You’ve built the ultimate indoor-outdoor house with grand plans of lingering summer BBQs and family time in the yard.  The indoor part is all sorted, but what about the outside?  Here, we give you some low cost but high impact landscaping tips to make your outdoor space both functional and beautiful.

Start With Your Needs and Wants

Whether you are starting from scratch or giving your outdoors a makeover, it’s important to take stock of what you want to achieve. Is entertaining your priority? Is colour a must-have?  What about the kids? Whatever it is: write your ideas down, figure out a budget and then start to draw out plans based on your list.

Create a Haven for Entertaining

At Crystele Homes, we know that nothing says indoor-outdoor living like a dedicated entertaining area, so most of our designs come with an alfresco zone.  After you move in, it’s just a matter of deciding how you want to fit it out. Decking is a popular option both for its durability and seamless integration between indoors and out. Nowadays there are lots of options to choose from, and lots of local businesses that can help with the install, so it’s up to you to choose a surface (Merbau, composite or hardwood are the most popular) that suits your lifestyle, budget and aesthetic. 

Decks do require a bit of upkeep, so if you’re more of a low maintenance type, tiles may be your best bet. They are very durable and easy to clean as well. You can be as simple or creative as you want with your tile design – streamlined large grey or neutral pavers and Terrazzo-style are the most popular at the moment.

Upsize Your Outdoors

If you really want to make a statement, an outdoor kitchen will do the trick. They are the perfect way to enjoy your yard, plus they mean all the cooking mess is kept outside (so there’s less time cleaning up and more time to enjoy with your family and friends).  Whether your outdoor kitchen is directly next to your house or a standalone feature, you want it to be visually cohesive with the rest of the space, so think carefully about the design and materials you choose.  Adding lighting and fans also means you can cook any time of the day, enjoy the space all year round, and give your guests 100% comfort.

Throw Some Shade

Australian summers are long and harsh, so some form of shade is a must. Our advice is to have shade over your entertaining areas – it could be as simple as a beautiful umbrella over your outdoor setting or a shade sail over a patio.  These are the flexible options as you can take them down over winter, but if you are after something more permanent, a feature design element like a pergola or gazebo could do the trick. Pergolas are especially great for extending your living area and creating that sought after indoor-outdoor flow.  

Another option is simply to plant some trees – they are nature’s perfect shade offering and an inexpensive and low impact way to protect your family from the sun. An added bonus is the extra privacy they provide.

Plan Your Planting

There’s nothing like lush greenery and pops of colour to create a striking outdoor space, but there is a science to getting it right.  First of all start to think about what you want the plants for and then make decisions based on this.  For example, are they for shade, colour or just to fill out your outdoor space?

Here’s some other things to consider:
  • How large is your outdoor space? You don’t want to plant trees, shrubs or flowers that will take over the entire yard.
  • What are the conditions like and what plants work best? Think soil, drainage and shade.
  • What trees suit the overall style of your home and garden? There’s no point choosing English cottage-style plants if you have an ultra-modern home.

Camden Nurseries and The Australian Botanic Gardens are great places for inspiration.

What’s Underfoot?

Just like carpets and flooring inside, it’s important to consider what’s going on the ground outside.  Lawn is a simple but effective choice – you can build all your other design features around it, plus it helps to unify the plant choices you have made. Like your plants, you need to consider the climate and conditions where you live when deciding which type of lawn to lay.  Pavers are another good option as they are very low maintenance and can withstand lots of foot traffic.

Depending on your lifestyle and needs, there’s a whole raft of other personal touches you can add to your outdoors (think retainer walls, built in seating, play spaces for the kids and water features), but these tips are a great place to start your planning.

Contact us today to see how our designs give you the perfect platform to celebrate the great outdoors.