Fit for a Fiesta: Stunning Backyard Renovation in Epsom, Central Auckland

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Poolscape with brilliant lighting at night

With a big party planned, this worn and – at times – dangerous Central Auckland backyard needed a spruce up. New decking, pavers, fencing, lighting, and an outdoor BBQ kitchen saw this backyard go from sad to fab and fiesta ready.

Before After
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Invites sent

Dave and Justine needed to renovate their outdoor area ASAP. After building their contemporary home 10 years earlier, the couple had always planned to upgrade their backyard, and Justine’s big birthday celebration gave them the push they needed to get the project completed.

Their vision was to align the outdoor living area with the home’s contemporary chic and create a space that a large number of people could enjoy. Adding an outdoor kitchen with BBQ would increase the versatility of the space. The existing outdoor dining area was the least used area in their backyard due to the combination of grass and pavers becoming slippery and muddy in wet weather. The pool decking had worn and faded over the years and was no longer up to scratch. Lack of privacy was also an issue.

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Before meeting Zones Landscaping Consultant Freda Yang, Dave had challenges finding the right tradespeople and builders to make his vision come to life. During consultation, Freda showed them work from previous projects and explained the Zones five-step process to Dave and Justine. Dave felt confident he had found the right fit for his project and the end result would meet his expectations.

Once Dave and Justine were assured the project would be completed before the birthday, they had no hesitation about moving forward with Freda.

Plans underway

Fully cognisant of Dave and Justine’s goals, Freda embarked on the concept design and estimation phase to determine the feasibility of the project. When presented with detailed designs that brought their ideas to life, Dave and Justine were thrilled. The hazardous dining area would be covered with composite decking; the pool surround would be replaced with new composite decking and under-deck storage added; and a highly functional BBQ kitchen designed and built. Privacy would be achieved via a wooden screen atop the existing concrete retaining wall, and new lighting design would set just the right mood.

Dave and Justine weren’t heavily budget-led: they just wanted to get things done as planned. With scope agreed and a project cost of $75,000 signed off, construction began.

Building up to the big day

As the landscape build progressed, Dave and Justine’s confidence in the performance of the Zones team grew and they decided to expand the scope to include replacing the old wooden deck outside of the living room and building a new wooden garden gate. This brought the cost to $100,000 but didn’t add to the timeline. Taking it all in their stride, Freda’s team stepped up to the challenge.

The project planning and building stage started well before the deadline set, to allow enough time to deal with unexpected problems should any arise during the build stage. Freda closely monitored the progress and timeline to ensure the whole team worked together and stuck to the schedule.

Special consideration was given to the drainage plan, given the original problem of mud and slippery surfaces in the dining area. Drainage channels and grates were installed on both sides of the new decking area to remove surface water from the deck and prevent flooding and overspill, especially during wet weather.

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A great success

The completed project turned out exactly as designed and Dave and Justine love the result. The birthday party went off without a hitch and friends and family were able to celebrate with Justine in a stylish space that enhanced the party atmosphere.

The new composite decking in the dining area, beside the pool, and outside of the living room brings the spaces together as a cohesive whole, while adding a textural contrast to the sleek pavers in the main area. The vertical wood paling accent through the fence, kitchen and into the poolside recliner areas enhances the natural flow through the spaces.

Planting on the surrounding sloped garden enhances the tranquillity of the outdoor space, providing further opportunity for the family to relax together in their own private haven. The stunning lighting design creates a warm, inviting ambience. Consisting of new wall, deck, and garden lights, the upgraded outdoor area is well-lit and fully usable after dark. 

Final thoughts

Justine and Dave’s vision was brought to life, the party was a success, and the family has a versatile outdoor living area that has exceeded expectations. With clear and constant communication between consultant and clients, the thorough consultation and planning stage allowed for a smooth and considered build stage, proving the Zones five-step process is the way to go.  

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This project was completed in
March 2024
Project description
Backyard Renovation
Auckland Central
New Zealand
Project duration
10 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
No room for schedule variations given the fixed deadline.
Interesting aspects
The lighting design throughout the entire outdoor space brought warm ambience and full usability after dark.
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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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