WORDS Joanna Mathers PHOTOGRAPHY Scott Espie
Gina and Matt completed their new build in Auckland’s northern rural township of Kaukapakapa in August last year. And while the home was all the could hope for, the expansive backyard was a blank canvas.
Swimming pools are highly sought after in the sunny north, so with space to spare, the couple decided it was time to splash out.
“We called in Tracey and Glen Barker from Zones to help us out with a swimming pool,” says Gina. “But we ended up with fencing and gates, a louvre system, decking and landscaping, gardens, boundary hedging for privacy, and a retaining wall!”
A complete backyard makeover wasn’t the original plan, but things escalated dramatically while pool area developed. Zones franchisees Tracey and Glen originally provided a quote for a pergola and teppanyaki table and barbecue. But after they heard a pool was in their master plan, the Barkers provided a quote for that too.
The couple decided on a rectangular swimming pool from Superior Pools. The pool was 8m x 10m and features an attractive tiled edge. They chose pine for decking material, and it is surrounded by aluminium fencing.
A large retaining wall (more than 20m in length) was built prior to the pool’s installation by a builder that Barker’s often use – he was also charged with building the pine decking.
The initial plan (the teppanyaki table and grill) was still a priority. Matt was clear about the type of grill he wanted (a flat top, Japanese-style) and this wasn’t something that was readily available in stores.
The Barkers spent many hours searching for the right grill, before having one shipped over from Australia. The teppanyaki table was even harder to find – they used The Outside (outdoors lifestyle specialists) to design the table, and it was crafted with fire-retardant Garapa wood from South America. The table was then embellished with laser cut flames; a distinctive and completely bespoke design feature.
Louvre systems are popular in contemporary outdoor areas, as they allow for year-round entertaining. Pacific Powder Coating provided the louvre system for the Kaukapakapa home, it allows for touch-of-a-button control of the louvres, which can be opened and closed depending on the weather conditions.
Plants are also a key feature of the backyard makeover. One of the main considerations was how to disguise the ugly water tanks.
“Griselinia [a native hedging shrub with large, shiny leaves] was planted around the tank. This will eventually grow larger and hide the tank altogether.”
The Zones team also created a pebbled garden, interspersed with pavers, and chose the Lawn Laying Company for hydroseeding. This process involves spraying a mixture of water, seed, mulch, and fertilizer onto the ground with a high-pressure hose. The mulch acts as a bond and prevents the soil from being eroded by the wind and rain and helps foster seed germination.
Gina and Matt were delighted by how smoothly the process went, with the Zones team dealing with all the subcontractors and ensuring the “small stuff” didn’t escalate.
“I remember that Tracey saw a tree in the front yard that had died. She just went out and bought a replacement. It was such a high level of attention to detail.”
The garden makeover started in June last year and the pool and surrounding garden were ready to use by summer. Gina and Matt say they have achieved exactly what they wanted and are loving their new outdoor space.
Gina, husband Matt, and their four dogs can now make the most of the 700 Sq m rural garden. “We love it, everything looks fantastic,” enthuses Gina.
And courtesy of a special pool cover sourced by Tracey and Glen, they are able to enjoy the pool (and the summer) for longer.
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