Plant the Look - New Zealand
Have you always dreamt of a Kiwi style garden? Do you wish you could be munching mince toast in Marlborough right now, while Crowded House croons on the oldies channel?
We show you how to create the look of a New Zealand garden in your own back yard.

Kiwi Style Gardens - ancient and rugged

There are two notable - and very different - styles of gardening which come to mind when thinking about New Zealand.

phormiums in rugged landscape The first New Zealand garden style reflects the rugged windswept beauty of the stunning natural landscape.

Some handsome and popular garden plants originate here, that have made their way - like many an intrepid Kiwi backpacker - to distant lands around the globe.

These include red-flowering New Zealand Christmas bush (Metrosideros), known as rata or pohutukawa; bold strappy New Zealand flax (Phormium), manuka tea tree (Leptospermum), flowering hebe, pittosporum, mirror bush (Coprosma), and of course silver ferns.

In the north, more tender Pacific plants thrive, like giant kauri trees (Agathis) and miro or black pine (Prumnopitys).


lupin lakeThere's swathes of instagram-worthy lakeshore lupins and agapanthus blooming in summer, naturalised from North America and South Africa respectively, and making themselves a little too at home in this hospitable country.

These interlopers rub shoulders with big bold native grasses, southern beech woods, and deep timber pine forests in the snowy south.

The planting style is very natural, resilient in the face of ocean breezes and salt spray, and on a dramatic scale - things grow large in this gentle climate.

Plants are grouped in abundance, drifting subtly from one to another without defined edges; and all softened by lush grasses, ferns, and moss.


turfed roofs and green hills

Kiwi Style Gardens - hobbity and homely

The second New Zealand garden style is one that has become world-famous, and that is Hobbiton - the location for the hugely popular The Hobbit films.

They might be fictional gardens, but they're gardens that millions have seen, loved, and associated with the fantasy tales.

It's also a cute and cosy look, homely and down-to-earth, easy to recreate in even the smallest of outdoor spaces.


cosy cottage gardenTrain a climbing vine over your door; plant a little cottage garden of flowering shrubs and tasty vegetables in your front yard; and ring it round with a rustic woven willow fence or picket railing.

Make room for a mossy path, turf your roof with lush green grass (ok, maybe just a patch of lawn!), and you're all set for the Shires.

For the finishing touch, add somewhere cosy to sit, smoke a pipe, and eat second breakfast.


Kiwi Style Gardens - plant the look

plants for the Kiwi look Essential plants to get that Kiwi look in your own garden are phormium, New Zealand Christmas bush, conifers, kauri pine, and grasses big and small.

In your Hobbit house, plant hebes, a hedge of shiny pittosporum and mirror bush, dwarf metrosideros, and masses of flowering annuals like nasturtium, snapdragon, and zinnia.

And don't forget all kinds of ferns - the iconic image of the country, and its people.