With summer fast approaching, it's easy to think you've missed the boat in getting your property ready. However, an expertly designed and landscaped garden can add incredible value to a home, whatever the weather. It's even more essential when we consider the increasingly competitive nature of the New Zealand property market.

Of course, you may not even be considering selling your property for some time yet, instead wanting to make it as comfortable, exciting and liveable as possible. That's where professional landscaping comes into the equation, paying off now and in the future.

We recently spoke with Scott Humphreys, Director of Humphreys Landscaping, who provided his expert advice on creating an outstanding exterior space.

Here are Scott's four tips for doing just that.

1) Start early with professional design
"When you're getting into house renovation or building a new home, engage landscape professionals at an early stage so they can work with both architects and the homeowner to develop a garden that stands as a whole with the house," Scott began.

After all, you'll want your garden to be an extension of your home. That's not going to happen if, say, contrasting materials are used between the interior and exterior, which will disrupt the flow and not be sympathetic with the architecture. 

Scott also says it can prove more costly to not consider the garden from the outset.

"It's cohesive and it really helps with planning, budgeting and coordination – it ensures a really smooth process. I believe it saves money and time, and you get a better result."

2) It's all about flow
"Think of your outdoor space as a living area," Scott recommends. "First of all, it's about flow, and making sure the indoor-outdoor of the house is well designed and fits in with the architecture."

Design needs to be tailored for the individual family, too – and each one's unique. Keeping this flow becomes more challenging with every way the garden is used, so it's highly recommended that homeowners speak to their design team about all their wishes and requirements.

"The outdoor living space needs to be large enough for the family, and the way people access the garden and privacy are all things to work around". All this is the job of the landscaping professional, who will tailor the space while maintaining the natural shape and functionality of the garden.

3) Focus on the lawn
"If you've got a beautiful looking lawn, you can have an average looking garden," Scott explains. "You can't have it the other way around."

By focusing on the lawn, even a small property can be given a new lease of life, as Scott continued. "A well-designed garden uses the full potential of the site. It's uniquely set to the property, and when you see a lush garden, it really stands out." 

It's the aesthetics of a good lawn that demand your and your guests' attention, so making sure it is on point is one of Scott's best tips for enjoying your outdoor space for years to come. It will even add significant kerb appeal if and when it comes time to sell.

4) Don't neglect maintenance
In the grand scheme of having a beautiful garden, design is only the first step; the next comes with care, such as irrigation, feeding plant life and keeping on top of any repairs when the time comes, as Scott explains.

"Garden Maintenance is a big part of what we do. When you're implementing a landscape, you're normally investing a lot of money, and to ensure you're retaining the value of that, you need regular maintenance."

"A garden is a living thing and it needs care. In the local environment, particularly Auckland where it can be hot, wet and dry in the same week, garden and lawn care are essential."

Scott's maintenance teams take this responsibility to keep their client's gardens and lawns looking at their peak, whatever the season. To learn more about landscape design and see some incredible projects, visit Humphreys Landscaping's profile on Archipro.