The Australian love affair with entertaining and outdoor living is showing no signs of waning, with 63 per cent of Aussie homeowners planning to either make improvements or undertake new projects in their outdoor space this year, according to the annual Adbri Masonry Great Australian Backyard Survey. And with our climate, it’s really no wonder that making the most of your outdoor space is a priority for Aussies everywhere.
Image source: Home BNC
Jason Hodges, landscaping expert and Adbri Masonry brand ambassador summed it up. “Aussies love spending time outdoors, whether it is relaxing, gardening or entertaining friends and family,” says Jason. “Almost a quarter of us spend more than seven hours a week in our backyards and gardens and it is no surprise the lifestyle benefits that come with that. This increase we are seeing in backyard makeovers is a result of increased consumer confidence and recognition that outdoor renovation projects can add value to the home financially.”
For many, investing in an outdoor space is also about adding value to the home. The Great Australian Backyard Survey revealed that behind a kitchen renovation (47 per cent), 32 per cent of homeowners believe renovations to the garden landscape and outdoor entertaining area added the most financial value to the home. “Outdoor investments are definitely getting the greater share of the wallet when it comes to home renovations,” explains Mick Conway, owner of Conway Landscaping. “The beauty of the outdoor space is that you can continue to add to it over time, increasing its value, whereas with a kitchen, it is not as easy to make those gradual changes or improvements.”
The key to maintaining an outdoor area and garden that holds and adds value? Maintenance and staying on top of the upkeep. “Generally, outdoor renovations and design can stay current for a long period but the key is maintenance,” says Jason.
What should Aussie home owners be looking to improve? Jason recommends adding the following to your ‘to-do’ list.
Expert tips for making the most of your outdoor space
– The front yard/driveway – You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. This rings especially true when it comes to your home, its saleability and appeal to potential buyers. “Homeowners should never underestimate the value in street appeal because buyers never do,” explains Jason. A great place to start is at the beginning, that is, the front yard. Minor improvements can make a massive difference to the way people view your place. In many homes, the dominant feature out the front is the driveway. It takes up a lot of surface area and serves an important function, but too often it’s overlooked. In the Great Australian Backyard Survey, the driveway was voted third as the outdoor project to deliver the most value to the home. “Driveways are a great place to stand out from the crowd,” says Jason. With some creativity, you can leave the ‘Joneses’ in your rear view mirror by creating a paved driveway that uses colours, patterns and different paver sizes to build a stunning starting point for your home.
Image source: Pinterest
– Ongoing maintenance and upkeep – Gardening closely follows relaxation as the number two reason Aussies spend time in their outdoor spaces. 62 per cent of respondents like to garden in their outdoor space, but with that comes maintenance. Maintenance was voted the number one consideration when embarking on a landscaping project. Mick Conway shares his thoughts on low maintenance projects and plants that can transform an outdoor space. “Engaging a landscape designer with the right knowledge and experience is the best option for homeowners wanting to create a low maintenance landscape. Things like having the right plant stock and turf, irrigation and hard surfaces such as a paved courtyard are just some of the features homeowners should consider for a low maintenance landscape,” explains Mick.
Image source: CHC Homes
– Awareness of emerging trends – With entertaining friends and family and cooking in the top five things Australians use there outdoor spaces for, it is no surprise the outdoor kitchen is expanding to not just include the faithful barbeque. “Generally speaking it is about extending the outdoor living component. Australians are interested in having great outdoor spaces, being able to cook and entertain family and friends. Within that topic there are trends popping up. If you are talking about kitchens, pizza ovens are becoming more popular, whereas five years ago it was just the barbeque. The barbeque is still there, but now there are alternative cooking spaces,” says Dean Herald, principal landscape designer of Rolling Stone Landscapes, “The different cultures we have in Australia are fantastic because you have all these different cooking experiences. You have families requesting things like tandoor ovens, so we learn a lot about different cultures, what they like to cook and what different cooking methods they like to use.” Another emerging trend has seen homeowners move away from building a common deck to looking at how they can zone their backyard instead. Fifty-nine per cent of respondents believe the patio/entertaining area adds the most financial value to their home hence the focus on making it a cornerstone of the outdoor living space. “Decks are on the way out. Our clients are looking for that point of difference that allows them to get the most of their backyard and are choosing more terrace and courtyard options for alfresco dining,” says Conway.
Image source: OK design interior
For more information about the Great Australian Backyard Survey or to find out how Adbri Masonry can help create your ultimate outdoor space, www.adbrimasonry.com.au