Modernising a Cosy Courtyard in Herne Bay, Auckland

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Modernising a Cosy Courtyard in Herne Bay, Auckland\n

This townhome's tired courtyard has been converted into a relaxing hideaway with thoughtful features and a functional design.

Before After
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The Initial Consultation 

Lynn, the homeowner of this Herne Bay townhouse, approached Zones Landscaping fresh off the heels of a less than thrilling renovation. Wrought with costly hiccups and subpar results, the experience left her apprehensive. 

Zones connected her with local Landscaping Specialist Kate Ryan, who led the build and design to restore her courtyard. Lynn’s mind was put to ease with Kate managing the project, and what started as a dreaded venture was now an exciting opportunity.

Concept Creation and Costing

Situated in one of Auckland’s most desirable suburbs with an interior to match, Lynn wanted to update the courtyard to follow suit. Having only 50m2 to work with, attention to detail was paramount. One of Lynn’s main concerns was the pavers. They were old, lifted, and uneven making them not only an eyesore but a hazard. 

Unfortunately, the pavers weren’t the only issue. As with many Herne Bay homes, the neighbours were a bit too close for comfort, stripping the space of any semblance of privacy. Given the council restrictions, the team would need to be creative.

Up for the challenge, Kate surveyed the well-worn courtyard and saw its endless potential. Though space was limited, the new design would optimise every square metre, turning it into a functional, modern space – far from a cookie-cutter backyard. All up, this courtyard rejuvenation, laden with custom features, cost the homeowners $89,000.

The Building of a Dream

Groundbreaking on Lynn’s outdoor sanctuary took place on March 20th, 2020. A time most of us won’t soon forget. Work was suspended indefinitely due to the covid lockdown. However, what could have completely derailed this project, was kept firmly under control by Kate, who kept Lynn informed with open communication throughout. 

Though this was a major setback, the team worked hard to keep up a good pace and move ahead steadily. The new louvre presented problems of its own as the section was small with coverage restrictions; Kate and her landscaping team needed to make the louvre partially opened. They held many meetings to finalise the logistics of the vertical privacy louvre and established innovative design solutions to make it a reality. While requiring a surplus of patience, effort, and know-how, custom pieces are worth it every time. 

Despite the myriad of obstacles, Kate and her landscaping team managed to see the project go ahead smoothly, and the beautiful courtyard was completed in July 2020.

Bliss Come to Fruition

Having the design centred around indoor/outdoor living creates an inviting space for Lynn to enjoy nearly all year round. The preceding layout was choppy and lacked flow. A new deck spanning the length of the house unifies the courtyard while allowing dedicated dining and seating areas. Recognising the need to anchor the space, Kate chose a sleek, ultra-modern gas fireplace surrounded by built-in seating – the perfect spot for creating memories. 

The custom-made louvre serves as a stunning and functional design element, providing the courtyard with much-needed privacy and shelter from the elements. As a final addition, subtle custom lighting was installed directly into the louvre, allowing it to be enjoyed at night without the assaulting luminosity of floodlights.

Three custom laser-cut corten steel installations serve as a unique solution for decorating the concrete block wall. Climbing vines and backlighting complement the art perfectly from day to night, making it a fantastic centrepiece for conversation.

The courtyard’s walls received a fresh coat of black paint, and the surrounding gardens have been freshened up where required. These finer changes make all the difference in the final look, which is neat and sleek in all corners. To tie everything together, neutrally coloured minimalist furniture completes the modern aesthetic of the sun deck.

An Invaluable Courtyard Upgrade

Reclaiming this once tired and lesser functional space was invaluable to Lynn, the homeowner. 

All the one-of-a-kind tailored features included in this design required ten specialist subcontractors. Along with covid difficulties and distinct spatial considerations, this Herne Bay backyard could have ended up costing Lynn majorly in time and money. But with Kate and her landscaping team handling all aspects, Lynn enjoyed the experience with peace of mind that the project would go according to plan. It’s a great demonstration that project managers are most certainly worth their weight in gold.

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This project was completed in
August 2021
Project description
Converting a courtyard into a relaxing hideaway with thoughtful features and a functional design
Auckland Central
New Zealand
Project duration
3.5 months
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Covid delays and spatial limitations
Interesting aspects
Wrap-around louvre and built-in seating
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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.

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