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Creating a Low Maintenance Front Garden in New Zealand – 4 Helpful Ideas

Understanding the New Zealand climate is significant when beginning the process of a low-maintenance garden design. Choosing the right plants for your location will hugely impact the time, care, and money needed to keep your plants happy.

It is not as simple as visiting your local plant store and choosing pretty plants. Think about where your location is - are you on the east coast or the wet west coast? Does your soil retain a lot of water or does it dry up quickly? Is your garden sheltered from the wind, are there shady spots or is it the full sun?

Many factors contribute to creating a beautiful and healthy garden, which can seem overwhelming. These 9 top tips will help you to make the right decisions when planning your front garden.

Front entrance garden Designed, Planted & Maintained by Sculpt Gardens. 

Easy Care Plants

Plants should be suited to the climate to ensure their chance of survival. Low-maintenance plants will need to tolerate the elements of nature that your location presents. Walk around your neighborhood, and observe what plants are thriving in the area and what plants are not. Native plants are generally the ideal choice for a low-maintenance garden, as they are used to the New Zealand climate. Ornamental grass such as Lomandra & Golden Tussock, groundcovers such as Muhlenbeckia axillaris & Pratia angulata, ferns such as the Pikopiko fern, as well as many other flaxes, shrubs, and hedging plants are excellent options.

New Zealand can experience periods of dry spells, so consider some drought-tolerant plants. This will also help to reduce watering expenses. Choosing low-maintenance, hardy plants does not mean your plant palette has to be 'boring.' Some stunning native tree & shrub options include proteas, manuka, leucadendrons, grevilleas, & leptospermums. Lavender, rosemary, creeping thyme, & sedum are some non-native ideas.

This tropical trio in our Sculpt Gardens design features Ligularia, Bromeliad and Muhlenbeckia

Create a Bin Unit

Your front entrance should be somewhere that brings you ease and comfort after a long day. Being greeted by rubbish bins is probably not going to conduct these feelings, which is why we recommend establishing a bin unit. Designating an accessible but hidden area for your bins helps to create a clean look for your front entrance. There are many options, such as slatted screening, one of our current favourites.

If your garden is going to need some destruction before the magic can get underway, you may want to consider ordering a skip so that the mess stays off the ground and can be easily dealt with. A great option is Skip Bin Finder, which has bin sizes to suit most budgets. 

Use Hardware Surfaces

Using hardware surfaces for the main entrance to your house can reduce the costs and maintenance required for upkeep. If you plan to sell your home in the next few years, this is something to factor in with your choice.

Transforming your driveway can be a big job if the lawn or soil needs removing prior, so you may want to consider ordering a skip. A great option is Skip Bin Finder, which has bin sizes to suit most budgets.

Concrete is generally the most popular choice for driveway surfaces due to its durability and affordability in terms of longevity. However, you may also need to consider the costs of drainage before installing concrete. The hard surface causes the water to run off, which without drainage may result in flooding, soil erosion or water pollution.

Gravel driveways are often appealing due to their low cost and quick installation. They can last for decades with the correct maintenance but will need replenishing occasionally. Weeds that grow need removing, and gravel may need a top-up if it is washed away or develops potholes.

This home features a concrete strip driveway. 

Architect Gerard Hall, garden Designed by Sculpt Gardens. 

Include a Feature Pot

Having a feature pot at your front door signals to people where the entrance to your house is, whilst softening the hardscaping. As well as this it also gives your home an immediate 'wow factor'.

In your feature pot, you will include a "thriller, filler & spiller". Our blog "Top Tips For Perfect Pots" covers everything you need to know to create a perfect pot for your front entrance. In summary, you will want to include a plant with upright growth and statement colour and form. Your underplanting (the thriller & spiller), will cascade over the edging and fill any space in the pot.

Featured in this front entrance pot (Designed, Planted & Maintained by Sculpt Gardens) is a Bromeliad Alcantarea imperialis 'Rubra' underplanted with Spanish Shawl. 

For help designing the perfect pot arrangements, read our blog "Top Tips For Perfect Pots". 


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