Daughter of Leonard Trott, a dentist, and his wife Clarice Webb, Ninette Dutton was educated at Creveen and later at Woodlands, before studying Social Science at the University of Adelaide. She joined the WAAF in 1942 as a driver. In 1944 she married the writer Geoffrey Dutton, and their home, when they were not travelling, was "Anlaby", the Dutton's family property at Kapunda and later at Piers Hill, a property near Angaston. They had three children.
After the war Dutton travelled to Oxford with her husband, and worked in the Botany Library. She also studied at the Ruskin School of Art. In the following years she travelled extensively in Europe, Asia, Africa, America and the Middle East, and drove with her husband from London to Colombo in 1951 and from Capetown to Cairo, Tangier and London in 1953. She also travelled in Papua New Guinea and Samoa.
Dutton was an accomplished artist and enameller, and studied at several Art Schools including those in Leeds and Hammersmith (London). In 1962 she spent some time in Manhattan, Kansas, and studied enamelling at the Art School there. She then worked as a professional enameller. She also studied with enamellers in London, Berlin and Bucharest. Dutton had exhibitions in all states of Australia and is represented in private collections in England, France and Russia as well as the South Australian Art Gallery.
While living in London in the late 1940s Dutton wrote stories for children, which were broadcast on the BBC's Listen with Mother programme. As well as the works listed on AustLit Dutton also published a number of non-fiction works; Beautiful Art of Enamelling (1966), What's for Breakfast (1971), Portrait of a Year (1976), Wildflower Journeys (1985), Presents from your Garden (1986), An Australian Gardener's Notebook (1988), An Australian Wildflower Diary (1982) and A Passionate Gardener Writes of Nature, Beauty and Seasons (1990). As the 'Passionate Gardener' she conducted a regular feature column in the Adelaide Advertiser, and was a regular broadcaster for the ABC for some years on gardening subjects and wildflowers. She was a member of the Arts Grants Advisory Committee for some years, a Trustee of the Board of Carrick Hill and Chairman of its Garden Committee.
Dutton's marriage to Geoffrey Dutton ended in the early 1980s. Dutton continued to live and write in South Australia until 1997. She then moved to Canberra for five years and finally to Leura in the Blue Mountains.