Kate Ryan gave this front yard a four-week makeover for $64,000.

WORDS Mina Phillips

When a large tree was removed from their front section, homeowners Michelle and Rhys began to envision a new outdoor living space for their front yard that would connect to their kitchen. They contacted Zones landscaping specialist Kate Ryan who, with the support of her team, helped the pair to completely redesign the area.

“The front section was a blank canvas after the large tree was removed”, tells Kate. “Michelle and Rhys briefed us to create an entertaining area with a fireplace and seating.”

Key to this project was finding a suitable height for the new decking: it needed to be built high enough to connect to the house while also being low enough to ensure privacy. Landscaping Architect Vaughan MacKenzie-Brown kept this in mind as he developed a deck design that would flow into new garden beds. The plan for the new layout featured the fireplace as the deck’s focal point, with various areas of interest surrounding the deck to add new life to the space.

Once the design and cost estimate was approved, Kate and her team began implementing it. The deck was built using Vitex decking from Placemakers. The fireplace was installed - an impressive Buschbeck model from Riverlea Group. And, to complete the new layout, a Teamturf artificial lawn was installed - for year-round low maintenance. With these major changes in place, Kate and her team moved onto the garden and aesthetic detailing.

“Extra planter boxes were added to create a screen along the side deck to the road”, explains Kate. “A water fountain and garden lighting finished off the whoa factor to make the space beautiful to look at and tranquil to be in. Kentia palms were used for privacy and to create a striking backdrop. We also created a tropical palette with pops of bright colour using bromeliads and Vireya Rhododendrons in reds and orange.”

A final and essential step in the low-maintenance aspect of this project was to install irrigation.

“We even got driplines into the existing house planter box where Michelle said she had managed to kill every plant before!” adds Kate. “Now they look from the living room onto a lovely green planted space.”

Michelle and Rhys are now enjoying their new outdoor space which allows them to sit and enjoy social occasions with guests by the fire and easily take indoor dining outside when the weather allows. 

“The concept design with 3D images bought the dream to life and the result was exactly as designed”, concludes Kate. “Michelle and Rhys have renovated before and commented on the Zones’ process being particularly easy and enjoyable to go through, without hidden surprises.”

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