Founder of Toward Music, Jayde is a scripturient with a consuming passion to write. With 12 years experience as a freelance music journalist, she's also a dedicated writer in the business industry with an undying love for typewriters & street press.
Published November 22nd 2017
Summer is almost in full swing! If you haven't given your outdoor space any TLC since last year's burst of heat, it's time to get outside and renovate or redecorate, ready for summer living. Outdoor entertaining is a big deal in Australia, where alfresco living is an integral part of enjoying our homes and the fantastic Aussie weather.
Homeowners and renters are constantly looking for cost-effective ways to revamp their spaces, too. We all want a slice of a paradise in our own homes. And finding ways to create that personal oasis never gets old. Outdoor living trends come and go, but some of these coolest design ideas will keep your space looking wonderful for years to come. If your home is lacking a little love or inspiration, here are a few outdoor living design ideas to get you started:
Mix and Match Natural Materials
Outdoor spaces that utilise natural materials always have an appealing charm about them. The use of wood and stone are perfect for creating that rustic feel to a space, without breaking the budget. As opposed to clean and modern, incorporating something more authentic and real into alfresco areas encourages a more organic feel. By mashing up different natural materials, you can create a unique oasis that's both comfortable and visually appealing.
As much as the warm appeal of natural materials like wood is definitely loved in outdoor spaces, it's important to find low maintenance options. Outdoor spaces that look fantastic is one thing, but creating a cool oasis in your backyard without the hassle of too much upkeep is another. After all, we all want to spend more time relaxing!
Switching natural materials for low maintenance alternatives is a great way to get the visual character, without the time and effort. Composite timber is a prime example of this, mimicking the beauty of natural wood but fully resistant to pests and Australia's dramatic climate.
Tip: Invest in composite timber decking over regular timber decking to combine the visual appeal, without the hassle of upkeep. Unlike other hardwoods, composite timber doesn't require you to sand, oil, stain or paint, so you can spend more time relaxing in your space.
Gone are the days where backyards were simply for the kids or pets to burn off their energy. Now, we crave spaces that cater to anyone and everything. Outdoor spaces have evolved into an extension of our homes, so it makes sense to create one that ticks all the boxes with all the essentials. Dining areas, fireplaces, hammocks, decks, dog and pet spaces, outdoor kitchens and easy-to-maintain garden beds are all becoming fundamentals. People want a zone where they can relax, play and entertain in – and that requires more than a patch of grass for the kids to run around on.
If you haven't caught onto the shipping container home trend, then you're in for a surprise! These architectural designs look breathtaking and are much cheaper to build and source materials for than a regular home. Planning for a shipping container home build requires a lot of time and planning though, so if you want a little slice of it at your home without taking the entire project on board, cool off with a shipping container pool this summer.
These make for a unique design and can be adjusted to fit within your backyard space. Because shipping containers range from different lengths and sizes, you have the option to join multiple ones together or cut one in half, depending on your pool needs. Either way, they work out more cost-effective than a commercial pool and only require a clean and coat of pain, with foam insulation and a pool liner to turn it into a stunning backyard feature for your outdoor oasis.
Hyperlocalism may be the next buzz word to come out of outdoor living design trends, but it's one that has a long-lasting attraction to it. The term encourages locally sourced building materials, plants and other outdoor living essentials into our homes. As climate change drives diverse designs in various locations, we see homes shifting the emphasis to regionally focused concepts.
Whilst locally sourced is by no means a new trend, such design changes have seen it become a bigger priority to implement and take advantage of. Benefits can include reduced costs, energy efficiency, easy-to-maintain gardens and high-quality designs that complement your region. Visit your local nursery, patio furniture or hardware shop to see what locally sourced products you can use for your outdoor space.
Grow Edible Gardens
If you're going to plant a garden, it's worth your time, money and health to make sure it's a deliciously edible one! Summer is the height of the gardening season and growing your own veggies and herbs is a cool way to eat fresh and healthy easily. Get creative with your outdoor gardening designs to integrate character into your space. Vertical gardens are fantastic for smaller areas and raised garden beds are perfect for adding dimension.
[I]Tip: Don't be afraid to think outside the traditional garden patch. Edible plants can be tucked in among flowering plants and shrubs. To add colour and vibrancy to your garden design, get creative with gorgeous veggies. Deep purple eggplant, giant artichokes and lush herbs are just as beautiful as ornamental plants, but still offer the delicious organic food benefits.
Vintage charm is making a huge comeback and edging its way into outdoor living. Think mosaic tables for dining purposes or as an accent feature. You can use materials from natural stone, ceramic and glass. Vintage furniture brings with it that retro vibe which adds texture to a dull-looking space. Natural, woven style additions like rattan and wicker-inspired furniture incorporate a playful and beautiful element for summer living and entertaining.
Whatever designs you choose for your space, make sure they create a connection between inside and out. Alfresco areas that are comfortable, functional and enjoyable will transition smoothly between your home and the outside world, connecting the two spaces together for you to love all year around.