A complete landscape renovation in Stonefields, Auckland: creating a private backyard sanctuary

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Deck with pergola

Looking for a way to find refuge from the hustle of their work lives, these homeowners wanted to create a private backyard haven that they wouldn’t want to escape from.

Before After
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Seeking serenity

Audrey and Manfred, the owners of this Stonefields property, both work from home and wanted to create a low-maintenance outdoor oasis in their backyard as a reprieve from their extremely hectic work schedules. Due to their lack of privacy and close proximity to neighbours, their relaxation time often left them feeling as though they were on full display. 

As noted by experienced Landscaping Consultant Thelma Meyer, Stonefields properties tend to have a ‘copy and paste’ approach when it comes to landscaping, something that Audrey and Manfred wanted to change. The Griselinia hedges, meant to provide privacy and shelter from the elements, weren't thriving in this environment, something the couple expressed concern over with Thelma during their initial consultation.  

Offering smart solutions

So far, privacy from the neighbours, shelter against the high winds they often experienced, and a relaxing environment were top priorities for Audrey and Manfred who were willing to spend between $200,000-$250,000 to make it happen. Thelma always stresses the importance of planning to her clients, but during this project in particular, thorough concepting and estimates would prove invaluable. 

The initial design included a fantastic living area complete with a louvre, built-in heaters, and spa pool. Learned through her years of experience, Thelma knew the property’s electrical would need an upgrade to accommodate the design which she factored into the estimate. She also knew that the size of the proposed louvre would require resource consent. She discussed this with Audrey and Manfred. Despite the fact that Thelma would liaise with the council should it be required, they ultimately opted to reduce the size of the louvre, thus avoiding the need for consent. 

Quick progression

Thelma’s estimate for the original design was $215,000, but throughout the build, Audrey and Manfred decided to make a few variations including an extra deck in the backyard. The crew began the landscape renovation mid-November and Thelma projected they’d be finished before Christmas. 

She coordinated the extensive team of professionals and their schedules; excavators, louvre installers, hardscapers, builders, roofers, and landscapers. They worked diligently and managed to deliver nearly the entire scope of work–all entertaining areas, the louvre, spa pool, outdoor shower, multiple strategically placed plant beds, and even the additional deck and extras–before Christmas. Thelma arranged for the team to return in February after the holidays to finalise a few small elements. The final cost of the build was $257,000.  

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A peaceful escape

Through meticulous planning and experience, Thelma guided her team to create a serene backyard oasis for Audrey and Manfred. With several distinct entertaining areas, the couple can relax in peace, host friends and family, or both at the same time! By using artificial turf instead of living lawn, there’s no maintenance for the homeowners and they no longer have to worry about the dying griselinia shrubs either as Thelma’s replaced them with a combination of beautiful timber fencing and sleek metal privacy screens.

Heaters sit inside the louvre’s frame so Audrey and Manfred can enjoy nights and evenings outside even during winter. Thanks to Thelma’s acute foresight, the new living area sits flush with the exterior entrance, encouraging seamless indoor-outdoor flow. Every corner of the landscape has been touched and updated, leaving the couple with a sanctuary space they can look forward to relaxing in after a long hard day’s work.

Final Words

Though the five-week turnaround may have appeared tight, Thelma was confident her team could deliver thanks to her skilled planning and expert project management. Without her extensive expertise, especially regarding the electrical adjustments and council consent, Audrey and Manfred could’ve ended up investing more time and money than they wanted to.

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This project was completed in
August 2023
Project description
Full landscape transformation
Auckland Central
New Zealand
Project duration
5 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
A tight turnaround with mid-project variations
Interesting aspects
Multiple outdoor living areas
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Thelma Meyer is Landscaping Consultant of Tailormade Designs Ltd, a franchisee of Zones Outdoor Renovations Ltd, doing business in Auckland.

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