With the weather heating up, it won't be long until the New Zealand population will be spending as much time outdoors as they do in.

While the beach remains a typical Kiwi favourite over the holiday period, many prefer having their own personal space, too, as they while away the hours in the backyard, relaxing with the family or entertaining.

It means the outdoor space should be just as warm, comfortable and welcoming as the home's interior design, and New Zealanders ask certain things when it comes to what they want in their gardens.

Director of Humphreys Landscaping, Scott Humphreys, is asked every day for certain features in the gardens his team designs for his clients. He shares with us three things Kiwis want in their outdoor spaces.

It's something many of us dream about – having the ability to take a quick dip in your own personal pool whenever the mood takes you. A swimming pool is not only for those with acres of space, either, as Scott explained.

"We're quite often asked for a swimming pool. In Auckland, it's a desirable thing to have, so that means incorporating a pool into quite often a small garden." The choice of swimming pool is completely dependent on its users. If a homeowner wants to do laps and exercise, a rectangular pool is a fine choice, whereas those with young families may want one built into an interesting shape.

On top of the thrill and convenience of owning one, a swimming pool is a fine way to add value to a property, setting it apart from other options when it comes time to sell or rent out your property.
A garden can and should be an extension of the home, and there are many ways to make the outdoors just as comfortable as your living room.

Let's start with lighting. The output of exterior luminaires is measured in lumens and lux (which is one lumen per square metre). Daylight is around 10,000 lux, though you're unlikely to want your garden to look the same at night as it does at midday.
Instead, homeowners and architects can set the mood by specifying products with a certain lux level. The lower the lux, the dimmer and moodier the light will be, helping you to set the tone.

Once you have light, you'll want to put it to best use, by furnishing your outdoor space with aesthetic and functional features. Scott pointed out that the New Zealanders whom he calls clients commonly ask for an outdoor fireplace, creating a focal point, as well as keeping you and your guests warm on those cloudless nights.
A piece of research from the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association find that 92 per cent of all BBQing is done at home, which is perhaps rather unsurprising. What may be more of a revelation is that the average household with a barbeque uses it on average 20 times in the summer months, while 56 per cent do so all year round. 

If you're the type of household that likes to cook outdoors, a gas variation might be a good choice for encouraging you to do so more – 62 per cent of gas grill owners use them throughout the year.

Accompanying this is outdoor dining, whether that involves hosting friends and extended family, or just sitting down with the people closest to you over a meal. The outdoor furniture you use can have the same design purpose as the tables and chairs in your dining room, though you'll want these to be durable, to last when exposed to the elements.
Wood and plastics are usually good in this respect, while choosing the right outdoor soft furnishings can brighten up your garden, rain or shine.