Wellington families love getting outdoors and enjoying the beautiful natural spaces we are lucky to be surrounded by. When creating your own private oasis there are a few tips to think about before you start.

Know Your Site

Do a bit of research on your regional climate, What type of soil do you have? Are you coastal? Where do you get the sun longest? What’s the topography of your backyard? Understanding your site will help with your overall planning and plant selection. Consider what your space will be used for, Will you be entertaining, cooking and dining? Will it be a play area for kids, or will you grow fruits and vegetables? Do you have pets? Or is it all of the above? Have a think about what’s most important for the future of your family. These different areas can be broken up into zones. Zones can be defined by freestanding walls, plants, screening, decking, paving and other materials and textures to make a specific area unique.

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Building a Deck

Extend your living space by building a deck or paved area off your living room, dining room or kitchen. Think of it as another room added on to your house. Add cover with a shade sail, pergola or closed roof for an extended outdoor time in the cooler months. A pizza oven or fire pit can provide heating and a focal point. Large bi-fold doors can really give your space indoor-outdoor flow. Also If you have floorboards or concrete floors inside try and use a similar decking, concrete or paving for continuity.

Clean and Green

Go green by using sustainable methods where you can. Start composting your green waste or start a worm farm for a simple contribution. Judging by our last summer maybe have a think about ways to use less water in the garden; lawns can soak up a lot of water and energy to keep maintained so look at the artificial lawn and also look at drought tolerant plants for water saving options. Your local recycling centre may have building materials that you could use for your landscaping project. Eco-friendly living is the way forward.

Screens

We have our fair share of wind and sun in Wellington so consider creating outdoor screening with planting, walls, or a fence to help minimize the breeze and provide a bit of shade in your outdoor area. Screening is also ideal for privacy and can add visual interest to your space, even a small tree can block out a neighbouring window, be a focal point or act as a windbreak. When choosing screening have a think about your neighbours, how high will your screen be and will it cause to much shade? Be careful not to create something that will be too dominant in your landscape.

Plants Matching

Before planting in your landscape refer to your “know your site” research to determine what plants are best suited for your site. Using local natives will help the region’s ecological identity, this is important to keep our natives thriving for years to come. Check out your neighbourhood’s gardens to see what grows in your local area but for great results, you can’t go wrong with use of natives and locally grown plants. Keep your plants well mulched for best results!

Bill Nolan - Homescapes

Article written by Landscape Artist, Bill Nolan

Homescapes provide a landscape design, installation and aftercare service focusing on outdoor residential projects in the Wellington region.

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