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.




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. 

Bike Stands for Sustainability

04 December 2014

Natural Habitats Graduate Landscape Architect, Thomas Keal, is now seeing his winning design come to fruition.

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The bike stand design showed how 10 bicycles can easily be accommodated in one car parking space, highlighting the inefficiency of the car, particularly in the case of single person use.

These bike stands have actually been adopted into the Unitec campus with 10 already installed. 

The practical considerations of the design were:

  • Bikes must be visible
  • Property secured without causing damage
  • Accommodate different types of bikes
  • Provide shelter from the weather and provide night illumination

“The intention of the design was not to produce an object that existed in isolation, but rather to create a structure in the context of issues surrounding transport and land use” said Thomas.

The structure was designed to be modular. It can be linked together end on end, or facing toward each other to occupy adjacent car parks. 

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.

Star garden at Starship

14 November 2014

The Children Family Unit courtyard at Starship, sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson, is in the midst of an overhaul. The play area will provide a tranquil environment for mentally challenged children between the ages of 12-18 years old.

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The uninspiring area will be transformed into a calm and shady natural environment. It will also feature a basketball hoop and seating for watching the action.

“It is all about softening and adding life to the dark sterile space through organic lines, planting and colour,” said Landscape Architect, Richard Neville.

It’s in the eye of the beholder

14 November 2014

Plants are generally the last thing to go in the ground at the completion of a project, and the first thing seen by visitors to your site. Do we underestimate the importance of the plant palette and the role they play in portraying our projects in the best possible light?

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Sometimes size does matter.  The impact of a large specimen tree and its relationship to its built environment can make or break a project. But not just any old tree. We need to consider the site context, the site content and what we are trying to achieve. Too big can be an uncomfortable fit, too small and its disappointing.

We need to consider the trees form and function. Trees come with a range of habits, tall and erect, short and spreading, evergreen, deciduous. The trees we choose need to fulfil a variety of roles in our landscapes. Do we want to screen, produce fruit, attract birds or compliment the architecture. Frame a view or block something unsightly. There is a lot to consider when selecting the right tree for the job.

The accompanying shrub palette is just as important. Will the plants perform in the environment, over an extended time? Plant material should be considered for its colour, form and function. Does it flower? When does it flower? Does it fit with the concept? The art of plant selection goes well beyond budget and the variety of plant material is exhaustive. It’s not a case of one plan fits all occasions.

Plant material takes time to develop and reach full maturity, there isn’t an endless supply of plants which are “just right”, forward planning does allow time to develop before going in the ground. Early procurement allows working with budgets from the outset and fewer surprises as the project unfolds.

The moral of the story, engage the landscape architect early on in the project. Involvement from the outset allows working collaboratively with the client and other consultants to produce a landscape fit for purpose.

The Landscape team at Natural Habitats can help with your next project from the outset and ensure a well resolved landscape. 

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 Bestowed 15 Awards at the Landscapes of Distinction Awards 2014

08 July 2014

Natural Habitats were thrilled to be presented with 15 Awards Saturday night at the bi-annual Landscape of Distinction Awards in Wellington.

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Natural Habitats were thrilled to be presented with 15 Awards Saturday night at the bi-annual Landscape of Distinction Awards in Wellington.

“A successful project outcome is based on a team effort; we recognise that the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts. What sets Natural Habitats apart from other landscape companies is that by combining both our design and delivery departments, we can streamline the building of landscapes to complete a quality project on-time & within budget, without compromising the design intent. We revel in being a part of an efficient team, adding creativity to concepts or solutions to problems,” says Graham Cleary, Natural Habitats Chief Rake. 

Natural Habitats winning landscapes are:

Geyser, Parnell


Premier Award – Best Commercial Project

Premier Award – Best Special Feature

Gold – Garden Management


Scott, St Heliers


Gold – Landscape design (Large Residential Project)

Gold –Landscape construction (Large Residential Project)

Silver – Horticulture (Large Residential Project)


Aitken, Remuera


Silver – Landscape design (Large Residential Project)

Silver – Landscape construction (Large Residential Project)


Eco Pillow, Port Waikato


Bronze – Horticulture (Small Residential Project)


Natural Habitats Edible Garden


Silver – Garden Management


Living & Learning, Henderson


Bronze – Landscape Design (Commercial project)

Bronze – Horticulture (Commercial project)


Fisher & Paykel, East Tamaki


Bronze – Garden Management


Cliff Face Park, Stonefields


Bronze – Landscape construction (Commercial Project)


Britomart East Green Wall


Silver – Garden Management 


Natural Habitats is NZ’s leading integrated landscape company, offering expertise in DESIGN, BUILD & CARE in commercial, residential, civic/infrastructure and green walls/green roofs. They are renowned for the quality of their work and over the past three decades have won more awards than any other landscape company in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, Natural Habitats are at the forefront of the movement towards green technology in architecture.

Creating Play

26 June 2014

This is a new term in the world of housing shortage in Auckland. An admirable aim to promote the rapid development of “affordable homes …. without compromising quality design.” While this type of development will ultimately lead to a broader housing choice, what is the quality of the outdoor space which accompanies this model? There appears to be scant mention of the provision of quality outdoor space within or close to these developments.

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Swell Park in Long Bay by Natural Habitats

With increasing pressure on existing services, including recreation facilities, it would seem an opportune time for landscape architecture to step into the breach and design innovative, quality outdoor space to serve these developments. The landscape architect is responsible for making places, for a variety of uses and habitation. We can help you create attractive, innovative, quality outdoor space for:

Play space
Community gardens
Social space
Street environments
Stormwater management
Multi use spaces