Summer living: our best homes

To us, the Kiwi way of life is about long summer days and barbecues at home with friends and family. Although we haven’t had much of a chance of that so far this summer, a beautiful yet functional outdoor space is still top of most people’s lists.

So we’ve rounded up our favourite Otago properties that allow for sensational outdoor living – take inspiration from the brilliant use of space, creative design and fabulous furniture.

Luxury living

125c Smiths Way, Cromwell.

This breath-taking Cromwell retreat is the home of many varied and thoughtfully designed outdoor “rooms”. Park-like lawns interspersed with willow and fruit trees stretch across 4.46 hectares while a number of stylish and relaxing seating areas border the house itself, making indoor-outdoor living simple.

Ponds overflowing with lilies and water plants line wooden decked paths between the home and guest wing, giving the peaceful feel of a luxury spa. Meanwhile, a large courtyard plays host to a magnificent fire pit and the lawns back directly onto Lake Dunstan — putting boating, swimming and fishing at the tips of your fingers.

Stylish attention to detail

47 Kaituki Ridge Lane, Queensberry, Wanaka.

Take note of the classy yet comfortable outdoor seating at this four-bedroom home in Queensberry. It’s perfect for relaxing on a summer’s day or warm evening — don’t force your guests to sit bolt upright on metal chairs. A large tiled room, dedicated solely to summer entertaining, is a wonderful addition: it has a barbecue, wood burner and doors that fold away completely. If you have the space for a room like this, put it on your wish list.

Sprawling lawns punctuated with native bushes and a spa surrounded by lichen-covered rocks complete a picture of perfect luxury in one of the South Island’s most coveted spots.

Spacious decking

113 Chaplin Road, Taieri Mouth, Dunedin.

We’ve long championed the added value of a great decking area — and here’s an exceptional example. One side of the house opens through sliding doors to a spacious and sun-drenched decked space. With nothing to look upon but undulating countryside and a slither of tantalising blue sea, it’s a spot that makes outdoor living and entertaining a pleasure every time.

Countryside retreat

queenstown outdoor living
53 Hunter Road, Wakatipu Basin, Queenstown.

Nestled in the Wakatipu Basin, this property enjoys spectacular views of Queenstown’s two ski mountains. A couple of fabulous entertaining spots at the front of the property celebrate those views faultlessly, while the side of the garden drops away to an absolutely gorgeous large natural pond abundant with wildlife and birdsong.

Pastoral simplicity

1633 Teviot Road, Roxburgh, Alexandra.

Private and secluded, you’ll find this unique property in rural Roxburgh – one of Central Otago’s small flourishing townships. A modest covered entertaining area allows the greenery to do the talking: mature trees, varied shrubs and native plants occupy sweeping lawns, imparting an almost fairy-tale feel.

The gardens span a spacious but manageable two hectares, while the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail runs right past the front gate and the nearby Clutha River offers excellent trout and salmon fishing.

Traditional garden

74 River Bank Road, Balclutha.

A handsome traditional build, this Balclutha home has all the outdoor living space you’d expect of a long-standing rural Southern property. Rose gardens, carefully-cropped hedges, blossoming archways, emerald green lawns — it’s a lesson in gardening for even the most discerning of green-fingers.

With bundles of room for verandas on either side of the property, the lucky owners get sunny seating all day long. And there are paddocks and storage aplenty, allowing for a real outdoor lifestyle.

Click on the images to find out more about each of the properties.

And you can find more home improvement and DIY inspiration here.