CASE STUDY - A DIY BUILD FROM AN ONLINE DESIGN

A work in progress case study as an Auckland couple bring their online landscape design to life

Blank Landscape Site before design
Side Garden Before

DIYdesigns Garden Design Concept
Our Concept Visual

Post garden design implementation
One Year Later

Read the Full Story....

This is a recent DIY landscaping build underway by DIYdesign clients 'Larry and Leslie' after using our online landscape design service.

Auckland client’s, let's call them Larry and Leslie for privacies sake, purchased a partial site landscape design from the DIYdesigns website in August of last year (2020). This was during Auckland’s first lockdown, when site visits were out of the question. The lockdown meant these new homeowners had time on their hands to put into planning the garden makeover, so they opted to use our online garden design service to get things moving. 

Larry and Leslie had not been in the newly built property long, but already they weren’t in love with the existing landscaping and needed garden design help to improve the look and usability of the new garden. They had some ideas about how they could improve the outdoor living space and knew what they were wanting to achieve with the design, such as privacy and screening and a nicer outlook from the house,  but they needed help fleshing out the ideas and putting together a suitable palette of tough and reliable garden plants suitable for the Auckland climate.

This is the landscape plan we created for them

To get this plan, Larry and Leslie created their own garden design brief using our online system and they sent through the existing house plans they had, along with a range of photographs of the garden taken from various angles and their self-measured site plan of the existing garden layout. We had a quick chat by phone to clarify a few things before getting started on developing the garden design ideas and putting them on paper in the form of a draft concept plan, along with a palette of suitable plants to suit their desired ‘subtropical with New Zealand native plants’ theme.

We knew Larry and Leslie planned to build the garden themselves, and that it would be implemented over time, which influenced the design choices we made. We kept it nice and simple, with elements that could be added in as time and budget permitted. We suggested extending the deck further than they had initially thought, given that they were keen on maximising the entertaining space. We also suggested a secondary patio area located outside the master bedroom that would provide an attractive planted outlook for the bedroom and could also extend outdoor living opportunities by furnishing the space with a small fire bowl. This space would also act as a ‘linking’ element between the main entertainer’s deck and the rear garden, which felt disconnected due to the long and narrow nature of the side garden space. Between the two outdoor living spaces, we suggested a raised garden area to improve drainage for a dragon tree, which was something they wanted to include, but which wasn’t well suited to the boggy clay soil. This created the potential to use the planter capping to provide casual seating around the entertaining areas.

Once the draft plan was ready, we had a screenshare meeting via zoom where we showed Larry and Leslie the concept plan drawing and images of the type of plants were we proposing to put in the design. We discussed the ideas and Larry and Leslie had a think for a few days before coming back to us with their feedback via email.

The final landscape concept plan had lots of other ideas and info and we sent off a printed copy once the final plans had been approved by Larry and Leslie. Just over one year later, Larry and Leslie were in touch to share some photos of their progress to date and permitted us to share their amazing and inspirational progress with you. 

Entertaining Area Before landscape plan is implemented
Entertaining Area Before

Entertaining Area defined in Landscape Plan
Entertaining Area - Stage 1

The new hardwood (Vitex) deck was in, creating space for both outdoor dinning and lounge settings, as well as some feature pots for visual interest. Also in was the raised central garden bed (sans dragon tree) and the raised timber walls extending alongside the lawn. These hide the sloping ground behind rather well. Most of the plants in the main garden were in and whilst smallish, were full of promise. 

Raised Gardens from design
Raised Gardens Stage1

While they weren’t experienced gardener’s, Larry and Leslie were keen to learn about plants, especially New Zealand native plants, and they wanted to develop their gardening skills, so our landscape concept plan included well named plant photos to help with plant identification and research, and notes on appropriate plant spacings and what role the plants were to play in the design (the planting aims).  In the final plan we also included planting tips and we wrote that week’s blog on ‘Conquering the Clay’ especially with them in mind. You can read that blog here if you're battling with clay soil at your place.

We could see they had followed our advice well....The slope stabilising, predominantly NZ native plants in the raised back garden were in situ and establishing well below a thick layer of mulch. The textural contrasts will strengthen as the plants mature, as will the colour contrasts. 

Staining the timber retaining walls black has added a contemporary look in keeping with the modern dwelling. Staining the rear retaining wall (which was an existing garden feature) was the first job completed during the makeover and was done before the plans were even complete, so keen were Larry and Leslie to make progress!  This improved the aesthetic of the original wall no end and ensures it visually connects to the new garden features, creating unity and cohesion across the new and original parts of the garden.  

Undeveloped garden before planting
Original Wall - before staining

Raised Garden After staining and before planting from the landscape plan
Raised Garden - after staining / before planting

Fully planted garden from design
Raised Garden - Growing In!

Photo of garden fully landscaped and completed

Subsequently we received another update from Larry and Leslie to share the exciting news that the desired dragon tree (Dracaena draco) had been found. We love a good ‘plant rescue’ and were delighted to see this gracious but unwanted specimen had found a new home. The strapping will be removed once the roots have established. 

The growth the other plants had made was amazing and the stunning ‘bloodleaf’ Iresine herbstii ‘Brilliantissima’ certainly makes a bold splash, in keeping with Larry and Leslie’s ‘must have’ request for colourful foliage plants. Also showing in this boundary planting scheme are Pseudopanax 'Cyril Watson' (five finger), Cordyline 'Show Off' and Chamaedorea costeriacana (bamboo palm). 

We look forward to the next round of photos from these satisfied DIYdesign clients as they continue on with implementing their DIYdesigns concept. 


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