Zones helped this family transform their backyard into a peaceful entertainment area.

WORDS Mina Phillips

Hoping to update their backyard into a layout that could provide security, functionality, an entertainment space and, essentially, a staycation; these West Auckland homeowners got in contact with Zones. Landscaping specialist Matthew Wilkinson met with the family to discuss their ideas and came away with a thorough brief of what they wanted for their backyard.   

“The family wanted to transform their backyard to create a retreat-like atmosphere where they could escape and be safe”, explains Matthew. 

The key ideas included a large sheltered spa area, paving or decking, a lawn for their puppy, a firepit and lush, tropical planting. The family were also drawn to the idea of using dark timber fencing as well as the possibility of creating transitional spaces in the garden to explore.

“Entertainment was an important consideration for the family”, tells Matthew. “High on the wishlist was LED coloured lighting so that they could enjoy the firepit and spa area in the evenings.”

Matthew’s clients like clever ideas and the Zones’ team were encouraged to implement innovative functionality into the landscape design.

“The design had to take many obstacles into consideration”, says Matthew. “The backyard had a gentle slope and an overland flow path as well as manholes and stormwater pipes running along two of the rear boundaries. Naomi, our designer, was able to incorporate some creative lines and structures to work around these challenges while keeping the design on-brief.”

With an aesthetically pleasing yet low-maintenance design in place, Matthew provided the family with a fixed-quote and timeframe. From there, the landscaping work began.

“The family wanted to transform their backyard to create a retreat-like atmosphere where they could escape and be safe"
- Matthew, Zones Waitakere Landscape Specialist

Matthew’s team addressed some cracked paving beneath the balcony and took care of a range of preparation and maintenance work, including groundworks, clearing the backyard, water blasting, garden preparation and fence repairs. Because of the backyard’s gradient, it was necessary for the West Auckland team to build retaining walls into the design, using macrocarpa sleepers provided by Mitre10.

“Retaining was incorporated to control the slope and to create different areas within the garden to be enjoyed”, Matt explains.

Matthew worked with Natural Paving to create an established spa area using a secured pebble finish. In the interest of the family’s puppy, a Readylawn was installed, which Matthew says created an “instant green effect and surrounded the stepper pavers which lead to the spa area.”   

To complete the backyard update, Matthew’s team installed a water feature, mulched the garden, connected the spa pool’s electrics and installed outdoor lighting.

“The Bluetooth controlled system can be programmed to create a light show to suit the mood. The lighting is also complemented by the water feature in the centre of the garden”, says Matthew. “The project was completed well ahead of schedule - this was important as the family wanted the space to be ready in time for a birthday party so that they could share the renovated space with their family and friends. The original target start was early June and the birthday was late June so the project had to be efficient to ensure the deadline was met. A combination of project planning and an opportunity to move the schedule forward meant that we were able to start in mid-May and have it completed by early June, well before the birthday party.”

Following two-and-a-half weeks of dedicated management, Matthew is highly satisfied with the project:

“I’m very happy with the result. The clients were a pleasure to work with and it was a rewarding feeling to bring this project together for them.”

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