Creating a resort-style backyard in Mount Eden, Auckland

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This Mount Eden bungalow hadn’t seen many improvements to its backyard in over a century. But now, that landscape is transformed into a fantastic exercise and entertaining area.

Before After
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Ready for a new look

After spending so much time at home throughout COVID, Claire, the owner of this Mount Eden bungalow, was motivated to upgrade her property. With fitness and entertaining as priorities, Claire decided a pool would be the perfect centrepiece for her new backyard.

Having recently observed friends go through a pool installation process, she recognised the value of a professionally managed outdoor renovation, especially one as transformative as the one she envisaged. Local Zones Landscaping Consultant Freda Yang visited Claire’s property during their initial consultation to discuss her goals, budget, and design ideas, and set realistic expectations around a timeline.

Concept designs, a cost estimate, and council applications

Freda’s background in garden design was a great match for Claire’s project. Combining her expertise with Claire’s vision, Freda produced concept designs for a contemporary social area adjoining the pool to create a modern and spacious feeling, using different colours, textures, and carefully selected furnishings. 

Final details were sorted out with 3D working drawings and Freda provided a cost estimate of $200,000. Then came the timeline. With pool projects, flexible deadlines are generally beneficial since a lengthy consent process is par for the course. Freda handled all of the applications and correspondence with the Auckland Council and, after a few months of waiting for approval to install the swimming pool and fence, construction was ready to begin. 

Overcoming challenges during construction

Prep work began with demolition — clearing the old decking and fence, brick and cobblestone driveway, plants, and trees — to create a blank canvas for Claire’s new oasis. But there were a few roadblocks ahead. The first came shortly after excavation began. The team discovered the existing concrete retaining wall lacked structural integrity. Freda arranged for concrete specialists to reinforce the foundation so that it was strong enough to support the new 1.8m high aluminium boundary fence.

Then, during some of Auckland’s winter downpours, it became obvious that Claire’s property had drainage issues because of flooding from her neighbour’s sloped driveway. With Freda’s problem-solving skills to the fore, the team installed a drainage pipe to divert water into the storm water tank to avoid flooding of the pool area in the future. 

The last obstacle was the width of the driveway; the pool couldn’t fit! Freda worked closely with the pool company to come up with a safe and effective solution. After thorough prepping at the property, the pool shell was hoisted from the street front and positioned safely in place, without damage to the pool structure or any of the surrounding area. 

These challenges incurred additional costs bringing the total to $250,000. Freda maintained transparent communication throughout and Claire understood the necessity for the extra expense. Freda’s expert project management throughout ensured a stress-free experience for Claire, despite the unexpected setbacks. 

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Luxe resort living

By utilising the Zones’ 5-step process Freda delivered a fantastic backyard while minimising disruptions in Claire’s day-to-day life. What used to be a cluttered and messy area is now a cohesive space with a delightfully deliberate design. 

The new deck, built with long-lasting composite planks by Outdure, surrounds the pool and encourages flow between the interior and the new outdoor living space which by day is a relaxing sanctuary and by night a chic lounge area for entertaining. The custom-made aluminium slat fencing envelops Claire’s oasis in privacy. Enhancing the contemporary design are lights embedded in the decking and walkway, and underwater lighting to create night-time ambience.

Final thoughts

Claire’s decision to engage Freda to manage this project ws far-sighted. There was no way she could have anticipated any of the challenges that cropped up during her project. Freda and the Zones team worked hard on her behalf to deliver a spectacular resort-style retreat, on time and within budget, and Claire is thrilled with the outcome.

This project was completed in
November 2022
Project description
Pool and landscaping
Auckland Central
New Zealand
Project duration
3 months
Cost estimate
Actual cost
An inadequate retaining wall, flooding, and restricted site access.
Interesting aspects
Chic mood lighting.
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Freda Yang is Landscaping Consultant of KLOUD WY INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, a franchisee of Zones Outdoor Renovations Ltd, doing business in Auckland.

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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