Landscaping specialists Jason and Anisa Clarke were brought on to transform this Maunu home’s backyard into a relaxing subtropical oasis.

WORDS Raul Sharma

The owners of this Maunu home were sick of their unkempt overgrown back garden and decided it was time for a change. Landscaping specialists Jason and Anisa Clarke were brought in to help, along with designer James McLean from JD Landscape Architecture. They spoke with homeowners Ang and Steve, who shared their vision — they wanted to transform their backyard and side entrance into a subtropical oasis with a concrete patio, lawn, and raised garden. 

“We wanted a total transformation that was both functional and low maintenance,” explains Ang. “A place we could spend a lot of our time!”

Excited by the massive potential and the homeowners’ brief, Jason got right into it. The Zones Landscaping team started by removing all the weeds that had accumulated over time, as well as the large palms that were at the end of their lifecycle. 

During this project, Ang and Steve were also carrying out renovation work on their home, so Jason and his team had to cooperate and communicate with other trades on site to ensure there were no scheduling conflicts.

Jason proceeded to construct a retaining wall made from timber, then established the lawn and garden parameters. He added additional topsoil and lawn mix, before contouring and sowing the lawn. After this, it came time to lay the concrete patio and paths to bring it all together. The concrete patio and paths were zinc oxide bush hammered and sealed with charcoal grout at the joints to give it a decorative finish. 

He worked closely with both the designer and Ang when it came to plant selection, sizing, and placement. A range of subtropicals and natives were planted, including: nikau palms, westringia, hen and chicken ferns, hibiscus, cordyline negra, tractor seat plants, bird of paradise, frangipani, heuchera, coleus, as well as bedding plants for colour! 

The plant establishment was carried out in December, which was the start of a record breaking long, hot, and dry summer up North. “It was challenging to get the plants and lawn established in these conditions,” confesses Jason. “We had to set up shade structures for some of the more delicate specimens.” But that wasn’t the end of it, as the high temperatures also became a challenge during the laying of the concrete patio, resulting in an uneven finish with some discolouration of the oxide. 

“We were unhappy with this outcome and knew this was not up to Zones’ standards,” admits Jason. “Which is why we worked closely with our concrete and local concrete finishing experts Farrell Concrete, and together, we were able to grind, brush hammer, and seal the patio to give Ang and Steve a superior finish to the original brief!”

As Jason and his team had to wait for the concrete to harden before carrying out this process, it added another 4 weeks to the build time. But the end result was worth it, as you can tell by the pictures.

Jason wrapped it all up by sourcing plants from local subtropical and native nurseries, as well as Mitre 10, delivering the exact vision that Ang and Steve had in mind!

“We were really pleased with the final result,” says Jason. “Our clients were really passionate and involved in the whole process. The decorative finish on the concrete really makes the space, and as the new plants grow and become more established, the garden will be as vibrant and lush as a tropical paradise should be. We love the bamboo fencing that our clients installed too, it really complements the whole look and feel of the landscaping.”

“My husband and I are absolutely stoked with the final product and are grateful to Zones Whangarei for all the hard yards put into this,” says Ang. “Jason and Anisa were amazing. They provided great service with excellent communication. When we had an issue with our concrete, Jason went above and beyond to ensure we got the end result we wanted. We spend a lot of time out here now!”

Since the end of the project, Ang and Steve have kept in touch with Jason and Anisa. “They have kept in touch periodically to make sure everything is going well and are going to stop in a few weeks from now to provide some plants for those that didn’t make it through the very hot summer,” says Ang. “I’d highly recommend them to any other homeowner looking to get landscaping work done!”

Thinking of landscaping?

If you’re feeling inspired and want to get started on your own landscaping project, get in touch with your local Zones specialist today for a free consultation!