The Whiteside family’s home was missing an entertainment area and a place where their young children could play safely. Zones landscaping specialist Steve Strawbridge helped the family by converting the space into an outdoor area where the whole family can spend time in. 

WORDS Amber Wijnstok

This Zones Landscaping project took the Whiteside families backyard to new heights.

With a brief from the Whiteside family to create their dream outdoor space connecting to the inside entertainment hub of the home, Zones Landscaping Specialist Steve Strawbridge didn’t initially forecast a helicopter delivery as part of the plan.

As the homeowners Mark and Karina discussed their needs and wants with Steve, the plan developed into transforming a tight space of grass outside the dining and family areas of the home. As it stood, there was no area for their two young children to play safely, entertain guests outside or a designated space for their German Shepherd, Tana. 

As it stood, there was no area for their two young children to play safely, entertain guests outside or a designated space for their German Shepherd, Tana. 

“We had a blank canvas outside which was waiting to be exploited. It has extensive, elevated views of Upper Hutt yet it was essentially just a grass lawn. We wanted to add an outdoor living space that would see our family utilising the area with more frequency including in inclement weather,” Karina explains. The outdoor space was designed to showcase a stunning communal area with a fireplace that would become the standout feature of the property.

Steve explains, “The entertaining zone was designed to create a visual aspect with the fire, giving the ability to spend the evening outside in the cooler months enjoying a drink with friends and the fire, hence the added built-in seating.” With the stunning schist fireplace weighing over 2 tonnes, and a drop spot near a large hill drop off on the property, a crane delivery wasn’t possible. “We had flown in a fire to a very tight difficult site before and decided that this may be the best way to achieve the install. This method allowed us to build the base onsite and then fly in and install the main fire body and the chimney,” says Steve.

outdoor room makeover in Wellington

A Louvre roof was also installed to further embrace the idea of an intimate outdoor room, allowing the family to filter the sun or keep the heat or rain out. Smart technology was also used, “We added a rain sensor which closes the roof automatically if it senses rain and the homeowners love this function,” explains Steve. The planting selection required extra thought due to the nature of the high winds and clay soil on the property.

“We added a rain sensor which closes the roof automatically if it senses rain and the homeowners love this function."
- Steve, Landscaping specialist

Steve explains, “We wanted plants that would provide thick green foliage, add pops of colour against the natural tones of the stone, house and timber but also, they needed to be durable for kids, dog and the environment which can be hit with very high winds from the north and the cold southerly.” New steps were also created spanning the full width of the patio, with easy care gravel and raised planters for veggies and herbs.

Steve worked in collaboration with Refresh Renovations Consultant Lia Boersma on the design of the doors and entrance to the outside space. “Refresh did the small renovation in terms of the exterior door and we worked together to ensure that together with my team we provided the Whiteside family with a result that was what they dreamed of,” explains Steve.

“We found ourselves trusting their decision making and advice.  This has been an investment that will pay dividends in enjoyment as our family grows with the property.”
- Karina, Zones client

With a chopper delivery, the Whiteside’s experience with Zones Landscaping was unforgettable. “We found ourselves trusting their decision making and advice,”explains Karina, “This has been an investment that will pay dividends in enjoyment as our family grows with the property.”

This article by Amber Wijnstok featured on page 80 in Issue 026 of Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

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