Katie Costain and Ben Freeman of Billygoat Landscape Architecture are a husband-and-wife landscape design duo from Christchurch. They will be exhibiting their garden design, an outdoor kitchen and dining space which can only be described as an entertainer's delight, at the NZ Flower and Garden Show from November 29th to December 3rd at Auckland's The Trusts Arena.
Here, we ask the couple, who met at university, how being life and business partners has enhanced the success of their business, what they've done with their own garden, what they see as the hottest gardening trends right now and what their top tips would be on how to create your own outdoor kitchen for summer entertaining.
What's it like being married and in business together?
Ben: It’s a little tough but also exciting. There’s a different dynamic when working with your partner – you don’t just leave your work at the office, often it follows you home and we can be working late into the night. On the other hand it is also great to share the excitement and reward that comes with hard work and its success. The other person really understands the work you’ve put in, without needing to explain anything!
Katie: I know they say you aren’t supposed to live and work with your partner, but I think it works quite well for us – we get to share the stresses and successes, which I think, brings us closer together.
Ben again: Katie is very organised, disciplined and has a great process putting her designs together, I’m a little more all over the place throwing all sorts of ideas around – together we work well putting together a very functional but creative and well-thought out plan.
What have you done with your own garden?
Ben: Last year we purchased a little 100+ year old cottage. Our real-estate agent said she had never sold a house with live chattels - the place came with chickens and a rooster.
It is a semi-rural, corner property and our garden design really focuses on creating that cottage feel with deep garden beds, loads of edibles and natural, warm materials and textures.
For a small house, outdoor entertaining areas were a must, with a few different locations that can best make use of the environment and weather. We are really lucky to have the space to put in a deck off the lounge and a natural stone patio for entertaining and enjoying the sun. We also have edible and productive areas near the chooks and a really inviting entrance way.
Describe the outdoor kitchen you will be exhibiting at the NZ Flower and Garden Show
Ben: It's a completely different style of garden to our one at home. We've always wanted to use the format of a garden show to showcase what we'd really like to do...
Katie: Our exhibit garden is an entertainer’s delight. It encompasses an outdoor kitchen and multiple living spaces, at varying heights, which can be used simultaneously or individually. The design features sweeping ribbons of planting which contrast with the geometric hardscape elements like the deck, patio and fire-pit area.
What can you tell us about current gardening trends?
Ben: There's a lot of desire for outdoor kitchens. That's a trend that's been around for a while but it is still really quite strong and we think it will continue.
In the way of materials a lot of large-format simple textures are trending. So paving-wise, for example, people are looking for large rectangular pavers.
Garden trends focus mostly around space and hard materials and the plants are in the detail, and more a reflection of the style or architecture of the house. You'd plant a cottage garden to go with a cottage, for example.
But we've seen a lot of interest in easy-care or low-maintenance gardens and I think this will continue. Easy-care gardens are a reflection of people's busier lifestyles as well as the new type of properties that people are buying.
There has been a big shift, too, from people being happy to spend time in the garden on the weekends to wanting to do other things with their time.
What tips would you give to someone who would like to create their own outdoor kitchen space?
The full description for Katie and Ben's exhibit garden
The New Zealand Flower and Garden Show will be on at Auckland's The Trusts Arena from November 29th to December 3rd:
Organisers are expecting over 70,000 visitors. With over 100 exhibitions from local and international designers as well as expert talks, the show is sure to offer something for everyone.
One of the most anticipated exhibitions will be transported all the way from Middle-earth; a life-sized, 10m x 10m Hobbit Hole. Designed by the Hobbiton Movie Set team, visitors will be able to peer over a picket fence and into another world with winding country paths
and hedgerows, which fill the land of The Shire.
NZ Flower & Garden Show tickets are on sale from Ticketek. Pricing starts at $28 + booking fee and children under the age of 12 are free.
For more information visit www.nzflowergardenshow.co.nz and download the event app “NZFGS” from the Apple App Store or Google Play.