Transform your backyard

Turning your backyard into your dream outdoor space may seem challenging but no matter the size, with careful planning, your backyard can be a source of enjoyment to unwind in or entertain. One couple did just that, transforming their dated 70’s garden into a modern and well-considered space.


Homeowners Amy and Ewan value an outdoor lifestyle and entertaining. After moving into their home (purchased in 2014), they set their sights on tackling the backyard as the first major renovation project.


Not conducive to outdoor living, the run down and dated backyard was overgrown, having lost the structure of its once stunning 70’s garden. The small existing deck cut into the yard with the space feeling unusable. The existing carport was nearly toppling over and the fences were in dire need of replacing. 


Through all this they could see the potential the spacious backyard had.

Back to basics


The home fortunately had a great sense of flow from the kitchen and dining room to the outdoor space. It simply needed an update; one that would reflect how the pair live while bringing it out of the 70’s and into the 21st century.

Before undertaking any landscaping design, the backyard was pared right back, essentially creating a blank canvas to work with. The curved brick pathway, pergola, carport and glass screening were removed while even the lawn was ripped out to start from scratch.

Knowing when to ask for help

Amy and Ewan had a fair idea of what they wanted to create but admit to struggling to visualise how they were to going to achieve it.

“In essence it was the type of project that we would have loved to do more of ourselves but we couldn’t see how we would get it all done” says Amy.

With dreams of a large entertaining area where they could host family and friends, Amy and Ewan still wanted to preserve a large space for the lawn for both children and adults to enjoy.

When to ask for help

Employing the services of experts to bring their vision to life, they worked with Wilmien Brascamp of First Nature to create the landscaping design, Matt Morrison from Total Landscape to carry out the construction work, and Phillips and Co Builders who built the new fences. Malcom Wells of That Lawn Company designed and built the irrigation system, rainwater collection system and lawns.

The couple got stuck into projects where they could, both tackling the extensive painting and Ewan designing and building their clothes line and veggie gardens.

The transformation

Dining area

The transformed backyard now feels authentic to the design and architecture of their home. The visually appealing low maintenance garden serves their love of the outdoors and entertaining.

Three key living areas were established to provide designated zones, allowing for an easy transition from space to space. The shady, covered dining space with hooded barbecue provides shelter from the weather and is the perfect place for a enjoy a meal or drink with friends. Pavers, as incorporated in Amy and Ewan’s design, are a great way to provide an extension from the home's deck and help define the area.

Dining area

The planting scheme constructed by Wilmien, incorporates natives, hedging, trees and the odd pop of colour in the form of roses and lily ropes. The overall tones of pinks and purples contrasting with all the greenery work seamlessly together to make the plants pop.

Amy and Ewan love that the area is self-sustainable. The irrigation system operates from rainwater and has the smarts to turn itself off when it detects rain. It certainly helps keep things green during summer, whilst providing them with an emergency supply of water should they need it.


“We love watching our young son grow up in the outdoor space, from tummy surfing all over the deck and pavers and running and climbing everywhere, knowing he’s safe to play and roam. We couldn’t be happier with the way the space has evolved to meet our needs for family living.”


Kelly Evans is a blogger, writer and stylist. Kelly shares stories on clever people and great design on her website, thehomescene.nzClick here to read more from Kelly.

All images courtesy of Kelly Evans,

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