A backyard transformation centred around an upmarket barbecue in Hatfields Beach, Rodney

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The backyard of this Hatfields Beach property was a blank canvas that needed a professional’s touch to help fulfil its potential as a fantastic outdoor entertaining area.

Before After
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Big ideas

This Hatfields Beach property’s landscape had loads of untapped potential that homeowner Phillip wanted to take advantage of. And he had big ideas. He approached Zones Landscaping with a detailed proposition: a complete outside transformation that included a covered area, new concrete and decking, a fireplace, space for an outdoor shower, and the option to include preparation for a container pool.

Auckland Landscaping Consultant Sandy Lochhead conducted an initial consultation with Phillip to go over the details of his plan. His main goal was to build an upscale entertaining area to host family and friends. As an avid barbecue enthusiast, Phillip wanted to include a special fireplace and smoker. He’d already done his homework and knew the specific model he was after; a Flare fireplace. 

Adjusting the scope

Moving on from their initial consultation, Sandy and Phillip discussed the design, eventually progressing to the cost estimate. He’d come equipped with lofty goals so when it came time to discuss the budget, Phillip was able to prioritise each component and refine the project’s scope. He decided he wanted to focus the project on creating a fantastic barbecue space and surrounding backyard; he’d table the other areas of the plan for now, planning to potentially revisit them at a later stage. 

The original design encompassed the entire property but after Sandy and Phillip defined the details to focus the project solely on the backyard, she was able to provide an accurate estimate of $80,000. Phillip gave the green light, eager to get moving on his exciting project.

Breaking ground

As Sandy began coordinating the building phase and scheduling contractors, she brought in her in-house project manager Kyle to oversee the day-to-day operations. Excavation was first on the docket. The crew worked to remove concrete and prep the space for the variety of hardscaping that was on the way — the design included timber, concrete, pebble and stone, and pavers as well as soft landscaping materials such as green and mulch. 

As the build progressed, Phillip could see his vision coming to life. Retaining walls were installed, the spa pool was relocated, the pergola from ClearVue was installed, and most importantly, the stately Flare fireplace was put in place. 

Sandy and Kyle managed to deliver the final project in a short five weeks; an impressive feat considering the long list of speciality contractors they had to arrange. Phillip opted for a few variations throughout the build which were executed with ease thanks to Sandy and Kyle’s fluid project management. Including the variations (and additional tipping fees) the grand total came in at $94,000. 

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A fantastic bespoke landscape

Phillip’s main goal was to create a backyard oasis to entertain his family and friends. Considering the new landscape has multiple defined seating areas, a secluded spa pool, and —  of course, the pièce de résistance — the custom barbecue area, it’s safe to say that’s exactly what he got. 

The ClearVue pergola protects against harmful UV rays without blocking out the sunshine so guests can lounge for hours without worrying about sun damage and Phillip can take advantage of the barbecue area even if it’s raining. The slated timber screen offers a bit of privacy and definition between the spaces and adds depth to the environment. This cohesive design was expertly executed, down to the smallest details.

Final thoughts

Sandy’s professional relationship with the team at Placemakers made sourcing and securing the Flare fireplace a breeze — and good thing, because that is the standout feature of the landscape. She recalls Phillip’s initial apprehension about the pergola distracting from their stunning view of Hatfields Beach, but now, he’s changed his tune and says it enhances it, drawing your eye across the beautiful vista.

Would you like to discuss your landscaping ideas?

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This project was completed in
April 2023
Project description
Outdoor living transformation with barbecue area
New Zealand
Project duration
5 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Interesting aspects
Specialty outdoor barbecue
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Sandy Lochhead is Landscaping Consultant of Landscapes and Outdoor Living Limited, a franchisee of Zones Landscaping New Zealand, doing business in Rodney.

Actual costs vary by project. Plan ahead to reduce the impact of industry changes or disruptions. For more information see here.

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