Natural Habitats is proud to announce that we have won an impressive 11 Awards in the 2016 Placemakers Riccarton Landscaping New Zealand awards – more awards and in more categories than any other landscaping company.

/projects/Brickworksentrancesmall.JPGIncluding winning the prestigious PGG Wrightson SPECIAL FEATURE OF THE YEAR, our team won three Gold Awards and seven Silver Awards for Landscape Design, Construction, Horticulture and Maintenance. That each project won awards for both design and construction is recognition of the complete value our Design and Build service model provides to our clients.

We’ve profiled the award winning landscapes in a series of blogs and would like to thank all our team involved in these projects as well as our clients who gave us the opportunity to design and build such fabulous gardens. First up is Bricklane – Brickworks (Lynn Mall Shopping Centre) which won one of the top awards - the PGG Wrightson SPECIAL FEATURE OF THE YEAR 2016 AWARD, as well as a Gold award for Landscape Design, and a Silver award for Landscape Construction. Congratulations go to Landscape Designer Lloyd Atherfold, and our Build Team – Nick Blandford and Phil Komene.





Mudfish find new home in Rangiriri project

21 September 2015

Creating a new habitat for a colony of rare black mudfish was one of the first stages Natural Habitats undertook when it started work on the Rangiriri section of the Waikato Expressway in July 2014.

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Normally found living in wetlands and swamps, a large population of the fresh water fish was found living in a drain that was in the path of the Expressway. With their normal habitat steadily declining as swamps are drained for farming, these fish were captured and moved to special tanks at Waikato University while Natural Habitats created a new home for them, says Natural Habitats’ project manager Michael Pritchard

“We’ve carefully created a new habitat that measures approximately 500 square metres, and includes native plants and a winding stream channel, surrounded by shallower wetland areas – and I’m happy to confirm that the mudfish are thriving in their new home!” explains Mike.

Working closely with landscape designers, Boffa Miskell and Fletcher Construction, Natural Habitats was able to produce a cost effective planting solution within a tight budget.

By the time the Expressway is completed in late 2016, Natural Habitats will have worked on 120,000 m2 of planting area as well as 10,000 m3 of mulch and 20,000m2 of coconut fibre matting in new and existing wetlands, on embankments, interchange roundabouts and auxiliary roads.

Creating employment for this large project has been a partnership with both local Iwi, Ngaa Muka, and the Department of Social Welfare with training of around 10 staff from local Iwi for the 2016 planting season.

Auckland City's trees woefully protected

11 June 2015

An urgent warning has been sounded for the trees remaining in Auckland's concrete jungle after researchers found there's scant protection left to save them from development.

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A study shows the Auckland isthmus has just 6 per cent of its urban forest left, and of that, well over half stands on private land. Only 15 per cent is protected through Auckland Council's Schedule of Notable Trees - the only remaining tool for tree protection after changes to the Resource Management Act in 2012.

Read the full article here:

France Says New Roofs Must be Covered in Plants or Solar Panels

27 March 2015

A new law passed in France on Thursday requiring new commercial-zoned buildings' rooftops must be partially covered in plants or solar panels. Green rooftops will help reduce the urban “heat island” as well as having many other environmental benefits.

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The sky’s the limit under France’s new green rooftop law.

According to a new French law approved on Thursday, rooftops on new buildings in commercial zones across France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels.

Green roofs, which cover rooftop space with a layer of grasses, shrubs, flowers, and other forms of flora, offer a number of benefits. They create an insulating effect, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building depending on the season. They increase local access to green space, which often comes at a premium in urban environments. They retain rainwater, thus decreasing runoff and any related drainage issues. They provide a space for urban wildlife, such as birds, to congregate and even nest, and they reduce air pollution by acting as natural filters.

Green rooftops also significantly reduce the urban “heat island” effect in which urban areas are noticeably warmer than their surroundings. The heat island effect can cause large cities to get 1.8°F to 5.4°F warmer than surrounding areas in the day, and 22°F warmer at night, according to the EPA. This effect happens when buildings, roads, and other developments replace formerly open land and greenery, causing surfaces to become moist and impermeable, and to warm up.

Approved by French Parliament, the law was scaled back from initial proposals by environmental groups asking for green roofs to cover the entire rooftop surface of all new buildings. The compromise gave businesses a choice to install solar panels instead or to only cover part of the roof in foliage.

Even in a trimmed-down form, the law is trailblazing and will both change the urban landscape of cities across France as well as potentially inspire other countries to follow suit, especially with the United Nations’ climate summit coming to Paris at the end of the year.
France has lagged behind other major European countries like Germany, Italy and Spain in solar power development. As of last summer, France had just over five gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, accounting for around one percent of total energy consumption. Germany has nearly 40 GWs installed. France is heavily reliable on nuclear power for its energy, and nuclear generation in 2012 made up about 83 percent of the country’s total generation.

Article here:

Worlds Top Ten Trends in Green Roof and Green Walls

03 March 2015

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Natural Habitats invites you to this exclusive event!

Graham Cleary, Chief Rake of Natural Habitats: Graham will enlighten you on the World’s Top 10 Hot Trends in Green Roof and Green Wall Designs and the economic advantage of using this simple technology.

