Summer is well and truly on its way, and with 68.3 per cent of Australians planning to make improvements or undertake new projects in their outdoor rooms in 2019, now is the perfect time to freshen up your backyard as it becomes one of the focal points for relaxing and entertaining during the summer months.
Outdoor spaces can become neglected during the cooler, wetter months of winter meaning that come spring, these areas often require some extra effort to spruce up – but fear not, this summer project guide will ensure your place is ready to excel at the peak time of the year! Whether your pathway needs a refresh or your patio is looking worn and tired, landscape expert and Adbri Masonry Ambassador Jason Hodges, shares his top three renovation ideas that will have your backyard guest-ready for summer vibes. “The say summer bodies are made in winter, well the same goes for the backyard. Spring is the perfect time to be out with the cold and in with the new. By starting on one of these 3 DIY projects now, you can have a beautiful new outdoor room finished in Christmas, just in time to share with friends and family” commented Jason.
Summer entertaining remains the most popular use of the backyard for many Aussies. The outdoors brings an entirely different dynamic to enjoying time with family and friends – the freedom, natural light and open space creates and environment where conversation and socialising thrives. One of the most important elements of any good entertaining area is the Outdoor canvas, that is, the central place where the entertaining occurs. “when creating an entertaining area, it’s important to plan an area that promotes comfort and conversation. The comfort piece of the puzzle is building the essentials, the pavers that provide a flat, dry place for you to set up on. The other basics are the lighting and heating allow you to use the space year round. To create comfort, the big focus is on selecting the right outdoor furniture. The key criteria are; using products that are made for the outdoors, creating connection between the pieces that stimulate conversation and togetherness and lastly, selecting settings that are the right size for your space “A great option for entertaining is blending formal tables and chairs with informal seating like garden walls with bench seating on top. It creates extra spaces and allows entertain to adjust for the occasion. The other absolute essential thing is that you don’t buy a setting for the one night a year you have the entire street over, but rather choose a setting that is the right size for how you will most often entertain” advised Jason.
Whether you’re looking to create a feature zone for dining or entertaining, building a garden path or completing a poolside area, concrete pavers are a clever and effective way to really make the best use of any space that can be enjoyed day and night in summer. For time-poor home owners looking for practical ways to bring the family together while showcasing their personal style, go with a large format paver like Adbri’s Quadro in the darker charcoal colour. It has a smooth texture and is black meaning it’s less likely to show stains and is easy to maintain.
Other things to consider include what colour to use (light pavers will make a small space look larger), textures and overall size and shape of the paver because this allows you to work with different paving patters depending on the look you want to achieve. You will find a step-by-step guide on how to lay pavers here.
If your aim is to transform existing paved areas, try pressure cleaning. Not only is it a quick and easy way to improve its appearance, but you may also remove any oil or moss and restore the slip resistance of the surface.
Not all yards are created equal in terms of available space but where there’s a creative will, there’s a way to make the most of outdoor areas big or small. “There are fewer constraints improving your outdoors than there are renovating indoors and the key to unlocking the potential of your yard is creative thinking” says Jason. If your yard is sloped and you aren’t using every available m2, you’re sitting on very valuable wasted space. Use retaining blocks to create terrace areas or install garden beds to bring a lively element into what would be otherwise dead space. If you don’t have lots of square in your backyard, you can always build up. Create a raised entertaining area out of nothing by framing the space with a freestanding, double-sided wall using concrete retaining wall blocks. This DIY project will define your backyard this summer, while doubling as an informal bench seating for unexpected guests.
The beauty of using blocks such as the Ezi-T blocks from Bunnings is that there is no need to excavate; you can simply lay them on an existing concrete or paver base. This is a DIY friendly job because you don’t need to glue blocks to the existing surface, the weight of the blocks will hold the wall in place and you only need to glue the finishing cap down so it is perfect for use as informal seating.
In times gone by, pathways have been a forced consideration to provide a stable thoroughfare to get from one side of the backyard to the other. In some instances, the side of the house has been completely forgotten transforming this underutilised part of your home into a mud pit in winter and dust patch in summer. Luckily, there are many great ideas to transform these areas into functional spaces that can look great.
A feature stepping stone path is not just aesthetically appealing, but it also activates a generally unused space and ensures that muddy floors after a trip to the clothes line down the side are a thing of the past. For an added ‘wow’ factor, lay the pavers offset in a stretcher bond pattern and fill the voids with decorative stones or greenery. Large format pavers are recommended to achieve the designer look.
What’s more, a stepping stone path leaves a gap between the stones allowing the water to infiltrate into the ground as opposed to pooling and running toward the house or your fence so it is a great option for those narrow areas down the side of a house.
You will find a step-by-step guide to creating your own stepping stone path here.
 2019 Adbri Masonry Great Australian Backyard survey
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