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Garden Design

Inspiration and practical advice. Design concepts and real projects you can do.

We bring you New Zealand garden design, historic garden styles and the latest ideas from around the globe!

Planting a Native Bank

Design Project: Planting a Native Bank

Water in the garden offers a wonderful element of movement and sound. It can be hard a stream look good, and sometimes the challenge is even greater. When the water is a man-made affair, more utilitarian, more a ditch, than anything else, water and uneven edges often equals scruffy!

Our design decision and the 'how-to' steps.


Coastal Gardens

Gardening near the coast presents a special challenge, and one that New Zealand gardeners cope with especially well! Many of us live on or near the the coast, so salt wind and beach gardens are not just something that weekends are made of.

Climate and conditions vary widely, and different plants will succeed in these various areas, but some coastal toughies will be found in gardens almost from North Cape to Bluff.


Kiwis love the beach - coastal gardens

Courtyard Gardens
Courtyard GardensCourtyard gardens often seem to be the simplest gardens to design, yet these seemingly small, simple spaces have a number challenges to overcome for the result to be successful.

Trees for Small Gardens

A tree adds scale and structure to a garden; its bulk prevents your garden looking fussy and itty-bitty, and it pulls together the various elements in your design scheme.

NZ Native Garden

Native Gardens- here A native garden can be just as interesting, pretty or dramatic any other garden style.... more

Understanding Colour

Understanding how colour affects the viewer and how we can manipulate it in the border brings a whole new repertoire to the gardener.

The colour rules that help when you are planning your garden. Not rules to be followed, for rules are made to be broken, especially in our gardens where we must all follow our own star and make our own choices.


Learning to Manipulate Colour

Learning to Manipulate Colour



Chelsea Inspiration 2003

Chelsea Flower Show Gold 2004

A mass of flowers – inspired by wildflowers but definitely in the garden - was the predominant inspiration running through this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. The wilderness areas were still there, but more gardens showed garden plantings with an abandoned or woodland air. The Best Garden in Show was the Laurent Perrier garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, a flowery woodland planting under dogwoods (Cornus kousa), juxtaposed against a minimalist formal pool and backed by a plain slate wall.

The colour scheming at Chelsea is always remarkably homogenous, with the trend colour for the year being found in most gardens. The Laurent Perrier garden followed this year’s mauves and blues, yellows and creams but lacked the deep reds and maroon found in many other gardens. Plants lit up the dappled shade beneath the four dogwoods , with white through blue into yellow and lime from geraniums, foxgloves, tiarella, tellima, paeonies, Solomon’s Seal, Siberian iris, thalictrum, sweet rocket, and aquilegias.


Garden Style

Classic dry gardening with a Mediterranean touch

Designing in Dry Climates
We all dream of living somewhere warm, hot even, where rain doesn’t spoil the day or the evening barbeque. Those who live in such climates, however, know just how challenging gardening without rain can be. But adapting our garden design leaves us with huge scope for wonderful, vibrant gardens in dry climates.

Design Elements
Steps add drama and ease movement around the garden
Designing with Steps

Our fabulous New Zealand landscape and stunning views come with sloping, steep and even precipitous gardens, fantastic design opportunities and practical headaches.

The transformation when steps are added is dramatic. Adding steps totally changes the look and atmosphere of a garden.

Design Project: Building Simple Steps
Designing and building steps doesn't have to be hard. With good planning and careful work you can create steps that are practical and great to look at.

Design Basics- Using Containers

Containers have role to play throughout the year. In fact, they have even more impact in the months when the garden is less colourful, when structure, form and foliage are more telling and play a larger part in the garden.




More Design and Inspiration


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