Here are some useful tips to improve the design of your outdoor areas
We love to be outdoors and Australians spend a lot of their spare time in their gardens so it makes good sense when planning your space from the start to consider exactly how the areas are to be used. It is the same principle when re doing an existing garden, give thought to making the space work for you. One example could be, an area where the kids can play, do they have swings etc that might take up a bit of space, how about a patch of grass for a game of cricket or similar.
The plants you choose make a huge difference to design….
Give careful consideration to the plants that you choose the size they will be when fully grown, and whether they are sun or shade loving plants, do they require lots of water or are they a more hardy type? If you are not confident in choosing plants yourself most outdoor garden centres have trained staff on hand to help, alternatively the internet is a valuable source of information on this subject. Think about the area you live in, if you are by the sea and you love delicate plants and flowers you will need to provide some type of protection from salt spray. Read the labels on the pots and use this information as a guideline for what is most appropriate for your region.
If you would like one particular tree to be the focul point of your garden it might be worthwhile spending a bit more on a bigger specimen to give you a head start by making the garden look more established.
Theme your garden to frame your outdoor entertaining area….
It is usually easier to follow a theme for the entire garden, do you prefer a casual or more formal look? By following this theme you would possibly have plants that complement each other and the water requirements will be roughly the same. For example an Australian native garden will use less water than an ‘English’ garden with its rhododendrons and hydrangeas. The same goes for tree ferns and various palms, think about the environment they grow in naturally and then consider if you can replicate those living conditions for them.
Drainage is also something to give thought to, if your land is on any type of slope think about where the runoff water will end up. A few well placed agi pipes buried in the ground could be the difference between your garden being beautiful and accessible, or a complete swampy marsh.
Bring the outdoors, indoors
Don’t underestimate the importance of the ‘outdoor indoor room’. By this I mean a pergola installed over your patio to provide that all essential entertaining area for adults and children alike. Maybe think about going one step further and fully enclose the patio area to create an extra room that can be utilised in all weather conditions, how great would it be to have a room in the garden where you can relax, see your lovely plants growing and not be at mercy of the searing sun or drenching rain. An added little luxury might be a sun roof installed in the roof of the pergola which can be opened up to expose those gentle cooling breezes on a very hot evening.
Cooking outside is a great pleasure for a lot of people, and a bbq is almost a necessity that can be used all year long especially if it is under some sort of cover. If you have a large family or entertain you would probably require a bigger cooking surface. Barbeques today come in various shapes and sizes, lots of them have a wok burner and warming racks, or you might be inclined to build your own and add any number of burners to it that you wish.
Of course if you are eating outside, you will need somewhere to sit so comfortable furniture is important. If you have a covered in Patio the type of furniture will not be so important because it won’t be out in the weather so basically your choice is not in any way limited. If you don’t have a covered pergola then it’s a good idea to look for furniture that can be left outside in all weathers without any fear of it rusting. Most outdoor furniture stores sell removable cushions for the chairs so these can be brought inside after use to prolong their lifespan.
Multi Purpose Areas – Carports
If you have a garage or carport attached to your home these too can be used for entertaining (as long as the car is not inside)! You can make this space look a little more special by installing some decorative lighting overhead, make sure you have a couple of power points located in easy to reach spots, extra power points always come in very handy when entertaining. If there is enough room in your carport the cushions from your outdoor chairs can be stored under the roofline.