we do to make the world a better place?’ Carl invited people all over New Zealand including school children in Christchurch to answer this question. … Read more

Ellerslie International Flower Show 2009

Carl Pickens designed and built the Gold Award winning garden ‘Take Five’ for the 2009 Ellerslie International Flower Show in Christchurch. Designed to be applicable at residential garden scale, the garden emphasized 5 main pillars of sustainability: use water wisely / source sustainable materials / restore native plants / go organic / minimize waste. This … Read more

State Highway 2 Whakatane

This Whakatane lifestyle block presented a steep clay bank scenario that needed visual improvement by way of planting. The bank was almost vertical in places and subject to periodic frost, cold winters and drought in summer. Carl specified the hardiest of native plants including a mix of coprosma groundcovers with contrasting astelias for architectural effect. … Read more

Paewhenua Island

In 2015 Jo and Richard Beddek engaged Carl to design their coastal lifestyle block in Paewhenua Island, Northland. Carl was bought in early to help position the Box Architecture house and capture stunning ocean views. Battered slopes behind the house were designed to create a vehicle turning area for boats and these slopes were planted … Read more

Bells Road Canterbury

Canterbury Lifestyle Block Permaculture Landscape Architecture

The design for this lifestyle block in Canterbury evolved over several years. Richard and Natasha owned a house build company (Benchmark Homes) and had a strong design background. They had high expectations of what could be achieved. The design brief combined a mix of Richards love for architectural form with Natashas passion for native plants. … Read more

Collingwood Street Ponsonby

Carl designed this residential garden in 2013 while working as a contract designer for Silverfern Landscapes in Auckland. The client had an affinity for subtropical plants and Carl responded with plantings of michelia, ligularia and bromeliads contained within formal concrete edging. He balanced the concrete using soft rounds of Waikato pebble in the pathways. Ligularia … Read more

Richmond Rd Grey Lynn

Carl designed this residential garden with swimming pool in 2013 while working as a contract designer for Silverfern Landscapes in Auckland. The brief included a pool with integrated spa that had to fit a tight rear garden space, a lawn area for the kids and the need to retain an existing courtyard. Carl designed the … Read more

Early Auckland Projects

These residential projects were designed, project managed and in some cases built by Carl between 2000 and 2005 in the Auckland region. They reflect an early appreciation for natural materials, recycled timbers and simple contrasts of colour and form. These early projects in which Carl was often directly involved in the build helped him gain … Read more

Moorea Tahiti

In 2015 Carl was flown to Tahiti by Claud Akers to design a permaculture property on the Island of Moorea. Carl spent 6 days in Tahiti visiting local permaculture farms and surveying Clauds one hectare property. The resultant design includes a strategy for managing water flow / mitigating flood risk during the rainy season, extensive … Read more

Workshops and training

Carl Pickens regularly teaches in the realm of permaculture and organics. He has presented at the University of Canterbury, Environment Canterbury, NZILA Auckland branch, Ecomatters Environment Centre, Kaipatiki Project and the NZ Garden Design Society. Carl regularly appears as a guest speaker on permaculture courses around New Zealand including Daniel Tohills modular PDC at Otamatea … Read more

The Birdcage Victoria Park

The Birdcage is an iconic bar and restaurant in Auckland’s Victoria Park district. In 2012 while working as a contract designer for Silverfern Landscapes, Carl was commissioned to design the exterior courtyard for patrons. Thought was given as to how custom designed plant containers could be used to spatially separate tables whilst tying together visually. … Read more

Kaipatiki Project Lauderdale Road

Kaipatiki Project Birkdale is an environment centre and native plant nursery on Auckland’s North Shore. Nursery plants are grown from eco-sourced seed and used for revegetation projects in North Shore parks and reserves. In 2017 Carl was commissioned to work with Auckland Council, Athfield Architects and the local community on a redevelopment plan for the … Read more