This Westmere family requested a louvre roof, along with an outdoor fireplace, artificial lawn, new decking and a spa area.

WORDS Mina Phillips

Creating a clear contrast between work and home environments is always ideal, but it’s almost essential for those who live in urban areas. The pleasant suburb Westmere is close to many of Auckland’s major attractions - from the city centre to Auckland Zoo. While practical and close to both work and play, living so close to a city centre can produce the need for a home that provides a retreat from the hustle and bustle. When Zones landscaping specialist Kate Ryan was contacted by a Westmere family with some exciting landscaping ideas, she used the Zones bespoke design and build process to help them create an outdoor living space that meets their lifestyle needs.

Homeowner Matt and his family were interested in creating an outdoor living area that would lead out from their interior living space. It needed to be a space that they would gravitate toward regardless of the season.

“Homeowner Matt and his family were interested in creating an outdoor living area that would lead out from their interior living space. It needed to be a space that they would gravitate toward regardless of the season."

“The back area was underutilised with a hard concrete pad that wasn't big enough to sit on or pleasant to look at, and a lawn that didn't grow well due to the lower position”, explains Kate. “The clients wanted the area to look smart and modern, and for it to link with their house. Creating a space that they would be able to use all year around was a priority.”

Kate presented her customers with a design that cohesively featured their ideas. She then worked with them to perfect this design to their specifications.

“The process was very client orientated - we worked on the finer details of everything”, tells Kate. “There were meetings making out the space and taking the time to get the proportions right. The design encompassed a new outdoor living area with a large concrete fire, louvre roof, new decking, spa area and artificial turf.”

Once the homeowners were happy with the finer details of the design and the related costs, Kate and her team began the construction and installation process. Accessing the site proved challenging, as the landscape is closely surrounded by other houses.

“The access was difficult and getting the thick concrete pad out was very challenging and costly”, says Kate. “I found a decking supplier that could fix timber onto the concrete with special fixings so it could be flush with the house floor height. This saved the client money on the excavation and disposal. We still took part of the concrete out to make the lawn area bigger and get the proportions of the decking, louvre roof and lawn looking great.”

Every stylistic choice reflected Kate’s customers’ goal to be able to have an enjoyable outdoor area that is functional no matter the weather. Team Turf supplied the artificial turf, which allows the homeowners to live in a mud-free zone throughout the winter. It also provides an easy maintenance solution in comparison to their original lawn. Vitex decking, from HiDeck, now offers an aesthetic contrast between the open and covered areas, while the Pacific Powder Coating louvre roof allows sunlight to stream through in the summer while providing sealed coverage in the winter. The outdoor fireplace and spa area were the final touches, creating some winter warmth.

“Kate was very efficient in coordinating all of the tradies"
- Matt, Zones client

“Kate was very efficient in coordinating all of the tradies”, tells homeowner Matt. “She had a very good bunch of people working on the project and it all went very smoothly. The Zones project management process was pretty much as I expected. It was quick, efficient and everything was on budget. Kate listened to my ideas, which were ever-changing of course. It took the responsibility away from me, which was what I wanted.” 

Kate and her customers enjoyed champagne by the roaring fire to celebrate the completed result. Kate says working with her customers was great and that, together, they achieved “such a good result!” 

“It’s all come together really well,'' agrees Matt. “I would have to say my favourite features are the Louvre and the fireplace. The louvre guys have been really good to work with. All of the suppliers were very accommodating and helped us through some tricky little problems. We’re very impressed!”