The latest figures from Commsec show that the size of an average house built in 2018/19 is 228.8 square metres, that is a 1.3 per cent decrease from last year .Often, this steady decrease in property sizes translates into backyard and entertaining areas that are smaller. With outdoor living a favourite pastime for Australian families, ideas for creating small, but successful outdoor areas are in high demand. Luckily, whatever sized space you have to work with, from vertical gardens to built-in furniture and water features, there are countless ways to create an exceptional outdoor room to entertain, relax and spend time with the family.
DIY landscaper and Adbri Masonry ambassador, Jason Hodges provides his top five ideas to maximising the potential of every inch of your backyard.
“You pay good money for land so don’t waste it!” Remarks Jason. “Australians love the outdoors but are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve the right balance between indoor-outdoor living, especially when you have less space to play with”,” explained Jason. “No matter what size your outside space, you can create a beautiful backyard oasis for relaxing and entertaining family and friends. My top tip is to take time in planning and aim to create a functional outdoor sanctuary that makes the most of your space to create the perfect getaway from the everyday.
To get the most out of the space you have, it’s important to use it creatively. Use all available surfaces, look for opportunities to transform walls, unused corner areas and even pillars into features! Add vertical gardens to any unused walls or wrap columns with decorative lighting or climbers. Green walls will create a breathtaking statement that will transform your current space into an inviting environment that everyone can enjoy. Layering by colour and texture will add visual interest and make the space look even bigger.
Like a painting, you need to start with the right canvas and for your city chic space, the foundation is your flooring. Because it is the largest surface, it’s important to get this part right. Large format pavers work best in small spaces as they give the impression of greater space. Choose a light colour to open up the space and for a modern and minimalist look, avoid intricate patterns. Consider Euro Stone in the linear 600×400 perspective, the larger format means less lines and these pavers can be used to great effect. The appealing grey Zurich colour is a popular choice for this style as it’s in line with city living.
In order to make the most of the area you have, choose space-savvy furnishings and clever storage solutions to form a practical outdoor space. There are two key points when choosing furniture for small spaces. Firstly, when buying these pieces, embrace your small space, don’t clutter what precious area you have with massive outdoor settings. Instead, choose furniture that will suit how you will most often use the space, if that’s entertaining four people, pick a four person setting – too often people ‘go big’ to accommodate the two or three times a year they have guests over and lose that precious space during the remainder of the year. The other key idea for outdoor settings is looking for opportunities to create “build in furniture”. For example, a garden wall with capping stones which also serves as a seating wall. or consider opportunities to add storage under or behind your pieces when you’re designing.
Just because you’re working with smaller spaces, it doesn’t mean you need to work with small ideas. Consider an area of the yard to create a landscaped feature such as a raised planter area, a water feature or a sculpture that draws the eye. This will allow people to focus on, and appreciate that feature. Another great idea for drawing attention away from the size of your space is planting a beautiful garden. This can even include planting herbs around the edge as a border, and installing a small water feature amongst any plants to help distract from the limited space.
A good clean up and declutter of your garden space can give it a new lease on life. Prune or reorganise plants and get rid of anything that is out of place. Take a look at your outdoor furniture and make sure it is in scale to the rest of the yard. Keep it simple – a clean and simple backyard will give the illusion of more space.
 CommSec, Australian Houses Shrink: Smallest in 17 years, November 8 2019
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