Suzanne and Danny Sherwin had renovated their home but their outdoor area was left lacking.

WORDS Erin Reilly

They wanted to install an easy to maintain, resort-like outdoor area which would flow from the home’s interior and increase their privacy. Take a look how our Franklin landscape designers made their dreams come true!

Westmere is a bit of a hidden gem. A leafy seaside suburb quietly tucked away in central Auckland, flanked by the Auckland harbour on one side, the green belt of Western Springs, Auckland Zoo and Motat on another, and Cox Bay and Reserve on another. The CBD is mere minutes away making this understandably a sought after inner city location.

For long-time Westmere residents, Suzanne and Danny Sherwin, having a family home so close to the city it was important to create a haven to escape the busy urban life, a place to relax and replenish after a busy day.

The couple had renovated their Californian Bungalow, home for 15 years, but the outdoor area was left lacking.  With their kids collection of sporting equipment and garden furniture scattered around the yard, and no privacy from the neighbours, the city abode wasn't providing the solace they were wanting.

A backyard makeover with outdoor dining space

The couple engaged the expertise of Zones landscaping designers, Stu & Debbie Gill to take the reins in designing and installing a resort like outdoor area which would flow from the homes interior.  Danny explains, “We did our research and really liked the design approach that Zones are known for.  Their sophisticated approach with attention to detail was attractive, as we also wanted to put car parking at the front without ruining the pretty bungalow look of the house from the street.”

“We did our research and really liked the design approach that Zones are known for."
- Danny, Zones client

With everything up for an overhaul, Debbie was able to get stuck in and let her design juices flow.  She explains, “The Sherwin's were after a backyard that could facilitate dining, play and relaxation as a family, they wanted the outdoor area completely redesigned. This included adding in an aesthetically pleasing parking space at the front, landscaping and layout.  It was important to create a sophisticated outdoor area that was well thought out spatially, with quality finish and materials that worked well with the existing house to create a streamlined look.”

A tropical backyard makeover in Westmere, Auckland

As for the style? Who wouldn't want to escape the city to enjoy this tropical hideaway. “The couple wanted a modern and resort-like garden that had a tropical feel, defined with edging plants,” Debbie explains.  “Adding decks that extended out from the background to the spa area would extend the living and revitalise the home from the inside out.”  The staggered deck layers add in an interesting element to the outdoor space and give the spa area a slightly elevated feel, adding to the relaxing experience.

“The couple wanted a modern and resort-like garden that had a tropical feel, defined with edging plants."
- Debbie, Landscaping specialist

To enhance the resort-like outdoor space, easy to maintain greenery was key to streamlining the different areas while creating a privacy wall between neighbours close by. Debbie explains, "The planting was chosen to reflect the tropical theme of the garden contributing to its modern yet resort-like style. Simple, clean, clear lines with layers created edging and definition which added to the sophisticated feel. The planting also needed to fit some dry areas and some wet areas and still flourish so the right plants were critical to define areas and also produce the lush garden that reflects a resort atmosphere.” But the greenery isn't all about the aesthetics.  Raised vegetable garden beds by urbanmac were installed, using sustainable untreated macrocarpa these kitset boxes are ideal for growing organic vegetables and herbs.  With the vegetable gardens in close proximity to the kitchen the vegetable patch is handy for the family to grab what they need for dinner.

An overview of the backyard with new deck and pergola

For the Sherwin's, the outdoor overhaul has changed how they live in the home as well as adding immeasurable long-term value, future proofing the space for themselves and their children. “Because of our extended living area, we are now planning to stay at least another five years in the home - it has uplifted the feel of the overall property and we love the impact the new front has for our street view.  And the outdoor space is ideal for entertaining our friends and family.” The utilities and toys are now concealed at the side of the house, and the stunning light features outside make for a beautiful design feature.

Debbie’s fellow Zones team member, Stu Gill said, “We are incredibly proud of how this project has turned out. The team has worked hard to ensure a high level of detail in the finish and to keep within the client's budget.”

“The kids are thrilled with the spa pool and spend a lot of time there or swinging in the comfy egg chairs.  We made sure to keep a decent space for their trampoline and they love having options for where to hang out"
- Suzanne, Zones client

As for the kids, they love their reformed play area.  “The kids are thrilled with the spa pool and spend a lot of time there or swinging in the comfy egg chairs.  We made sure to keep a decent space for their trampoline and they love having options for where to hang out”, Suzanne explains.

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Zones can support you with every stage of your landscaping project. Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation.