An Outdoor Deck and Garden Transformation in Unsworth Heights, Auckland

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A tired old deck and sloping garden gained a new lease of life with retaining walls, raised garden beds, fresh lawn, and a stunning hardwood deck.

Before After
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First Steps

Homeowner Richard loved the open-air outlook over his garden but was frustrated with the restrictive and enclosed outdoor deck, and the worn-looking retaining walls holding up his sloping section.

Without much experience of renovations and unsure what to expect, Richard turned to Zones Landscaping Consultants Louise Reeve and Logan Bridgens for guidance. He was reassured by their clearly structured process which included an initial briefing meeting, concept design and estimation, detailed design and costing, and construction.

It all felt logical to Richard, and he could see that the staged process of designing and planning would ensure all his questions would be answered before construction on site began.

Concept Design

Richard knew he wanted his deck to be more usable and aesthetically pleasing, so Louise and Logan discussed design and functional aspects with him, such as raised garden beds, access between various levels, desired uses, and connection with the surrounding landscape.  

Logan subsequently presented a concept landscape design, showing how a new configuration of steps, decks, fences, and retaining walls would make his space more open, usable, and functional, yet still enjoyable. After a few tweaks to the layout and the inclusion of an outdoor spa, Richard was happy to proceed.

Detailed Designing and Project Costing

The confirmed project plan involved replacing the existing decking and balustrading, reconstructing the lawn area, and building new raised garden beds and a fence along the western boundary. Wide steps were designed to ease movement between the different levels, while new metal balustrading would not obstruct the view of the garden from the house.

When it came to choosing materials, performance and aesthetics were the key considerations. Richard wanted costs to come in under $80,000 and Louise and Logan were confident they could deliver something spectacular within that budget. The costliest decision concerned the decking timber and Richard readily accepted Logan and Louise’s advice that hardwood decking would be best for longevity.

The cost estimate for Richard’s landscaping project came back at $67,000.

Building the Vision

Since the existing deck framework was structurally sound, Logan’s team of specialist contractors moved forward on construction, re-cladding with new hardwood Kwila timber decking, constructing new, wide steps from the deck down to the new lawn area, and installing new fencing.  

The boxed vegetable gardens were relocated from the lawn to raised beds along the fence at the same height as the deck, making for much easier planting and maintenance. The multi-tiered gardens against the boundary create a clear delineation between seating and ‘working’ areas, and leave the entire lawn for family games and relaxation.

Exceeding Expectations

The transformation is outstanding. The hardwood deck wraps around two sides of the house, one side projecting towards the view down the valley, and the other towards the raised garden beds and seating. Wide, open steps from the deck spill out onto the lush and level lawn, creating a smooth transition between both spaces.

Each timbered feature has its own colour; the hardwood deck is oiled, the pine fence and retaining wall are weathered, and the raised garden beds are painted black. Their contrast with the vibrant green lawn creates a striking effect from all directions, with the installation of lights in the stairs, soffits, and gardens enhancing the night-time ambience.  

Richard is amazed with how much more inviting and pleasurable the space has become and is incredibly pleased with his decision to seek the professional expertise of Logan and Louise. Now the connection between the house and garden means that daily life is seamlessly integrated with the outdoors, enriching the time Richard and his family spent in the garden.

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This project was completed in
June 2022
Project description
Outdoor deck and garden renovation
North Shore
New Zealand
Project duration
4 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Covid delays and restrictions.
Interesting aspects
Re-establishing the levels of the site to be functional for the homeowners but integrated with the surrounding landscape.
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Louise Reeve is Landscaping Consultant of Bridgens Landscapes Limited, a franchisee of Zones Outdoor Renovations Ltd, doing business in North Shore.

Logan Bridgens is Landscaping Consultant of Bridgens Landscapes Limited, a franchisee of Zones Outdoor Renovations Ltd, doing business in North Shore.

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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