Get your DIY questions answered

22:23, Aug 28 2014
HANDS UP: Who has a question for our panel of experts?

Wanting to get out in the garden, do a bit of DIY or make some interior changes in your home, but not sure where to start?

Maybe you need to fix a fail, cover up an awkward design feature or just put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Whatever your issue, maybe our experts can help.

We will be picking the best questions for each expert every week and their answers will be published in the Home & Property section here on Stuff.


Keep scrolling to meet the experts, and click on the green button below to contribute your questions!

The interior stylist

When it comes to her own home style, LeeAnn Yare describes it as a mix of bold, brave, colourful, mixed and not matched. A mix of old and new, designer and high street, and loads of Internet finds, she has always been that way inclined, but - like fashion - Yare thinks our home style grows and evolves over time.



"As we get older and have the luxury of sometimes having more budget means a few special pieces have replaced older ones. I love change, so I'm constantly inspired to change things around, a tin of paint here, a drop of wallpaper there, and I'm always restyling everything from a shelf or sideboard display through to entire rooms for a fresh look."

Yare is a well known interior stylist and writer, who contributes to leading magazines in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom. She also owns an interiors store Collected at Bloc in Mt Eden, Auckland, and is the author of New Zealand Interior Style, and Rooms to Love (which launches late October). 

Yares' interior tips:

THE BUILDER: George O'Reilly

1. Love what you do.  No matter what your style is, or how it evolves, do what you love as you will always find a way to make it work.
2. Mix, don't match.  Your home should show the personalities of the people who live there, you don't want to create a home that looks like a catalogue.
3. Get joy from things everyday.  Don't hide precious things away for special occasions, use everything all of the time and enjoy every moment.

The garden designer:

Kirsten Sach finds that the biggest struggle a lot of her clients face is visualising changes to their garden, but that's when she steps in to help turn ideas into reality.

"I produce 3D sketches and plans that means they can really see the results of the work before it is done - it is an invaluable tool to be able to offer. I will often get clients who have an idea what they like and have some plant knowledge, but have no idea how to put it all together and link areas in a cohesive way - so this is where getting professional help can be invaluable."

Kirsten Sach has been a landscape designer for eight years. Coming from a design background, with a diploma in 3D, Kirsten runs her own landscape design company and enjoys doing a job she loves - creating beautiful, timeless gardens. She has won several awards at the Ellerslie International Flower Show and achieved a Gold award in 2007.   

Sach's garden design tips:

1. Always start by researching what garden styles or looks you like best, collect images from magazines and books and get clear on it before embarking on a garden design.

2. Think about what is most important to you in a garden, How do you use it? Do you relax, entertain, swim or all three?

3. Think about a ballpark budget, what do you want to spend on your garden, do research if you have to and find out what things cost. What you want included in your garden needs to match your budget.

The builder:

The most common problem George O'Reilly sees when people embark on DIY renovation projects is underestimating the cost and time involved with what may seem like even the most straight forward projects.

"Renovating can easily blow a budget, especially if any unforeseen problems are found along the way."

When it comes to the most memorable time O'Reilly has put his skills to use, he certainly has fond thoughts around building a three tier grandstand in his flatting days.

"My mates and I decided our lounge had room for improvement, so we constructed a sixteen-seat grandstand which had built in speakers and a fridge!"

O'Reilly is Director at All Aspects Construction Ltd, a company which covers a range of trades including design, building, drainlaying, landscaping and concreting. O'Reilly is a qualified builder and draftsman, and a licensed building practitioner in both carpentry and design. With nine years experience in the building trade there isn't much this bloke doesn't know about home construction.

O'Reilly's building tips:

1. Have a well prepared budget and breakdown of costs and stick to them. Also allow a contingency sum just in case.

2. Know your limits of what you can competently achieve and use a tradesperson for things out of your depth. Most tradies will be happy to offer knowledge on other aspects of the project while they are there. (Tradesmen can be easily found on

3. Use quality products. Too often people go for the bottom of the range and this can be detrimental to even the smallest of projects. If you are taking the time to improve something, you're better of spending a little more on quality materials and fittings so your work will last the test of time.