Embedding a new beachfront development into its coastal context.

Boathouse Bay is a masterplanned housing development at the northern end of Snells Beach. At the time of Boffa Miskell’s engagement, the 2.31 hectare L-shaped site was largely undeveloped; containing just two residences and a boatshed.

The client sought to achieve a low-key development, at an affordable price point for those looking for a place to spend time at the beach. Boffa Miskell brought their landscape architectural perspective to the concept design and carried out detail design and technical observation basis during construction. 


Avant Group



Worked with

Crosson Architects
Baker & Associates
Eco Nomos Ltd
Historian - Tania Mace
Warkworth Surveyors Ltd
Hutchinson Consulting Engineers
PT Construction Ltd

Project date

2015 - ongoing


Home of the Year: Boathouse Bay
Housing – Multi Unit | NZIA Auckland Architecture Awards

The team collectively developed a strong unified concept for Boathouse Bay, with the architectural typology sitting within the natural environment we carefully designed. Crosson Architects produced an architectural ‘boathouse’ vernacular, with each residence having its own private terrace / deck outdoor living space. The landscape concept connected these spaces to accessways and shared spaces for the community. It has proven to be capable of supporting the community needs and aspirations. The planting framework of native species provides privacy screening and which will nestle the ‘boathouses’ into their environs. 

The striking headland, the beach and the views provide significant amenities to the site which the landscape proposal seeks to build on and enhance. This is achieved through careful selection of materials, and a planting palette which helps to embed the development into the landscape. 

The landscape design strengthened connections to the beach, coastal reserve and the popular coastal walkway. Boffa Miskell ecologists and biosecurity experts advised on landscape-scale predator control and enhancement of the surrounding headland bush planting, recognising that the intertidal flats of Snells Beach are an important migratory bird habitat.

The focus on informal shared spaces - including both the pedestrian zones and the site access road, is reinforced by the absence of edge-defining fencing or walls where possible. Edges bleed into each other and boundaries are defined by landscape elements such as trees, hedges, rock boulders or subtle transitions between materials. 

The reserve fronting the site includes dune restoration along the foreshore. This is planted with appropriate native dune vegetation communities to ensure natural sand trapping and dune repair after erosion events.