Green Screens: The Cable Trellis: Realising the Green Facade.

DATE: Wednesday 25 March 2015

TIME: 5:30pm Drinks and nibbles 6:00pm Presentations 7:15pm Drinks and nibbles

WHERE: Mac’s Function Centre, Waterfront room, 1st Floor of Mac’s Brewery,  Taranaki Street Wharf, Wellington

RSVP: by 10 March

COST: Free for Natural Habitats VIP guest, $99p/p for public

Natural Habitats Green Wall aids in sustainability for the new Kathleen Kilgour Centre in Tauranga

19 January 2015

The Kathleen Kilgour Centre officially opened at the Tauranga Hospital grounds, on the 6th of December. This world class radiation treatment facility is the first private hospital to be built on public land and will treat both public and privately-funded cancer patients in the Bay of Plenty.

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Mark Fraundorfer, the Centre’s managing director and project head, said that the building is a real statement. It is seen as an integral part of the treatment by making the patient experience as comfortable as possible. Plants are known to help calm patients facing stressful situations.

“It is state of the art and functional, but the centre also creates a positive environment for patients, and there is a real focus on sustainability with climate control, rainwater harvesting and the Green Wall,” he says.

One of Dr Fraundorfer’s favourite features is the fourteen metre high living Green Wall in the atrium at the south-western corner of the centre. Throughout the year it changes appearance, and the plants contribute to the quality of the air within the centre. 

Created and maintained by Natural Habitats, the Green Wall is an iconic backdrop to the reception area, which patients actually walk through to their consultation rooms.

 Linking all three levels is a glass atrium that contains the living wall of plants - 70m² in size. It is fed by six irrigation zones and is highlighted by mega-lighting, which is important for the growth of this interior wall.

 The 3780 plants that make up the Green Wall are a mix of natives and exotic species to create a soothing, natural effect in the translucent panelled building.

 It is also the first solar-powered radiotherapy facility in New Zealand, with photovoltaic cells on the roof to offset some of the energy consumption used in treatment and lighting.

 “Roof light windows provide natural light so the need for artificial lighting is reduced. Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning energy consumption is minimised by opening panes that let in natural fresh air. Also, rain water off the roof is being used for the toilets and gardens, and much of the environment is climate controlled,” Dr Fraundorfer explains.

The Building Intelligence Group has collaborated with a professional team including Architects Wingate+Farquar, Contractors Fletcher Construction and Quantity Surveyors Rider Levett Bucknall. The 3,000m2 facility houses three treatment spaces and supporting clinical areas.

The Kathleen Kilgour Centre is also breaking new ground with its use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) – the generation of digital representations of a building’s physical and functional characteristics. BIM enables a ‘build before you build’ process – pre-emptively avoiding errors during construction. 

Grind to Ground at Botany Town Centre

03 December 2014

Natural Habitats are converting coffee grind into fertilizer at Botany Town Centre, assisting with the centres aim to reduce its general waste by ten tonnes a year.

For the last few months, coffee retailers at Botany Town Centre have bound together to take part in a centre-wide ‘Grind to Ground’ initiative, which involves coffee retailers separating coffee grind from the rest of their waste, taking it to dedicated ‘Grind to Ground’ bins provided by Reclaim and stationed throughout the centre.

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Natural Habitats then collect the coffee grind and put it through a carbon-rich composting process, which balances the pH levels. The final product will then be distributed around the green gardens by Natural Habitats to aide in the centre’s plant growth.

The coffee retailers combined are filling four 240 litre bins per week, which is approximately 720 kilograms of coffee grind, which would otherwise be landfill waste.

“Obviously Kiwis are big coffee consumers and this is a way we can channel our behaviour and turn it into something effective that not only benefits our surrounding environment, but involves the wider community,” says Brian Spencer, Natural Habitats General Manager.

We landscaped Botany Town Centre 14 years ago and has been caring for the gardens ever since. Subsequently, six years on they also designed Botany Garden Lane, a vibrant, fun children’s play area.

Swedish Tree Massage

22 July 2014

Although these trees are decades old, the art of weaving living trees is thriving in Europe and parts of America as landscape art.

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Inosculation is a natural phenomenon in which trunks, branches or roots of two trees grow together. This process can easily be customised to achieve various forms as the heart desires (and exhbited below). 




Natural Habitats’ Greening Award Winning Properties

11 June 2014

Natural Habitats are delighted to have contributed to six of the award winning properties in the 2014 Property Council Awards, the country’s most esteemed commercial property development awards.

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Natural Habitats are delighted to have contributed to six of the award winning properties in the 2014 Property Council Awards, the country’s most esteemed commercial property development awards.

“We were very pleased to work with Natural Habitats once again on the exciting ASB North Wharf Project. Their approach is always “What Is In The Best Interest Of This Project”, a philosophy that resonates well with the Fletcher view. They cost to meet the Project Budget and then follow through with a quality Install. They provide the necessary ongoing maintenance, as they are focused on the Long Term result of their landscaping contributions,” said Alan Gray, Project Director for Fletcher Construction Co.

