ARTICLE Patricia Moore
Currently home to over 128,000 permanent residents, Tauranga, in the Western Bay of Plenty, is New Zealand’s fifth largest city and one of the fastest growing urban areas in the country. As summer temperatures hit, the city and its beaches are a mecca for holidaymakers.
Figures from Priority One, the region's economic development organisation, show that in the year to March 2016, Tauranga's economy grew by 3.5 per cent. Over the same period there was a 45 percent increase in building consents. The Port of Tauranga, a major contributor to the strong economy, is set to become the first NZ port to handle a million containers in a single year.
Our landscaping specialists in the region, Nigel Ramsden and his team are definitely noticing an uplift in the number of projects in the region, and every project is an opportunity to make Tauranga even more beautiful.
“I’m meeting up with families from outside the region – even outside the country – who have bought an established home and have funds left over they’re using to improve, and add their own personal touch to, the landscaping and outdoor areas,’’ says Nigel
There’s also a lot of interest in new landscape designs from people who have owned their home for many years but now want to improve their outdoor living options. “They’re opting for this over a possibly disappointing and expensive search for a dream home elsewhere.”
Soil, Sand and Sun
The Tauranga landscape is dominated by the harbour and Mt Maunganui, an iconic reminder of the area’s volcanic origins. Volcanic ash, that has gradually weathered into clay, provides the fertile soil that has seen huge growth in horticulture in the area, but in more coastal situations, like Papamoa and the Mount, sandy soils that don’t contain a lot of organic matter can be challenging for landscapers and gardeners.
Landscape designer Stacey Cryer, of Modernscape NZ, who works with our specialists, says this often means replacing the soil or building retaining walls and raised beds to allow them to introduce good quality topsoil and compost. Knowing what will flourish in the different soil types across the area is just one of the reasons to seek out Zones expertise, says Nigel
The coastal Bay of Plenty enjoys one of New Zealand’s mildest climates and invariably vies for the highest sunshine hours. Stacey notes that while the area is subject to “what seems to be persistent wind from early spring through December, summer to late autumn is relatively calm.” Daytime temperatures range from an average 15’C in mid-winter to the high twenties in summer. Autumn is generally the wettest season.
Reliable weather patterns and long hours of sunshine mean landscape designs often revolve around a barbecue, says Nigel.
“People want custom-designed outdoor cooking areas where they can relax and entertain guests. We’re also seeing demand for designs that close in those outdoor areas to make them enjoyable year-round,”
Creating an extension to the indoor living area also means projects frequently include outdoor fires and pizza ovens. And in spite of the proximity to those glorious Bay beaches, “pools and spa pools are high on the want list.”
What Thrives in Tauranga?
As anyone who’s visited the biennial BOP Garden & Art Festival will tell you, Tauranga has some magnificent gardens – but lifestyles are changing. “Gone are the quarter-acres of lush green lawn that require hours of mowing,” say our Tauranga specialists. “Instead demand is for extensive timber decking, custom-designed pool areas, and plantings of sub-tropicals and natives.’’
‘’Time-short families are opting for easy–care paving and decking, and planting that requires minimum attention.” Indeed, when it comes to planting Stacey reports a growing demand for low maintenance designs. Given Tauranga’s benign climate and few frosts, tropical themes are increasingly popular, she says.
“Lush palms, lots of texture, native grasses and semi-formal hedging with feature specimens.” She says edible gardens adjoining an outdoor living area are also in demand. She also finds herself working on infill housing and subdivision projects where close proximity to neighbours is a challenge. “Screen planting or textured panels and walls can keep areas private and add visual interest.”
The growth of new housing in the Tauranga area has led to what Nigel refers to as “an economical approach that leaves a lot of new homeowners with uninspiring, frequently muddy, yards they’ve little interest in spending time in.”
Nigel's specialist knowledge of the area, along with the support of the Zones team, mean they are well-placed to create landscaping projects that satisfy all demands.
Get inspiration for your renovation project reading about this Zones case study: Zoning in on a long landscape.
If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your outdoor renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your landscaping design and build. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.