How can I create a resort-style backyard at home?

resort-style outdoor space with a pool chairs and umbrella
WRITTEN BY Persephone Nicholas

The Zones landscaping team is often asked: ‘How can I achieve resort style landscaping at home.’ It’s a big topic so we asked a Zones’ Landscape Architect in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, who has worked on landscaping projects at a number of major international resorts, to share some tips on how to create a resort style backyard that can be enjoyed all year round:

How can I make sure my landscaping suits my home and the area in which I live?

‘Draw inspiration from nature and the local environment,’ the landscape architect says.

For example, when choosing materials think about those that can be sourced (or repurposed) locally. Wherever possible, choose resort-style plants you’ve seen growing in your area – they should be straightforward to source and will be more likely to thrive.

How can I soften up my hard landscaping?

Resort-style landscaping typically uses a lot of man-made products. The landscape architect recommends softening the effect and including a rich palette of organic materials. ‘Natural materials, such as stone, slate and timber, can provide warmth, texture and character to any landscaping scheme,’ she says.

Should outdoor structures be designed in the same architectural style as my house?

Whether you’re creating a landscape for a house you’re about to build or refreshing the outdoor space of an existing property, it’s important to develop a design that will complement the home. So take its style, colour scheme and finishes into account at the planning stage.

How can I make the most of views from my home?

‘If you’re lucky enough to enjoy stunning vistas from your property, capitalise on them by using walls to ‘frame’ and highlight them,’ says the landscape architect.

How can I use water, fire and sculptural elements in my outdoor space?

Everyone loves a backyard pool, but we don’t all have the space or budget to install one. Create a resort feel at a fraction of the cost with a spa or water feature. If you have the space, you might also want to think about creating other focal points with fire features or sculptures.

Once you’ve decided on your feature(s), make sure they are shown to best advantage. ‘Create view shafts to your points of interest’ says the landscape architect, ‘and make sure they are appropriately lit after dark.’

How can I create a lush garden quickly?

‘If you want to green up your space fast, then take a tip from some of the world’s top resorts and overplant at the outset and then thin the plants out as they mature and grow,’ says the landscape architect.

How can I include elements of surprise and discovery in my garden?

The landscape architect suggests including paths and gateways to areas that can’t be seen the moment you step outside, but which draw people deeper into the garden so that the further they venture the more they discover. A sculpture, feature plant or even a swing could await the explorer!

water fountain in a garden

How can I create a relaxing atmosphere in my outdoor area?

‘Every resort-style space should include tranquil spaces for contemplation and quiet,’ says the landscape architect.

Dedicate some space to relaxation, with reclining or arm chairs and umbrellas. A hammock or two could work well if your style is very casual. Encourage people to linger with fragrant planting such as frangipani, jasmine and gardenias.

How can I make sure my outdoor space looks good in the evening?

‘Use lighting and water or fire features to create atmosphere in the garden at night and draw you outside,’ says the landscape architect. ‘They will also look stunning from inside the home.’

If you’d like to find out more about how Zones can help you create the outdoor space of your dreams, why not get in touch to arrange a free consultation with one of our friendly representatives in your area.

You might be interested in reading this: How much does it cost for a high-end landscaped garden?

This article by Persephone Nicholas featured on page 30 in Issue 026 of Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

Get in touch with Zones to discuss your landscaping project

If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your outdoor renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your landscaping design and build. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.

*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

Read Next

All Zones Landscaping franchises are independently owned and operated.

Landscaping Enquiry

We're ready to help you with your landscaping project.

If your enquiry is not related to renovating your home, you may wish to use one of our other enquiry forms to ensure your message reaches the right team:

Please Wait ...


Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Are you ready to discuss your ideas?

Please fill out your details in the online form provided and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours to arrange a free, no obligation consultation.

Get in touch