​​​​1.4.2 Residential Design Guide (Residential and Special Character Zones) Purpose

This section provides design guidance for developments undertaken within the General Residential Zone, Residential Intensification Zone, Large Lot Residential Zone and Special Character Zone. The guidelines apply to:

a)   Apartment buildings
b)   Papakaianga
c)   Third and subsequent single dwellings per site
d)  Duplexes
e)  Integrated Residential Developments.

As noted within the section 1.3.3 B Design and Layout, if an activity is a Restricted Discretionary Activity solely to Design and Layout matters and there is a relevant design guide; then the activity should seek to address the outcomes sought in the design guide as a priority over any other criteria in section 1.3.3 B. How to use the Design Guidelines

Applications for development within the Zones as described in should provide an assessment against the guidelines outlined within this Appendix. 

As the guidelines are generic, they may not be appropriate in every instance and a degree of flexibility is reasonable and to be expected. In such cases, the creation of an equivalent or better outcome should be demonstrated. Site Size and Dimensions

a) To ensure good overall design outcomes, the site should be of an appropriate size to accommodate the proposed number of residential units and ancillary spaces, such as car parks and outdoor living areas. 

b) Where possible, the site should have an adequate length of transport corridor frontage to allow residential units to be oriented parallel to the transport corridor (refer Figure 1.4.2a).

Figure 1.4.2a: Preferred unit orientation Interface Between Public and Private Land

a) Where appropriate, the site layout and building design should promote passive surveillance of adjoining or adjacent public spaces (including transport corridors).

b)  To achieve this, the following aspects need to be considered:

  • Where possible, ensure units have a public front and a more private side or rear.
  • Promote a clear definition between public, semi-private and private spaces through the use of design features which may include low boundary walls and landscaping as appropriate.
  • Avoid bland, featureless elevations, high blank walls and non-permeable fencing.
  • Where possible, orientate habitable rooms, balconies and entrances towards the public space (including transport corridors - refer Figure 1.4.2b, c and d).

Figures 1.4.2b, c and d: Examples showing public/private interfaces that have been well-designed



Detached dwelling


​Duplex Building Orientation and Siting

a) Buildings should be oriented and located to allow adequate daylight and sunlight to reach principal living rooms and outdoor spaces.

b) Buildings should be positioned to minimise overshadowing of adjoining buildings or private outdoor spaces.

c) Buildings should be oriented, sited and designed to accommodate outdoor living areas, service areas and storage areas as well as permeable surfaces. Access, Garages and Parking

a) Where possible, garages and car parking should not dominate the frontage and should be located to the side or rear of the building to reduce visual impact (refer Figure 1.4.2e).  

b) When locating garages and outdoor parking spaces, consideration should be given to safety for users. 

c) Where possible, driveways should not be located side by side. Preferably use shared driveways to serve more than one residential unit.

d) The design of the vehicle entry and exit to the site should ensure safety for the residents and pedestrians and the safe and efficient operation of the transport network.

e) The design and landscaping of car parks should contribute to the amenity of the development and the safety of users. 

Figure 1.4.2e: Garage doors forward of the front face of buildings should be discouraged External Appearance

a) When viewed from any transport corridor or public open space, buildings should be designed to create visual interest through appropriate modulation, articulation, and architectural expression (refer Figure 1.4.2f).

Figure 1.4.2f: Building design that creates visual interest by incorporating a range of features


b) Features such as balconies, canopies, porches, bay windows, dormers and pediments can also be used to break up continuous building mass and large roof forms.

c) Height should not exceed the relevant District Plan standard unless the particular design will:

i. Contribute to identity and local character.

ii. Add interest.

iii. Where appropiate, create local landmarks. 

d) Where similar buildings are grouped or joined together, visual interest should be promoted through high quality architectural design, including the use of varying design features, e.g. roof form, canopies, porches, balconies, windows, colour and materials. Private Outdoor Living Areas

a) Private or communal outdoor living areas should be located either to the north, east or west of the residential unit, readily accessible from a living area within the residential unit (refer Figure 1.4.2g). The private outdoor living area may be at ground level or an upper-storey balcony.

Figure 1.4.2g: Example of a functional, usable and private outdoor living area

b) Outdoor living areas should be sited and designed to ensure safe use.

c) Outdoor living areas should be of appropriate size and dimensions to suit both occupancy and residential unit type. Regard should be given to available shared outdoor space (for multi-unit development) and the proximity of the site to a public open space.

d) Outdoor living areas should be should be located and designed to achieve an adequate level of visual privacy, protected from being overlooked from windows and private outdoor living areas of adjacent residential units. Responses could include: 

i. The shape and position of buildings, spaces and windows.

ii. Varying levels.

iii. Separation distance.

iv. Screening such as hedges.

v. Offset and high sill windows.

vi. Opaque glass. Landscaping and Vegetation

a) Where possible, existing mature trees should be retained where they contribute to site amenity.

b) Landscaping and vegetation should complement the layout of the site and the buildings. Acoustic Amenity

a) Attached dwellings should be designed to minimise sound transmission between residential units. 

b) Noise-producing activities such as driveways and/or car parks should be separated from bedroom windows of adjacent residential units.

c) Residential units should be designed with appropriate acoustic treatment to maintain residential amenity. Service Areas

a) Outdoor service areas should be provided for solid waste and recycling storage without creating adverse visual, noise or odour effects for residents or neighbours.

b) The waste and recycling storage in outdoor service areas should be easily accessible for residents and collection agencies. Water Efficiency

a) Water-sensitive techniques should be used where possible.

b) Sites should ensure a sufficient area of permeable surface to manage the volume of stormwater entering the reticulated system (e.g. through stormwater collection and detention); or be able to provide alternative stormwater solutions. 

c) Landscaping should be used to minimise and control the impacts of stormwater run-off. This could be through use of vegetation filtration techniques (e.g. swales and rain gardens, refer Figures 1.4.2h and 1.4.2i)​ and choosing appropriate plant species.

d) The reuse of water including grey water should be considered and adopted where appropriate. (Also see Waikato Regional Council requirements.)

Figures 1.4.2h and i: Examples of swales to manage stormwater (from Hobsonville and Long Bay, Auckland)

  Integrated Residential Developments

​In addition to the above design guidelines, the following should be considered when preparing and assessing a resource consent application for an integrated residential development:

a)   Developments should be designed to minimise adverse impacts on neighbouring sites, the streetscape and the character of the area.

b)   This includes, where applicable, consideration of building height and the impact on views and vistas to and from the site and the natural landform.

c)    The built form should be residential in nature and scale and where possible avoid excessive repetition of architectural styles.

d)   As much as possible, developments should have a unique identity and sense of place whilst respecting the character of the surrounding context.

e)   Developments should be designed in a way that provides an appropriate level of on-site amenity through the use of landscaping and communal open space, building placement and maintaninance of privacy.

f)    Access arrangements should be carefully considered, including the provision of rear access lanes and ensuring garages do not visually dominate.

g)    Developments should ensure an integrated service space is provided and that it is easily accessible.

Page reviewed: 13 Mar 2018 10:16am