Visiting a flower show is one of the best ways to find garden inspiration. Here are our eight of our favourite design ideas from the New Zealand Flower & Garden Show that are sure to inspire your own outdoor living
1. Gimme shelter
Being mindful of the sun’s powerful rays is part and parcel of enjoying your garden to the max. Whether you go for a colourful shade sail or an exotic structure like this one designed by Australian Christian Jenkins, create a sun shelter that also makes a statement in your garden.
2. Just add water
Water has an alluring quality that can turn the most mundane of gardens into a magical space. This reflecting pool surrounded by beautiful Japanese maples says serenity with a capital ‘S’.
Designed by South African Leon Kluge, the garden deservedly won gold.
3. Bee’s knees
Flowers are returning to our gardens big time, which is just as well because without them our poor threatened bees won’t survive.
We loved the flower-filled gardens in The Beekeeper’s Hobbit Hole garden and so did the judges, who awarded it Best in Show.
4. Designer sheds
Forget the bog-standard utilitarian sheds of old. If you’re going to have a shed, make it one with good looks and panache. Jules Moore designed a pair of his-and-hers sheds in two completely different, award-winning styles.
Hers (pictured) is a romantic retreat with a soft white exterior and plantings of gardenias and roses, while his is a handsome black potting shed adorned with antique garden tools. We love them both.
5. Go native
Keep your garden as sustainable as possible by planting natives, but create impact by using them in graceful sweeps.
Finish it off by adding a piece of sculpture as Nigel Cameron has done in this constructed lakeside setting dedicated to his late brother, Ewan.
6. Outside chance
Yes, you can have a fabulous outdoor kitchen/dining area in an urban garden and still grow plenty of plants, according to Ben Freeman of Billygoat Landscape Architecture.
Ribbons of lush planting thread through a kitchen, elevated dining area and daybed retreat, maximising usable space and earning the Christchurch designer the ‘Best in Show – Construction Excellence’ award.
7. Colour up
Vertical gardens are a great landscape device but they don’t have to be green all over. Designer Norma de Langen created a wall of ‘Bubblegum’ petunias in her Pink Ribbon Walk garden design.
These robust petunias from the Proven Winners line are tough enough to cope with the reduced soil levels in vertical gardens, but marigolds and zinnias would also work.
Bring the garden inside using repurposed objects such as oven mitts, ladles or teapots to grow herbs and vegetables as Buffie Mawhinney did with her retro-inspired gold-medal-winning exhibit The Winslow Girls.
We love how Buffie used a bread bin as a propagator for micro greens. Clever.
Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Helen Bankers.