Two backyards are co-joined to create a multi-use outdoor escape complete with tennis court, pool, al fresco dining, children's area and garden

Landscaping by Xteriorscapes

Landscape construction by Gill Landscapes


This was a huge area to landscape, at 2050m2. 

The goal was to convert the expansive blank space into many usable areas – the outdoor dining and entertaining area, large multi-purpose deck, a luxurious swimming pool, tennis court, lawn and play area for the children, functional driveway and parking spaces and decorative planting and gardens.

Background and setting

The homeowners were in the very early stages of planning a complete masterplan make-over of their two adjoining properties  when Xteriorscapes became involved. 

They wanted a pool for the property but had bigger plans of a tennis court and new outdoor living spaces to help achieve their dream backyard. 

This included the demolition of the existing house on one property and the integration of this adjoining property with the house and grounds of the adjacent property, creating one overall master planned property and new practical and introducing functional landscaping that meets the needs and requirements of their family.

The site is situated down a long driveway well off the street. Existing plantings flanked the gravel driveway that opened out to two titled sections at the rear. 

The combined sites total 1905m² and form a square shaped plot of land that is approximately 31m x 56m. 

There is approximately 500mm level difference between the start of the driveway at the street entry and the end of the driveway where the two sites are located. 

The remainder of the site is relatively flat in both north-south and east west direction.

At our initial site visit, the main dwelling had existing established trees, gardens and lawns and decked outdoor areas along with the secondary dwelling which also had established trees and gardens and paved outdoor living areas.

The surrounding neighbourhood consists of well-established houses and gardens, a number of new builds, renovated homes and beautiful established trees within the streets and a nearby reserve.

Our scope:

We carried out a detailed site inspection and site measure of the house and the grounds, carried out some research on the local planning rules, obtained historic house plans and boundary information then set up our landscape site plan. 

After our information gathering exercise, we focused on the landscape design and development of a preliminary landscape concept plan.

Our preliminary landscape concept plan was refined slightly to retain some existing lawn area, physically connect the decks from both house doors, relocate the spa within the pool area, and include a hidden pool cover within the pool instead of in a cover storage box. 

These changes were made and set a of developed landscape concept plans and 3d images were produced.

Unique to this project:

Playhouse – as part of the project we revitalised a beautiful old playhouse, tidied up to suit the new luxurious landscaping.

Customised pool cover – we constructed a hidden pool cover that worked within the stunning Indian Sandstone paving to create a discrete cover that fitted seamlessly with its surroundings.

Custom fireplace – we built a fireplace on the patio with a custom in-situ concrete polished hearth finished in a 600×300 charcoal tile.

Tennis court – we converted the neighbouring property into a full sized tennis court.

Owner brief – design elements that shaped the project:

  • The owners advised they did not want an industrialised ‘fully constructed’ look, as having a lovely garden on their property was important to them
  • Driveway entry walls and automated sliding gates
  • Letterbox location
  • Driveway and off-street parking bays/turnaround area and material surfacing
  • Reinforce visual flow to the front door from parking areas through paving selection
  • Create a main outdoor entertainment area which incorporates a gas fireplace and covered roof
  • North-easterly screen walls to provide e.g. combination of ½ solid and ½ glass for protection from the prevailing winds without obscuring views out to tennis court area
  • Revamp of the existing deck area or new decking at house floor level
  • Paved pathways / landings and flow into pool area
  • Potential for BBQ park or outdoor kitchen / pizza oven
  • Seating walls
  • Tennis court location and orientation
  • Tennis court fencing
  • Concrete block volley wall
  • Integrate any existing boundary planting if possible
  • Astro turf area (extension of the tennis court) for children's play location – trampoline, play equipment, sandpit, Wendy house etc

(owner brief continued)

  • Seating walls
  • Tennis court location and orientation
  • Tennis court fencing
  • Concrete block volley wall
  • Integrate any existing boundary planting if possible
  • Astro turf area (extension of the tennis court) for kids play location – tramp, play equipment, sand pit,Wendy house etc.
  • Pool location and orientation
  • Integrate spa into pool or above ground spa location
  • Pool fencing location and type – glass, block & metal etc.
  • Pool area paving surfacing and treatment to the pool coping edge
  • Potential for break out area e.g. sun loungers/beam bags etc.
  • Pool cover storage – options for either a timber cover/seat or below timber decking
  • Pool pump shed location
  • Heat pump location
  • Proposed garden areas and tree locations
  • Planting species to be carried out by the owner

Credit list

Landscape architect
Indian sandstone pavers, from Urban Paving; exposed aggregate concrete, from Firth; coloured concrete, from Firth and Permacolour; bluestone setts, from Timaru Bluestone
Hydroseed, from Hydrograss Landscapes
Landscape supplies
Soil/compost/bark, from Intelligro
Swimming pool
Pioneer Pools
Pool, aluminium and glass, from Warner Fencing; glass on wall, from NZ Frameless; Kwila timber slat, from JSC Timber; tennis fencing, from Multi-Sport Surfaces; concrete block, from Firth
Gas fireplace
Escea and Simply Heat
Irrigation system
Hughes Irrigation and Hunter
Landscape contractor
Concrete block, from Firth; tiles, from Naturally Tiles
Garapa, from JSC Timber
Fulton Hogan
Tennis court
Multi-Sport Surfaces
Louvre roof
Johnson and Couzins
Outdoor sound system
Registered Master Landscapers

Designed by: A place for everything

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Kelly Shakespeare Photography

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