Creating a stunning designer backyard with pool in St Heliers, Auckland | Zones

Good WinnerSilver WinnerBronze Winner
Outdoor poolscape

A full outdoor transformation took this backyard from bland to beautiful, with a striking designer pool, thoughtful planting, and a perfect patio for year-round relaxing and entertaining.

Before After
No items found.

The initial consultation

Natalie’s backyard in St Heliers, Auckland had plenty of space but was lacking personality. With nothing but grass on offer, the outdoor area was sorely underutilised – not to mention uninspiring! Natalie had dreams of transforming her dull backyard into a family oasis, with a pool for the children being a top priority.

 Natalie contacted her local Zones Consultant Kate Ryan, who arranged a free meeting to discuss Natalie’s backyard goals. Natalie explained that the home was currently tenanted and that she would soon be living overseas for a time, so an excellent project manager was crucial. Kate assured her that she would be the single point of contact throughout the entire project and would expertly manage every element. This complete end-to-end service was ideal for Natalie. She and Kate then began the exciting task of creating a dream concept. 

Creating a concept

At the top of Natalie’s wish list was a pool which she knew would bring hours of enjoyment for her young children. But she also wanted the backyard to feel inviting, whether entertaining family and friends or recharging with a quiet cuppa. With Kate’s expert guidance, the pair decided to tackle the renovation as two distinct projects with an extended timeline. A custom louvre roof would be installed on the deck while the property was tenanted and Natalie was overseas, and once the family was living in the home once again, the pool installation and landscaping would get under way.

Because Zones offer a bespoke landscaping service focused on delivering exactly what works for each client, Kate was only too happy to tackle the outdoor renovation in stages. The online customer portal would also be an excellent tool for Natalie to utilise while she was away, enabling her to see progress, receive messages, and view invoices all in the one place. The Stage 2 excavation and pool installation costs were handled directly by Natalie herself.

Building the dream

Over several weeks in late Spring, a louvre roof and custom slatted cedar screen was installed on the existing north-facing decking at Natalie’s property. This instantly upgraded the outdoor space and the deck immediately became a popular spot, thanks to the shade from the new louvre system.

The major construction of the pool and other landscaping took place almost a year later, starting in July. Pool installations are always a major investment, and require numerous specialists and professionals, as well as council consent. Kate and her team managed the entire process, from the concept design right through to the delivery.

Natalie was eager to start the pool excavation as soon as possible, but an extremely wet winter and the discovery of reclaimed soil that turned to sludge with the high-water table made the excavation extremely difficult, causing both delays and increased costs. Extra drainage of the lawn area, executed by the excavation company, added peace of mind long term. Ever the problem solver, Kate reworked the original fencing design from all glass to partly aluminium which helped offset some of the site work costs. The fence also had a custom panel worked into the design to ensure the height would meet council requirements.

Paving, pebbles, and planting soon followed, as well as a custom pool shed and a new patio area.

No items found.

A complete transformation

Despite difficulties with the excavation, Natalie’s dream pool and landscaping were completed – to stunning effect. Nestled next to established trees and featuring gorgeous wood decking, the space is exactly what Natalie had in mind for her family. The ultra-wide pool steps are perfect for youngsters, and by focusing the glass fence near the patio only, Kate has achieved a designer look and feel.

The sunken patio near the pool provides a wonderful zone for relaxing in the sun, while new lawn and tropical planting adds softness to the backyard. A boardwalk links the deck and the new patio and pool area, creating a cohesiveness between the different spaces.  

Final Thoughts

With expert design and project management, Natalie’s backyard has been transformed from dull to designer! A serene family oasis now invites constant use, and a spa has since been added for family enjoyment.

Kate is thrilled with the outcome. “Natalie’s backyard is perfect for a young family. The different zones create visual interest, but the entire space is still cohesive. The cedar screen under the louvre adds a special warmth, and all the new planting has really brought the space to life.”

Would you like to discuss your landscaping ideas?

Get in touch for a free consultation with your local Landscaping Consultant.

This project was completed in
July 2023
Project description
Pool and Backyard Landscaping
Auckland Central
New Zealand
Project duration
6 weeks (Stage 1); 4 months (Stage 2)
Cost estimate
Actual cost
$40k (Stage 1); $112k (Stage Two), excavation and pool installation excepted.
High water table and reclaimed soil (turned sludge) made excavation in winter extremely challenging.
Interesting aspects
Cedar slatted timber screen with custom aluminium rails to install. Porcelain pavers for anti-slip and anti-stain.
Share to

Kate Ryan is Landscaping Consultant of Woodbury Landscapes Ltd, 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.

Are you ready to discuss your ideas?

Please fill out your details in the online form provided and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours to arrange a free, no obligation consultation.

Get in touch
No items found.