Every project is interesting for Zones Landscaping Specialist Kate Ryan, but a recent makeover in the Auckland suburb of Kohimarama really ticked all the right boxes.
WORDS Patricia Moore
Every project is interesting for Zones Landscaping specialist Kate Ryan. But a recent makeover in the Auckland suburb of Kohimarama really ticked all the right boxes.
The client wanted to transform the dated and overgrown back garden of her cross-leased property. “She travels a lot and wanted a quiet and beautiful sanctuary to return to between trips,” says Kate.
Given the scope of work involved, the actual budget of $39,000 was higher than her client had initially planned for, but she loved Kate’s design and chose to go ahead. And, after just 3 ½ weeks work she has a completely revamped garden area that’s modern, clean and private – and requires a minimum of upkeep.
So why choose Zones Landscaping? Kate’s client explains; “Never having done a project like this before I wasn’t confident in my understanding of what I needed and felt with a well-known business I would have the reassurance of the name and know I was dealing with professionals. Plus – I like their Facebook page!”
For Kate’s team, the greatest challenge was the size of the space; it’s small so the design needed to maximise the useable areas to create the soothing atmosphere her client was after. The size also meant difficulties for the people carrying out the work. But, as professionals they knew how to make it happen.
The existing pine deck was extended using matching timber and everything but a cabbage tree, a large camellia and some clivia were cleared from the garden to make room for new semi-tropical plantings. The old trellis screen was removed and replaced with one that highlights Kate’s design skills. “Instead of a standard slotted screen, I designed one using three different widths of timber placed in an irregular pattern. I used rosewood, a beautiful hardwood that’s long-lasting and won’t warp, and oiled it, which brought out the grain and added warmth to the timber. It’s a real feature and gives great privacy.”
The screen by the deck was balanced with another situated by new raised vegetable beds created from Macrocarpa sleepers oiled to match the deck screen. “The hue of the wood adds real warmth to the garden,” says Kate.
For Kate’s client, the bespoke wooden ‘walls’, that replaced the trellis are a high point. “I originally thought I’d settle for a standard manufactured trellis but in reality, I wanted something unique. Kate really understood my thinking and she took considerable time to work out the best solution. With the various sized battens and second ‘mirror’ wall at the other end of the garden, the result exceeds what I had envisaged and I love it!”
She says another really good decision was spending money on the garden lighting. “This is a very small house and at night the lighting in the garden creates a view where previously it was just darkness. It gives a feeling of space and depth making the living area feel much larger.” A water feature near the deck and bedroom adds another special touch and a relaxing, tranquil sound.
In addition to the work on extending the deck and replacing screens, an old brick path was torn up and replaced with large concrete pavers with river stones between. By moving the clothesline Kate was able to make better use of the space available.
The ‘backyard’ was just part of the project. The entrance to the property was also given a makeover with new planting in the carport garden beds and a paved area created for the bins. The next step is to paint the brick house white, leaving the whole property completely modernised.
For the homeowner, the whole process was “almost seamless in terms of our initial meetings turning into plans, with a few adjustments as we went along. Kate was really great as was the team that did the work. As you would expect there were a few niggles we needed to work through around changes, but in terms of customer experience and communication it was pretty much exemplary and communication was very good. In particular, Kate was excellent to work with – very calm, professional and friendly.”
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