ASB North Wharf – Jasmax

  • Supreme Award
  • Best in Category for Commercial Office Property Award
  • Merit for Green Building Property Award

ASB North Wharf features two green screens to soften large concrete surfaces outside.

AUT Sir Paul Reeves - Jasmax

  • Excellence for Education and Arts Property Award

The AUT Sir Paul Reeves building utilises a green screen to create soft partition and backdrop in a busy student atrium.

Ceres Organics – Williams Architects

  • Best in Category for Industrial Property Award

A two storied native Green Wall graces the inside entrance of Ceres Organics head office.

Te Uru Taumatua - Jasmax

  • Best in Category for Green Building Property Award

The landscape planted by Natural Habitats to be a sensory learning experience with touch, colour and smell also included a large amphitheatre of turf: 6600m2.

Carlaw Park Student Village – Warren Mahoney/Boffa Miskell

  • Best in Category for Multi-Unit Residential Property Award

 Wellsford War Memorial Library - Jasmax

  • Merit for Green Building Property Award

Over the past three decades Natural Habitats have won more awards than any other landscape company in New Zealand. Natural Habitats is New Zealand’s leading integrated landscape company. They are renowned for the quality of their work and recognized for their award winning landscape design, build and care. In New Zealand, Natural Habitats are at the forefront of the movement towards green technology in architecture. To find out more visit

Green Screen Elevation

02 April 2014

Natural Habitats Green Screens are being built on a new apartment complex in Herne Bay. The screens will produce softening of the facades, privacy and shelter and will no doubt be modified by the owners overtime.

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Natural Habitats Green Screens are being built on a new apartment complex in Herne Bay. The screens will produce softening of the facades, privacy and shelter and will no doubt be modified by the owners overtime.We have built many over the years - up to 6 storeys, but a newly constructed building at over 40 storeys (pictured) seems to be in the lead! Read more

Natural Habitats Creating Green PETS in Schools

12 November 2013

Stanmore Bay Primary School in Whangaparaoa will be the pilot school for the first sustainable Green Wall project completed in New Zealand. Affectionately named Green PETS, the Green Wall is made from recycled plastic polyethylene terephthalate bottles.

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Stanmore Bay Primary School in Whangaparaoa will be the pilot school for the first sustainable Green Wall project completed in New Zealand. Affectionately named Green PETS, the Green Wall is made from recycled plastic polyethylene terephthalate bottles. The plants grow in a ‘top secret’ Natural Habitats nutrient media mix, with its own irrigation system.  

Graham Cleary said, “It’s a simplistic idea, the community working together to collect, recycle and build a sustainable garden in the vertical plane.  We have created a habitat for small animals and insects while instilling intrinsic environmental values in our next generation.  Our aim is to reduce our carbon footprint using everyday items to create a beautiful edifice”.

The projects’ components shall be sourced, constructed, planted and installed at the school. The children, teachers, parents and whanau will be actively involved in the process from planning, collecting and recycling the plastic bottles, to the construction and planting of the wall, including the installation.

The school children will collect the plastic drinking PET bottles for recycling and participate in the construction of the wall with adult assistance.

 The PET green wall project will promote education in: 

  • Recycling

  • Sustainability

  • Horticultural practices

  • The environment

  • New Zealand native plant species

  • Creating eco systems and food sources for plants, insects and birdlife well as working collaboratively with the community on a community based project.  We also aim for this school to be proud of their achievements of being the first to fully construct this recycled green technology in New Zealand.

The PET Bottle Green Wall Project was developed from an idea Mark Paul, Australia’s own Green Wall guru and founder of The Greenwall Company, had while working with his Brazilian licensee Bruno Resendez de Silva in schools in the Favellas in Rio de Janeiro.  The outcomes there were dramatic with long lasting impact for the residents of this very hostile urban environment.  

Why Natural Habitats is promoting Green PETS: 

  • Creating a home and food source for birds and bees through specific plant selection

  • Young people and their families are encouraged to think about the topical matter of their environment, and sustainability

  • A proven concept that involves young children nationwide in creating a living legacy

  • It’s an investment in educating and inspiring young people about their environmental responsibility

  • A common household waste item is productively recycled

  • Kids are taught basic skills in horticulture, craftwork, and team play

  • Job creation, and work skills for aspiring young horticulturalists / landscapers 

Green Walls Background: 

Since storming into public view in Paris in the early 2000s, Green Walls have become one of the most talked about and coolest pieces of architecture ever since, and they are good for the environment. 

Green Walls (also known as Living Walls, Green Facades, Bio Walls or Vertical Vegetation) are an innovative way of greening a vertical surface - they are magnificent to look at, have health benefits, contribute towards a company’s green star rating. They make a bold visual statement, which assists companies in becoming a leader in sustainability. 

Natural Habitats (NZ) and Mark Paul’s The Greenwall Company (Australia) have been the leading innovators and installers of these beautiful pieces of functional art in the Southern Hemisphere. Leading corporates in Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney have snapped them up because of the branding association of Green Walls to the exemplary ideals they aspire to. Local installations include Britomart, Westpac, Goodman and Google to name but a few.