Naturally Designed by Nigel


It was a real pleasure for me on Wed 6 Dec to accompany Nigel on a trip to Balclutha to visit the new subdivision named Plantation Heights with which he’s involved through his company Growplan. Nigel is a Landscape Architect, based in Dunedin and actively working through Otago and Southland, and further afield by arrangement.

— Text and Photos by Liz Cowburn  |  Blog:  Exploring Colour

rsz_plantation_heights_02The subdivision name and its street names were determined early on through a public competition and one of Nigel’s roles was to design the name panels for the entrances and streets. The above photos show the first entrance panel that you see when driving up to the subdivision from Balclutha.

The following two photos show the panel that’s at the second entrance.



It was amazing for us to view the panels for the very first time. I had seen the drawings as Nigel developed the designs but nothing prepares you for the impact of seeing them right in front of you, and seeing the sky and landscape through the cut-outs!

These are plasma-cut Corten Steel panels constructed by Duffy Engineering of Balclutha.

The Street Panels

In addition to the two entrance panels there is a panel for each of the three streets.

Cypress Lane


Monterey Drive


Oregon Place



Nigel designed all the conifer icons and the lettering for the names. He chose the font and customised it for this use, paying special attention to the kerning. The big challenge with cut-out design is to ensure that everything is joined-up and that no ‘islands’ are inadvertently created. He consulted with the engineers at Duffy to ensure that the final designs would work when it came to the cutting stage.

The panels have only just been installed – they were put up on Monday 4 December.

Once we’d driven into the subdivision I was quite taken with this centrally located asymmetric pump station. Looking at the photo again this evening I imagined how good it could look with the addition of a green roof 🙂


Landscape Architect:  Nigel Cowburn, Growplan     Blog   |   Website

Panel Construction:   Duffy Engineering     Website

Text and Photos by Liz Cowburn, Exploring Colour (2017)

13 thoughts on “Naturally Designed by Nigel

Add yours

  1. I like those cut out signs, too! And that the letters are big enough to read at a distance. I hope the sub-division has similar character; the asymmetrical pumping station is a sign it might. What a nice experience for you to see Nigel’s designs come to life.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This really cool. It is nice that Nigel was able to approach this project with creativity–generally we look at signs as merely utilitarian and functional. I like the cut-outs and how they let you see the land behind them.

    Liked by 2 people

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