People's Choice Awards Winner: Landscape of the Year 2023

Monique standing in front of her landscape

Every year during the People’s Choice Awards, we collect submissions from our Landscaping Consultants to showcase their hard work and ask you to vote for your favourite. While the competition this year was as fierce as ever, only one can win the prestigious title of 2023 Landscape of the Year. 

Before joining Zones, this year’s winner had a thriving career in film, photography, and TV production, so she’s no stranger to the perfect composition and that’s evident in her stunning work creating this beautiful entertainer’s backyard in Point Chevalier, Auckland. Congratulations to Auckland Landscape Consultant Monique Nielsen!

Strategic planning

We’re always talking about the Zones approach to landscaping and how effective our 5-step process is. But what does that look like in practice, and how exactly does that benefit homeowners? Monique shared the details of how she brought this award-winning landscape to life as efficiently as possible. 

“Our success in managing budget and timeline can be attributed to our comprehensive design and build process. The initial consultation involved a thorough discussion to understand the client's needs, preferences, and budget constraints. With a dedicated project manager overseeing the construction phase–and coordinating the 18 trades involved in the project–we ensured efficient execution without compromising on the quality of materials or workmanship.”

Outdoor kitchen with fireplace

Creating a standout design

Despite adhering to our tried-and-true 5-step method, there’s still plenty of room to get creative. Each project posses unique challenges and Monique acknowledges this one was no different. 

“Creating versatile spaces that catered to family activities throughout the year proved to be the biggest challenge. We had to be strategic to make everything cohesive.”

The solution? Utilising an automated louvre and outdoor fireplace to anchor the design, while defining three designated areas: seating, dining, and soaking. An entertainer’s trifecta and a designthat provided the versatile, private, and functionation space that the busy family of five–six counting their pup–needed. 

Must-haves make it easy

A blank canvas can sometimes be the biggest obstacle to getting started. Luckily, these Point Chev homeowners had one feature that was an absolute must-have. 

“The homeowners wanted their backyard to have a cosy ambiance, so centering the design around a beautiful outdoor fireplace was essential. Paired with the infrared heater, the homeowners can use this space any time of year.”

Monique carefully selected materials based on durability, aesthetics, and level of maintenance. Consistent budget tracking and transparent communication throughout the build ensured the project stayed on budget and eliminated surprise spending when the project finally wrapped. 

Outdoor landscape with spa pool and outdoor kitchen

What’s next for the team?

Following this garden design’s success–having won a gold and silver award in the Design & Build and Biggest Transformation categories as well–Monique and her team have become quite sought after by Aucklanders seeking a new landscape. 

“A new client, impressed by the layout and features of this project, has requested a similar design for their new outdoor room. But we plan on making a few minor adjustments to tailor the design to their family’s need.” Monique is looking forward to the year ahead and to hopefully connecting with more Auckland homeowners to help bring their visions to life too.

Want to work with Monique?

Get in touch with Monique and her team at Zones Landscaping Auckland Central to arrange a free consultation.

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