Contemporary Tropical Landscape Design in Auckland

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Zones Landscaper improved the visual excitement of the Wai O Taiki Bay property, Kate Ryan completed this project on time and within the budget of 40K.

Before After
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Wai O Taiki Bay is one of Auckland’s better-kept secrets. Situated near the mouth of the Tamaki Estuary to the east of the city, homeowners enjoy easy access to beaches, parks, and a well-known wildlife sanctuary.

It’s an area worth the investment in renovating and the owners of one of the well-established homes in the area have a number of plans for the house and surrounding outdoor space. Having initially contacted Refresh Renovations, it soon became apparent that landscaping the front of the section was a priority and work on the house was put on hold while this was done.

backyard revamp in Auckland

Landscape design

Enter Zones Landscape Specialist Kate Ryan. She recently completed the first stage of a two-stage project that will see the entire garden area of the property transformed. As Kate explains, “At the front of the house the driveway needed to be widened, the lawn levelled, a front fence erected, an automatic sliding electric gate installed, and garden beds created to present an attractive entrance with street appeal. The area around the pool in the back garden needed a revamp and there was bad access from the house to the pool area.”

A concept plan addressing all of these issues was created for the project then split into two stages. “The proposal for Stage 1, the front of the property, really resonated with us and this area became our priority. Stage Two will require finalising the overall plan for the rear of the house and, while we’re very keen to get onto this, it may have to wait a little longer while some interior renovating is completed,” say the owners.

Wide driveway built in Auckland

Building a retaining wall

Kate’s team of professionals had allowed a three-week time frame to complete the project. To level the lawn at the front and create an area for the fence and gate, it was necessary to put in a retaining wall. This provided a challenge when it was realised there were stormwater pipes to contend with; by moving a pipe, the problem was solved. The lawn was then given a layer of topsoil, levelled and over-sown.

Garden Landscaping in Auckand

Installing aluminium fencing

To ensure the project stayed on the budget at $40,000 it was decided to use aluminium for the front fence which was painted in popular Grey Friar which matched the house exterior. The side fence was also painted to match. “This contrasted beautifully with the bright green of the Ficus Tuffy hedge,” says Kate. In another move to keep to budget, she says smaller hedge plants were used.

lawns redsigned in central Auckland

A modern, tropical garden

Access to the house is gained through a carport area at the front which was re-designed to be tidier and more welcoming by building a slatted screen area to hide the rubbish bins. The driveway was widened, and, to add some visual excitement, a new garden leading to the front door was created and filled with bright coloured bromeliads. Dypsis (sugar cane) palms down the drive and chamedorea palms near the front door provide a sophisticated finishing touch. “The new garden has a tropical, modern vibe that suits the seaside area and it’s made a huge difference to what was a previously plain front entrance,” says Kate.

Dirve way and lawns in Auckland

Final thoughts

For the homeowners, there are a number of highlights. “Our overall aim to improve the street appeal of the house has been met but probably our best decisions would be widening the driveway and the Colorsteel fence/gate combination that’s painted to link with the exterior colour of the house.” And they say, “It was great to have Kate as a single point of contact, coordinating with the landscape designer and with the various teams carrying out the work. “Undoubtedly this made the overall process faster.”

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Quick facts:

  • Project: Stage 1 of a two-stage landscaping project, aimed at improving the street appeal of a Wai O Taiki property while also increasing security  
  • Budget: $40,000. Some minor changes were made along the way to keep within this figure (over-sowing the lawn, front fencing and plantings)
  • Challenges: Realigning stormwater pipes to enable the building of a retaining wall
  • Best decisions: Widening the driveway; the choice of fence material then painting that to link to the house
  • Client Comment; “Having a single point of contact in Kate undoubtedly made the overall process faster.”

Contact your local landscaping specialist

Zones can support you with every aspect of your landscaping project. Get in touch to book a free consultation, or take a look at our other case studies for more inspiration!


This project was completed in
October 2018
Project description
Auckland Central
New Zealand
Project duration
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Realigning stormwater pipes to enable the building of a retaining wall
Interesting aspects
Widening the driveway; the choice of fence material then painting that to link to the house
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Kate Ryan is Landscaping Consultant of Woodbury Landscapes Ltd, a franchisee of Zones Outdoor Renovations Ltd, doing business in Auckland.

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