A Modern Inner City Courtyard in Ponsonby

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Outdoor space in the city can be hard to come by, so this homeowner decided to make the most of hers with a modern landscape transformation.

Outdoor space in the city can be hard to come by, so this homeowner decided to make the most of hers with a modern landscape transformation.

Before After
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Exploring the Possibilities

This apartment is arguably the best within its complex because it is the only apartment with outdoor access. For some time, the landscape had been severely underutilised. So when Helen, the homeowner, decided to give it a well-deserved upgrade, she sought professional assistance from Landscaping Partner Kate Ryan. 

While the area was not usable in its current state, both Kate and Helen knew it had potential. There was a great opportunity to turn the coveted plot of inner-city land into a beautiful outdoor living space – something not so easy to come by in Freeman’s Bay. Being such a desirable neighbourhood, reviving her landscape would add great value to Helens’s already favourably located property. 

Overgrown Over Time

Any semblance of living space had become completely consumed with vegetation. Vines, palms, and fronds of all sorts had taken over. The pavers — the visible ones anyway — were uneven, and the space was in disarray.

After wrapping up a thorough consultation with Helen, Kate planned accordingly. The landscape required removal of the unstable paving, large planter boxes, and overgrown leafage to make way for tiered decking with a louvre installation, all of which was to be surrounded by new plants, art features, and garden lighting. 

Once Helen approved the concepts, Kate provided her with a fixed quote. The Zones’ step-by-step method ensures stress-free landscaping through professional project management. At this point in the process, all that was left to do was break ground. 

The estimated cost was $70,000, and Kate was able to complete the space for $72,500 — additional costs incurred by extra necessary labour. Managing the project from design to build, Kate was with Helen from just before Christmas of 2020 until May 2021, with the actual build stage taking just 64 days.

Breaking Ground

When Kate’s renovation team began the construction process, they were met with some trouble. Both the deck and the louvre needed holes for their posts to make them structurally sound. However, the ground was riddled with tree roots, concrete, rocks, and large pipes, making it extremely difficult to clear and excavate freely. 

Kate solved the issue by using more labour than originally anticipated to break the rocks and clear the debris. The louvre was designed around the existing piping that needed to remain. Thus, planning required careful attention to detail, as did the installation phase.

Another challenge with the building stage was the lack of inner-city parking. The louvre’s delivery required an area to be blocked off to accommodate the truck and trailer, leaving Kate and the team to converse with the parking wardens a few times. With Kate managing the project, Helen was never bothered with any of these troubles and was thrilled with how easy she made the process.

Inviting Results

Kate and her team pulled off an incredible landscape transformation despite the challenges. Rid of the wild bush, the area now feels much bigger, and the use of multi-level decking maximises the space and defines different areas. 

Being street-level can feel like you’re on display. However, with lush privacy hedging now surrounding the property, the main area of the deck is private, and the louvre overhead creates a sophisticated spot to entertain. 

At night, the garden lights create an inviting ambience and have been used to highlight the artwork Helen chose. And to complete the landscape, tropical planting ties the outdoor area together, creating an elegant space for relaxing.

The end result was achieved with materials sourced from a range of suppliers, including Pacific Outdoor Solutions, The Garden Lighting company, and Stone Direct.

Final Thoughts

Helen was thrilled with how easy Kate made the process. She happily remarks on the experience: “I didn’t have to do anything except arrive home each night to gleefully witness the progress.” 

Kate and her team really created a special design for this courtyard upgrade, making it feel welcoming and bigger than it is. Being able to provide an easy landscaping experience with incredible results for her clients is what makes Kate’s job so rewarding. 

Would you like to discuss your home landscaping ideas?

Get in touch for a free consultation with your local Landscaping Partner.

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This project was completed in
October 2021
Project description
New tiered decking, a louvre, and landscaping
Auckland Central
New Zealand
Project duration
64 days
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Difficult land with rocks, tree roots, and concrete, as well as inner-city parking issues.
Interesting aspects
Privacy hedges, expansive decking, and louvre roofing.
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Kate Ryan is Landscaping Consultant of Woodbury Landscapes Ltd, a franchisee of Zones Outdoor Renovations Ltd, doing business in Auckland.

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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