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Crafting Unique Outdoor Spaces: Meet Ben from Blue Gecko Landscape Design

  • Ever wondered what it looks like when a talented builder and a visionary landscape designer come together? Well, we can show you. Tim Sunderland from David Reid Homes Wellington & Kapiti is the talented builder in question, but we’ve talked about him before. What about the landscape designer? Meet Ben Hoyle, a creative force in the realm of landscape design and project management at "Blue Gecko Landscape Design." Ben has spent the last two decades transforming gardens into breathtaking works of art.

    Ben from Blue Gecko Landscape Design is not your typical landscape designer. His approach is rooted in understanding the unique personality of each home and its owners. Our Wellington and Kapiti team is often asked for recommendations for landscape designers, and Ben always gets their vote. Ben and his team connect directly with David Reid Homes clients, immersing themselves in the client's taste and the essence of their dwelling. Their objective is simple yet profound: to create outdoor spaces that seamlessly complement the homes they surround.

    "Our concept takes a lot from the house itself," Ben explains. "We look and listen intently, striving to understand the best fit for the landscape. This is especially important with homes that have been built by David Reid Homes. The homes are elevated and the landscaping needs to match that."

    For Ben, the landscape and the house are in perpetual conversation. He meticulously selects a colour palette and materials that bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor living spaces. This integration is crucial, especially since contemporary and modern homes often seek a deep connection with nature.


    Embracing Outdoor Living

    One noticeable shift in the past two decades, according to Ben, is the growing importance of outdoor living. Open-plan homes and a desire for seamless indoor-outdoor transitions have become commonplace. "My job," he says, "is to get the most out of your section so that you can get the best use of it as another living space."

    He also acknowledges the trend toward low-maintenance gardens, which reflects the busy lifestyles of many clients. "With the right plants, you can reduce the maintenance required," he notes, demonstrating a practical approach that caters to the evolving needs of homeowners.


    Understanding the Client's Lifestyle

    The initial stages of Ben's design process are characterised by an in-depth understanding of the client's lifestyle. He delves into questions about how the outdoor space will be used. Is it a space for relaxation, play, or social gatherings? Are there children or pets? All these elements are crucial in shaping the landscape's functionality.

    He emphasises thinking beyond immediate needs, considering how the garden will grow and evolve with the family. Accessibility is another key consideration. "Access is important at all ages," Ben points out. "You need to consider how you'll access the outdoor areas."


    An award-winning home needs incredible landscaping 

    When David Reid Homes Wellington & Kapiti made plans to build a truly spectacular show home in Waikanae, they knew they would need innovative landscaping to do the home justice. Tim contacted Blue Gecko and put his full trust in Ben’s vision. “Tim pretty much gave me free reign” says Ben “and I’m really proud of what we were able to create”. Ben had visions of rustic, rocky terrain, softened with lush greenery and grasses. He went out to a quarry and hand-selected enormous boulders that he placed carefully around the entrance to the show home. The result is stunning and it’s no coincidence that the show home went on to win multiple awards at the regional Masterbuild House of the Year awards and heads to Nationals later in the year. 

    “It’s great to have your own vision when you work with a landscape designer,” says Tim, “but it’s also great to give them some creative licence because they’ll come up with ideas that you never would have thought of yourself”. 

    A Long-Term collaboration

    Ben emphasises the importance of a long-term relationship with clients, acknowledging that taste can change over time. "Sometimes it takes time to learn what works in a space," he says. "We have to be on the same wavelength with our clients to make their dreams come true."

    There’s also an element of maintenance when it comes to landscaping. Ben likes to revisit his sites at least annually to ensure plants are thriving and that each season brings its own unique beauty to his client’s sections. 

    In Waikanae, where natural beauty is abundant, Ben at Blue Gecko Landscape Design has mastered the art of enhancing the connection between homes and their surroundings. His dedication to personalised, sustainable, and creative landscape design has made him a driving force in the industry. 


    Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Ben!


    Interested in working with Ben at Blue Gecko Landscape Design? You can find him via his Facebook page

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