Jill Rice

Landscape Architect

Get Outside Ltd

GradNZILA , ProfAccredGDSNZ
Grad Dip LA, Grad Dip Tching, B Hort Sc(Env)

Mairangi Bay, Auckland and Mangatawhiri, Waikato, New Zealand




Get Outside is all about providing nature-rich, wonder-filled outdoor environments where children will want to be! Landscape architect for over 30 years, Director and Principal Landscape Architect, Jill Rice is well-known for her specialist area of design, outdoor learning environments for children.  

Jill and her team at Get Outside enjoy working collaboratively with educators to design spaces that reflect the particular aspirations of their learning communities and the unique qualities of their site, in order to achieve the best outcomes for children. As well as several large public spaces where the main objective has been to engage children with nature and the world around them, Get Outside has worked with hundreds of centres and schools throughout NZ in developing creative, nature-rich environments to support student learning outdoors. Her “play gardens”, as she calls them, are sometimes story-telling gardens, responding to and revealing what may be less known about the history and meaning of a space.  

Recent projects include new inclusive and accessible outdoor learning environments for the Hearing House in Greenlanethe Blind and Low Vision Education Network’s Homai campus in Auckland, childcare centres at both Waitakere and Auckland hospitals, an outdoor amphitheatre for Mairangi Bay School and four outdoor classroom / recreation spaces for Rangitoto College 

The Experience Trail for children at the Waitakere Transfer Station, which Jill designed to support Auckland Council’s “zero-waste by 2040” aspiration, was constructed almost completely out of repurposed “rubbish”. This garden was a finalist in both the NZILA Sustainability Awards and the Ministry for the Environment Green Ribbon Awards in 2015.  Jill has won design awards for several of her projects for childrenincluding The Potter Children’s Garden for the Auckland Botanic Gardens, Rangitoto College Tranquil Garden and Mt Eden Kindergarten Playspace. Jill won Gold at the Ellerslie Flower show for the Mythological Maze in the Potter Children’s Garden, and this entire garden was named Outstanding Park of the Year by the NZRA in 2010 for its sustainability focusJill also designed the Children’s Garden in Parana Park for Hamilton City Council around the theme of the relationship between the NZ native kowhai plant and tui bird. 

Jill is a sought after presenter and writer on the subject of natural play environments that inspire and empower children of all ages and abilities. In her role as the current chairperson of the International Play Association Aotearoa/ New Zealand branch, Jill takes every opportunity to advocate for the right of all children everywhere to play. Jill is convinced that the environments we provide for children hugely impact the quality of their play and learning experiences, their delight in the world around them and their well-being. Children of all abilities need to encounter acceptable risk and explore natural environments in order to develop fully as humans. A firm believer in the Reggio Emilia concept that “the environment is the third teacher”,  Jill’s conviction is that children’s spaces should be less about entertainment and more about engagement with people, with nature and with the world around them. What is good for children is good for all of us! 

Jill is also passionate about good quality landscape design, and represents accredited members of the Garden Design Society of NZ on the GDSNZ Accreditation Board. She is an experienced landscape design lecturer and tutor and is a long-term member of both the NZ Institute of Landscape Architects and the NZ Recreation Association.  

Through our offices in Mangatawhiri, Waikato District and in Hauraki Corner, North Shore, Auckland,  Get Outside offers a full landscape architectural service from concept design through detailed documentation to contract management and overseeing the implementation of our plans.  

Contact us by email jill@getoutside.co.nz, or phone +64 211825002. 


IPA Aoteroa/NZ  – Current Chairperson, founding member of National Committee, conference presenter, advocating for the fundamental rights of children everywhere to play in quality environments Website - ipaworld.org

NZILA – graduate member since 1998, former member of Auckland Branch committee, promoting the role of landscape architecture in the thoughtful and professional design of the outdoor spaces in which we live, previous member of Auckland branch committee. Website - nzila.co.nz

GDSNZ -  Accredited member, Member of Accreditation Board, long-serving National Committee member and Chairperson 2015-2017, promoting quality and professional service in the field of garden design.  Click here for profile.

Early Childhood Outdoor Environment Reference Group, MIT – long-serving member advocating for optimal outdoor play environments for children through numerous presentations, contributions to publications and administration of active Facebook group. Facebook page here.

UNITEC – part-time lecturer 2000-2010 in Landscape Design Diploma, regular presenter in Short course re Children’s Environments, recipient of scholarship to pursue study in Masters of Landscape Architecture programme, current student of Te Reo in Kura Po. Website - www.unitec.ac.nz

NZRA - member since 2017, conference presenter, championing high quality recreation in New Zealand

NZ School Trustees Association – previous elected member of establishment Board of Trustees for Kohia Terrace School, previous elected member of Mairangi Bay School Board of Trustees, responsible for school property portfolio, conference speaker and recipient of Lockwood Crombie award for further study related to School Outdoor Environments in 2000. Website - www.nzsta.org.nz