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Contribute to the urban biodiversity of Auckland in your own back (or front) yard

Do you have a spare area of your property that needs attention? 
Do you dream of having New Zealand natives in your garden but are unsure what would thrive or die?

Central Auckland Forest & Bird is committed to helping native birds and insects thrive in our urban areas and we can only do this by creating more native habitats for them. The branch runs a regular Garden Design competition aimed to get people creating more biodiversity in backyards.

Enter our garden competition, follow the simple principles in our assessment criteria and you will create an amazing habitat that can support and encourage Auckland’s native wildlife to thrive.

Submit a landscape planting plan for judging and be in to win the plants for you to plant your garden.

Email entries to

Entries close Sunday 1 May 2022. Winners announced mid-May.

The award categories are:

  • 1m2 to 10m2
  • 10m2 +

Remember to: 

  • Use NZ native plant species only.

  • Choose plants for colour/ texture/ height

  • Have appropriate plant spacing and numbers

  • Choose plants that will grow in the site conditions i.e. shade/direct sunlight/ free draining soils/ sheltered/ windy etc.

Prizes will be awarded based on:

  • Vegetation structure – the diversity of layers, from trees all the way down through ground covers and/grasses

  • Diversity of food resources – as many different native plants as possible that provide fruit, nectar or attract insects

  • Structure using rocks, deadwood/branches, leaf litter

  • Don’t be a tidy kiwi – leave organic messes!

Other criteria:

Entrants must intend to plant garden especially if a winning entrant. Permission must be obtained from the property owner.

Garden must be on private property i.e. not within the road berm or on a public reserve.

For more information or to get in touch with Central Auckland branch

Tips to get you started!

Planning is the key to success – firstly figure out what sort of conditions your planting site has – think about which way it faces, the amount of sun and shade it gets (in summer and winter), whether it is dry in summer or wet in winter, how windy it is, whether it is on a slope, what sort of soil it has.

Once you know the conditions of your site think about plant choices. Choosing the right plants for the site is really important – you want your plants to thrive not struggle with the conditions! Also think about what sort of fauna you want to attract – are you wanting year round nectar for tui, to attract invertebrates or insect eating birds, maybe you want to attract native butterflies or lizards? 

It is important not to crowd your plants – space them according to the space they’ll take up when mature, not in 2-3 years time. They may look very far apart when you plant them but you will be very glad not to have to remove them in 10 years time.

If possible leave things like leaves, sticks, old logs etc in your planting area to provide habitat for lizards and invertebrates. Neat and tidy does not increase biodiversity!

Committee member Sarah Lightbody has a great video guide for more tips

Handy documents

Previous Winning Garden Designs

291.39 KB


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