If you're renovating to sell, what you do inside should be mirrored in the improvements you make outside, says Sue Wake, senior lecturer, Landscape Architecture at Unitec Institute of Technology.

For example, if you are creating strong indoor/outdoor flow from living areas, follow that into the garden with decks, courtyards or patios that invite outdoor dining and entertaining.

The spatial arrangement is important to get right first, and an integrated design approach for the whole area always gives a much more coherent and functional outcome than piecemeal decisions and spontaneous purchases, says Wake.

Your plants, hardscape materials such as paving and edging, and other items such as furniture, pergolas, fireplaces, hammocks and raised vege gardens need to complement the overall concept, says Wake.


These can make or break the space and should be chosen carefully to meet your requirements and site conditions such as soil, aspect, and shading, says Wake.

"This is similar to designing and outfitting indoor spaces, with the difference being that plants are living and growing. So thought needs to be given to their requirements and ultimate size."

Gemma Hignett, marketing manager at Tui Products, says one of the biggest trends in Kiwi gardens is the "edible food forest". This involves planting fruit trees, berries, vines and vegetables.

Dwarf varieties of these plants for smaller gardens are flying off the shelves this year, says Hignett.

Raised vegetable gardens, vertical gardens and pallet gardens are also on trend with homeowners and buyers, says Hignett. "People love growing vegetables and (fruit) trees, knowing where their food comes from and having that connection back to nature. It's a good selling point."

Tui is also seeing a movement towards edible hedges such as Feijoa and blueberry.

When it comes to choosing a landscaper, this needs to be done carefully, says Wake.

Garden designers/landscapers' qualifications need to be checked carefully because the industry is largely unregulated.


Wake says: "Ask to see previous work, both on plans and installed. Good professionals will come up with creative special solutions for you and material and plant selections to complement this and match your requirements.

"The Garden Design Society of New Zealand website has an image gallery and lists some experienced designers.

"Agree a scope of work and price to draw a concept plan," says Wake. "Be clear about your ultimate budget as you don't want to pay for a concept plan that specifies things way outside your budget."

Unitec offers an eight-week garden design short course in the evenings and a six-month fulltime online certificate.

There are also a fulltime diploma and Bachelor of Landscape Architecture for anyone considering garden design/landscaping as a career.