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This special, one-off opportunity to visit 20 private home gardens created by some of the country’s top designers is on again! Don’t miss the chance to get ideas from the experts. Just head to your nearest Kings Plant Barn store to pick up a printed programme and buy your tickets.

The owners of these gardens, selected by a panel of experts from the Garden Design Society of NZ, are so delighted with the outcome that they have agreed to throw open their gates for this, the 4th Auckland Garden DesignFest. Held every 2 years, these gardens have never been open to the public before with just one exception, back by popular demand after 6 years. They range from large spaces for family fun to intriguingly tiny artistic masterpieces. Thanks to the incredible generosity of the garden owners, all funds raised go to children’s charities: Ronald McDonald House Charities New Zealand, Garden to Table and others supported by Rotary Newmarket’s Charitable Trust.

Included among the line-up of 19 talented designers are some exciting newcomers, including Zoë Carafice of Xanthe White Design. Her clients’ garden in Point Chevalier embraces the street with overflowing vegetable planters inviting passers-by to stop and chat to the owners as they potter. At the back, Zoe has come up with a family-friendly plan that is deceptive in its simplicity. There are many clever twists to discover if you look closely.


 Garden designed by Zoe Carafice (Xanthe White Design)

In Parnell, Paul Gallagher from Ireland has cleverly produced a multifunctional design for clients who wanted to include parking, a fireplace and covered verandah for outdoor entertaining – all in the limited space of a front courtyard. The complexities involved in getting this right are mind-boggling, but Mace Landscapes has come up trumps, creating a seamless, harmonious garden that you can’t help but admire and feel immediately at home in.

Garden designed by Paul Galllagher

 Also in Parnell is one of Damian Wendelborn’s two gardens in this year’s festival – a small, beautifully executed outdoor area for owners who wanted it to connect more strongly with their indoor space.  In Mission Bay a growing family needed room for their children to kick a ball and romp with their pets. The adults and their visitors are probably more in awe of the remarkable views of the harbour afforded by a large infinity swimming pool beyond the spacious lawn.

Gardens designed by Damian Wendelborn

 By contrast, Mark Read and Jason O’Toole from Natural Habitats Landscapes show how you can do without a lawn altogether and still have a house surrounded by an eco-friendly permeable green swathe that offers interesting textures and depths, thanks to their inspired plant choices. The owners wanted to be able to look out over their garden from upstairs in this two-generation family home and now they can enjoy it all from above, including the seasonal interest provided by a variety of well-chosen ornamental and fruit trees.

 Garden designed by Mark Read and Jason O'Toole (Natural Habitats)

Another lawn-less garden in Westmere offers a different way of creating this effect altogether. Trish Bartleet has used her uniquely creative skills to come up with a seamless garden that flows around a re-built house without a patch of grass. Inspired use of corten steel edging allows the soft, feathery plants to literally flow around the decking and intimate seating area with outdoor fireplace, making it a most relaxing and desirable place to live in.


 Garden Designed by Trish Bartleet

Fancy an escape to Bali? The Australian owner of Matt McIsaac’s garden in Kohimarama wanted just that and now she can experience it every day. Effectively built on a challenging, sloping site, Matt of J M Landscapes, has merged the garden into the native bush backdrop and even created a wide lawn space beyond the subtropical Balinese-inspired deck area. A crowd-pleaser with something to inspire anyone who yearns for the unique beauty of a tropical paradise.

Garden Designed by Matt McIsaac (JM Landscapes)

For something totally different tucked away at the bottom of Herne Bay’s northern slopes, seek out Sue & Colin McLean’s timeless treatment of an outdoor area belonging to a sought-after water-side apartment. Every inch of this design shows the surefooted hallmarks of many years’ experience in the Auckland garden design scene where time and again this couple has demonstrated an extraordinarily empathetic understanding of their clients’ requirements and how to marry those to the unique possibilities of the site itself.

Garden Designed by Sue and Colin McLean

Trudy Crerar’s many fans will be intrigued by her offering of the tiniest front courtyard in St Mary’s Bay, inspired by John Scott’s Futuna Chapel in Karori, no less, plus an historic settler’s homestead garden, complete with a protected well, in Parnell.


 Garden Designed by Triudy Crerar

On the North Shore, Bryan McDonald has been entrusted with the creation of a garden around a Mission/Arts & Crafts family home that would have been beyond the capabilities of anyone lacking his experience and confidence. Seriously challenging, the result is outstanding as always – don’t miss it!

Garden Designed by Bryan McDonald

For some serious indulgence head to Aldred Rd in Remuera where Dilmah Tea will be available in sample cups so that you can wander around this breath-taking garden at your leisure, sipping as you go. Barbara Garrett’s planting skills are second-to-none and she has overseen the transformation of this garden in collaboration with Strass Landscape Design for nearly 20 years. Come and learn from the best.

Garden Designed by Barbara Garrett

Check out the printed programme for details on all 20 gardens and view more images on www.gardendesignfest.co.nz.

You can also order delicious Picnic Box lunches on-line and pick them up in Gardens 2 and 7. Coffee is also available in Garden 2.


Joining a Bus Tour will save you the hassle of choosing which gardens to visit and then navigating your way around them. You’ll find out far more about the designers and their gardens while experienced qualified guides take care of your every need. For tickets and more information click on the Tours page of the event website.


Tickets are available from all Kings Plant Barn Stores @ $65each for all gardens