With the weather warming up, its nice to spend more time outside, so I thought this month I would offer some tips when designing your garden and outdoor living.
The best living spaces are those that flow from the inside to the out, which will help make the most of ‘alfresco’ living. With the climate in Sydney being warm and mild, building a shaded deck can be just as good -and a lot cheaper- than extending your living room.
Using particular plants and other landscape features will not only brighten the atmosphere of your home but can also shelter your outdoor area from harsh winds, or help channel cooling breezes into the house. To create shading, use evergreen plants, particularly on west-facing walls. Another great tip is to use deciduous plants and vine covered pergolas on the north side of your homes, as they will provide shade in summer and also let in the winter sun when it cools down again.
To save on excessive water use in the garden, I suggest incorporating native plants to suit Australia’s dry conditions. Not only will they be low maintenance, but will also attract native birds. Using ground covers like mulch will help keep moisture in the soil and also looks great. As we live in a bushfire-prone area, plant fire-resistant species around the house.
Always plan your outdoor renovations, like you would with indoor changes. Consider where the best place to locate rainwater tanks and wastewater systems. Planning will allow you to incorporate them into your garden design rather then having them look like an ‘add-on.’ Leave space for an outdoor washing line so you can use the sun to dry your clothes. Also, when planting trees, place them strategically, to offer shade where you need it and also to prevent their roots from damaging walls or footings.
Don’t just pave full areas; incorporate plants as well. This will prevent pooling of water and drainage problems. When paving, use permeable paving that allows rain to filter through to the soil underneath.
So with a little forward planning, you too could create a beautiful indoor/outdoor oasis this summer.