Living Outside the Box

Ponsonby has always been a special place for Steve Gustafsson, landscape designer and owner of Natural Gardens Limited.

While living here in the nineties and landscaping his own villa, he realised a passion for garden design that facilitates outdoor living.

“Basically we had a beautiful house, with a terrible backyard,” recalls Steve. “There were French doors, but they opened out to nothing.

“I wanted to be able to use the outdoor space. We created an outdoor room that we then virtually lived in.”

He discovered his passion for integrating the outdoors and indoors.

Since then, Steve has owned and operated his own landscape design and build service, Natural Gardens, delivering tailor-made garden designs for homeowners across Devonport.

Steve and his team are now offering their services in Ponsonby and surrounding suburbs, where it all began.

“I know and love Ponsonby,” says Steve. “We are there daily, with both my children working there. The similarities to Devonport mean it’s a natural fit for us.”

Prior to creating Natural Gardens, Steve renovated and landscaped many of his own Auckland properties. As a result, he always sees house and garden together as an integrated whole. His hands-on experience results in practical solutions, and he recycles materials wherever possible.

A particular strength is using edible and native plants within designs in inventive and intentional ways.

“Good design is purposeful design,” states Steve. “Every client is different and it’s a pleasure seeing their unique needs and personality reflected in the end result.

“Our homes have a unique dual function. They’re practical — shelter, food and day-to-day living. What an integrated outdoor space does is remind us that life is about more than just surviving and functioning. Being outdoors reminds us that we are part of nature, that resting, regenerating and relaxing are equally important.”

For further information: M: 021 345 694;

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Published: March 2024