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Gardens are typically the last thing we think about when designing our homes, but their importance shouldn’t be underestimated. The addition of plants in your outdoor space not only provides many benefits for to our health and psychological well-being but they are also a great styling tool! A well-designed outdoor space that includes elements of nature provides the perfect backdrop for summer social interactions. To help you style your outdoor space this season, we’ve teamed up with Goom Landscapes to bring you our essential guide to outdoor plants.

Hedging
Hedging is often seen in traditional landscape design but with so many varieties available there’s a hedge to suit any aesthetic. A flowering hedge such as Escallonia compliments a more classic look and sits well next to the Manutti San Diego Modular Sofa. If your outdoor styling includes contemporary pieces such as the Jati & Kebon Sion Outdoor Sofa, go for a variety that adds structure like the Portuguese Laurel. Be sure to choose a variety that’s fits in with how much time you’re prepared to spend in your garden. Tim Goom from Goom Landscapes adds, “A variety such as teucrium will require trimming almost as soon as you have hung up your hedge clippers, but slow growing varieties such as Buxus will only require a couple of trims a year.”

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Ground covers
Ground covers are a stylish yet low maintenance solution for both contemporary and traditional homes. “Ground covers such as Pachysandra and Aceana are an attractive and functional way of covering up unsightly dirt which would otherwise host weeds, whilst creating an interesting texture. Once established, ground cover plantings are easily maintained.” Says Goom. The natural, overgrown look of  Coprosma ‘Taiko’ goes well with woven furniture such as the Manutti River Outdoor Sofa whereas the more tailored look of Chinese Star Jasmine ground cover perfectly complements the Natal Alu Outdoor Sofa by Tribu.

Edible Plants
Picking gardens are back in vogue and are an entertainers dream. “We are seeing a trend towards gardens which are more than ornamental” says Goom, “We New Zealanders have always had a love of our edible gardens- we have noted an increased demand for citrus trees such as kumquat and limequat, which are hardier in our sometimes punishing climate” Position gardens next to your outdoor entertaining areas so they are in easy reach.

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Flowering Plants
Flowering plants varieties such as Salvias, Rhododendrons and Sedums are a fun way to inject colour and fragrance into your outdoor space. Goom comments that he “has seen a revived interest in the use of colour through the use of flowers (bulbs and perennials) and contrasting coloured leafy plantings. The impact of changing colour adds variety and a sense of your garden being a living, ever changing entity.” For a really cohesive design, carry these pops of colour through with some cushions made from outdoor fabrics.

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Potted plants and vertical gardens
If you’re short on space or simply want to add another element to your outdoor space then some potted plants and vertical gardens are the way to go. Goom explains, “There is a move towards smaller sections and larger dwellings in urban areas, reducing the available space for outdoor living. These space limitations are encouraging gardeners to look to new ways to efficiently maximise the outdoor space they have. Gardening upwards (through the use of garden walls) and movable planted pots are some options.” A potted Olive softens the strong architectural lines of the Fast Aikana Outdoor Sofa or choose a Cercis ‘Forest pansy’ to complement the natural teak in the Jati & Kebon Hosta Outdoor Sofa. Don’t forget about the design of your pots. Pick pots that go with your overall scheme – for a modern and contemporary space, look for concrete pots with strong angles or fill an old wine barrel with a variety of herbs for a more traditional aesthetic. For a real statement, add a large Puka tree to the oversized Euro 3 Plast pot.

Photo credit: Goom Landscapes