Who wants a lawn? Wouldn't concrete, decks or a patio be easier to look after?

Not every Kiwi aspires to the Pavlova Paradise dream of owning their own piece of lawn.

For some, the less grass the better.

Barfoot & Thompson agent Tim Mahon grew up on a one-acre property with a sheep to do the lawn mowing.


Recently the father of young children downsized from an 800sq m property in Northcote to a half section in Milford. The new property has just decks.

"It is fabulous," says Mahon. "When you are close to a beach and a park someone else looks after [the garden] for you," he says.

Thanks to Auckland Council's Unitary Plan more communal spaces are being built in the city, says Mahon.

The words "lock up and leave" can be a drawcard. Properties that need little weekend maintenance, such as one he is marketing at 9/31 Verbena Rd, Birkdale, can prove popular with buyers.

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home has decks, but no lawn or gardens. Like many other unit title properties the communal spaces are maintained by the body corporate, says Mahon.

Three distinct groups of buyers go for this type of property, he says. They are often middle-aged or older couples with no, or grown-up children; young busy professionals; and buyers from overseas who aren't fazed by the lack of garden.

It's not just homeowners who are turning away from grass. While some tenants love gardens, many really don't want to be spending their weekends mowing someone else's lawn and tending shrubs.

Tauranga landlord Donna Youngman replaced lawn with weed mat and gravel in one property. Youngman let the property to a lawn-mowing contractor, who is delighted that there is no grass to mow at his rented property.

The type of home that makes a perfect rental is low maintenance.

Owner occupiers who might want to travel are also sometimes keen on as little garden as possible.

More and more homeowners are turning to Tiger Turf as a convincing replacement for grass, says Premium agent Trish Love.

An example is a property she has for sale at 92 Hinemoa St, Birkenhead. "The Tiger Turf gives them a bit of softness and greenery."

The majority of lock-up-and-leave properties with no garden are modern although there are some older semi-detached homes from the 1970s that fit the bill with only decks or concrete.

Sometimes renovators or owners who are subdividing a property choose to replace the garden with decks or patio.

Growing in popularity as well are terraced townhouses. In well-built modern terraces you won't hear the neighbours through the wall and the design gives as much privacy as possible.