Creating a modern outdoor living area with low-maintenance landscaping in Kohimarama

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Homeowner concerns called for clever problem-solving on the part of Zones Landscaping Consultant Kate Ryan who transformed this space into a modern backyard oasis.

Before After
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A need for outdoor living

Kohimarama homeowner Robin’s property had loads of untapped potential that she wanted to convert into a modern outdoor living area that she could utilise year-round. Auckland’s hot summers and wet winters meant the space needed to be versatile to accommodate the changing seasons. 

To complement the new alfresco space, Robin wanted to update the surrounding landscape and garden as well. She reached out to local Landscaping Consultant Kate Ryan for help and guidance executing the multifaceted outdoor renovation. 

Concept drawings and redesigns

During their initial consultation, Kate and Robin discussed her goals in detail, the main priorities being year-round usage and an upscale, modern design. With this in mind, Kate arranged for concept designs to be drawn up as a starting point that she and Robin could review together. 

The original iteration of Robin’s landscape design was estimated to cost $80,000. The 3D imagery included the proposed living area complete with decking, an extensive overhead louvre system, and a planting plan. Robin expressed her concern over the louvre attaching directly to the facade of her home. Kate and the team reworked the plans and provided a solution that didn’t require the louvre to be fixed to the home’s structure, however, due to the bespoke shape of the louvre, waterproofing proved to be an issue.

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Smart problem-solving

Kate and the team hit the drawing board one last time to problem-solve the waterproofing. They came up with a solution that involved custom-made flashings and additional supports that would address the waterproofing without compromising on the wrap-around design. 

After further refining the scope to include additional low-maintenance landscaping options, replacing the deck’s substructure, and the enlarged louvre design, Kate’s final quote for the project was $115,000. This was more than Robin initially intended spending but she was happy with the changes she made throughout the design process and was ready to bring them to life. Due to its complicated nature, Kate ensured the team made a final check of the louvre measurements before moving on to the construction stage. 

Expert project management

To execute the build, Kate assembled an experienced team of landscaping contractors and specialists from her network of trusted professionals. The crew consisted of builders, electricians, plumbers, fabricators, and louvre installers, all of which Kate managed on and off-site. 

Thanks to their meticulous planning, the building phase went smoothly with most of the challenges occurring in the earlier stages. Kate’s acute attention to detail and strict, high standards allowed the construction stage to go off without a hitch and was completed on time, about four weeks, and within the $115,000 budget. 

Final thoughts

The finished result has left Robin’s outdoor space completely transformed with multiple entertaining areas that are distinctly defined yet flow effortlessly. There are covered and exposed areas, hard and soft scaping, as well as the option to become completely screened in with automatic blinds making this living space balanced and versatile in every sense. 

Heating units are available for chilly evenings but their low profile allows them to blend into the design when not in use. Built-in lights help the space transition from day to night and if you look closely at the joints of the louvre you can see the painstaking detail that went into creating the custom piece for Robin and her family. Kate and her team’s experience was not only evident but crucial to this project’s beaming success.  

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This project was completed in
June 2023
Project description
An outdoor living area
Auckland Central
New Zealand
Project duration
4 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Custom solutions required for the louvre
Interesting aspects
Defined entertaining areas and meticulous attention to detail
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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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