Outdoor living is a way of life for Australians, especially during the warmer months.
Whether it’s a nighttime barbie with friends or a quick coffee break to take in some lovely vitamin D, getting into the garden provides the feeling of travelling without actually going on holiday.
Today, there is a fantastic range of modern landscaping materials and outdoor furnishings available to make an outdoor area a thing of absolute elegance. And whilst you may want to invest time and money into your outdoor oasis, a lot can be done without all the expense.
You need to work out how you use your outdoor space and decide what is most important. If you’re an entertainer, consider quality paving, lighting and heating to add to your list of priorities. You might even want to build an outdoor fireplace or kitchen.
If your outdoor oasis is a place for a couple of people to relax, read and enjoy a coffee, you might want to consider a cosy place with protection from the elements. Plants are great for that all-important feeling of serenity. For families with children or pets it’s essential to create a safe play area. But if you have a park nearby, you don’t necessarily have to consider a lawn.
If you have a green thumb and a love for homegrown veggies, create an edible garden with healthy soil.
Whatever your priority, most people want an outdoor space that is private, away from the snooping eyes of neighbours and passers by. The walls of your outdoor living space also provide protection from harsh winds.
When your boundary fence doesn’t have the heigh to add necessary privacy, place a screen closer toward the sitting area as this can provide a higher level of blockage. Internal screens can also grow taller than the standard heights allowed for property boundaries.
Hedges are the optimal garden walls. They provide a lovely living screen of foliage, but they also take time to grow and require regular trimming. They also use more space than a fence and steal water and nutrients from other plants. When time is short and space is tight, a fence or trellis provides instant results and can be softened with a fast growing climber. Cheap screens can be a helpful stopgap whilst you await the growth of trees and shrubs.
The ‘green wall’ trend is growing in both public and private spaces, where many individual plants cover the wall. Their roots are a vertically supported growing medium. They require careful engineering and an integrated watering system to go the distance. However, evergreen climbers with their roots in the ground provide a similar effect that is much more cost-effective and easier to maintain.
A hard surface on the ground may be the most expensive choice for your oasis, but well laid decking or paving are assets and worth the expense of hiring a contractor. DIY or professionally installed, there are lots of decisions to make. Drainage is an important consideration when laying concrete or paving and professional contractor should take the necessary care when laying foundations. Understand the permeability guidelines of your local council to ensure legality of your paving.
If you want lawn to be the feature of your outdoor oasis, low maintenance, hard wearing grasses are perfect. Provide the lawn with a well-defined shape, and consider framing it with a neat mowing edge to border garden beds. Low creeping ground cover plants offer a green alternative carpet that don’t require mowing. They aren’t as tolerant to walking as hardwearing lawn but go great with pavement.
If you are one of the lucky ones that have a garden with a lovely shading tree, that’s great. But there are also many other options to create that all-important protection from the summer sun. It might be as easy as creating a space for an umbrella or two. If you have the budget, there are a fantastic range of retractable awnings and louver roof systems available on the market. You could also construct a strong timber pergola and allow deciduous climbers to provide extra shade. Climbers with flowers and hanging fruits look amazing over pergolas but do create a lot of litter.
There are so many options for creating the perfect outdoor oasis, all it takes is some planning and prioritising.