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With their property about to go on the market, these Auckland homeowners needed good, fast and cost-effective garden design ideas, and some good, practical design advice, to makeover their small garden for resale purposes.

As Auckland was in lockdown, they used our online, Ask-An-Expert service.

Good Garden Design Advice

'Ask-An-Expert' is an online garden consultation. It's a really cost-effective way to get good garden design advice, and to bounce ideas with a professional garden designer. 

Before the online consultation we asked the client's to send us some photos of the garden. They also completed an online questionnaire, so we had a good understanding of what they needed our help with. “We are wanting to make our house presentable for sale and would like to create a welcoming and private outdoor area that appeals to prospective purchasers”

Bad Garden Design Advice

They had been given what we thought was some well intentioned but bad garden design advice....

"We planted the Lilly pilly 3-4 years ago and have experienced so many problems with getting it to fill out properly. Our original aim was to create some privacy from neighbours and hide the ugly fence. We have achieved the privacy, but still have many gaps, so the fence is very visible. (Real estate)  Agent has recommended some additional planting in the gappy areas, but we have no idea where to start. We need a reasonably quick solution as the house could be listed soon."

We could see that simply stuffing the gaps with filler planting was just going to make it look messier, and it wasn't a good long-term solution. 

The lilly pilly hedges which frame the corner of this small Auckland garden are looking scruffy and have uneven growth at the base.
Here's the photo they sent us!

Quick Budget Garden Design Idea

The best way you can makeover a garden quickly and on a tight budget is by taking things out, rather than adding things in. So, during the online garden consultation, that's what we suggested.

We saw untapped potential in the existing Eugenia ventenatii (lilly pilly) hedge. Lilly pilly is one of the most popular and effective screening hedges and privacy plants used in Auckland gardens. We proposed  that the first step in a simple, cost-effective garden makeover would be to transform the scruffy existing hedgerow into a tidy pleached hedge. Without spending a cent, this would instantly raise the aesthetic of the garden, while ensuring that the garden retained its lovely privacy. The client's agreed and followed our advice. See what we mean....

The garden has a fresh new look with the old lilly pilly hedges given a pleached form.
Voila! Instant stylish pleached hedge!

Cost-effective Garden Design Idea

Another cost-effective idea to make your garden look good fast is to paint your fences, especially if you have different fences in one garden space. Painting them a uniform colour ties them together in a visual sense. This makes a garden feel more cohesive and less cluttered. Black is a great go-to colour for garden fences as it creates a deep background for the plants to 'pop' against. As these client's already had some black paint in the shed, this was another cost-effective garden design idea and meant they could get on with the makeover despite being in one of Auckland's infamous lock-downs. 

The garden has a fresh new look with the old lilly pilly hedges given a pleached form and both the fences behind the hedge have been painted black using paint the clients had in the shed so the makeover has been free up till this point
So far, not a cent spent on this garden transformation

Underplanting Planting Design Idea

Already the garden looks transformed and it could be left just like this. However, finishing touches are planned.

The house is red brick and we've suggested finishing off this cost-effective garden makeover with a classic garden look - adding a mass underplanting of white flowering plants. Annuals or potted colour will provide a cost-effective solution, and the new owners will be able to add their own touch to the garden with more considered, long-term plantings. Massed white carpet roses or clipped Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) pinned and clipped as a ground cover,  with a neat edge of Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple' (lily turf), make an ideal underplanting for a pleached hedge when you are wanting a classic and tidy garden look. 

beautiful mass of flowering white carpet roses in varying stages of summer bloom
Rosa 'Flower Carpet' - white (white carpet roses

Pretty little flowering groundcover Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple'  showing the candle-like purple flower stalks above strappy, green, grass-like foliage.
Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple' (lily turf)

TFlowers of Trachelospermum jasminoides in bloom, this plant is commonly called star jasmine, although it actually isn't jasmine at all, it just smells like one
Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine)

Design Ideas For Your Garden

As there is very little outdoor living space in this garden, another idea we gave these clients was to add a couple of lawn chairs to make this a functional, useable corner, as well as providing an attractive outlook from the house. 

These client's were so pleased with the result and our service, that they gave us a 5-star google review. If you want to know how to make the most of your garden space our garden design experts can help you too. 

Whether you live in Auckland or further afield,  an Ask-An-Expert online garden design consultation is a great way to start your garden makeover project. 


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