Perth’s climate gives us the enviable choice of using our backyards as part of our living space. For most of the year the weather is pleasant enough that we can sit outside to relax, cook a meal and entertain friends. So it’s important that you make the most of your outdoor space with a design that best suits your lifestyle.
There are plenty of options for what to include in your backyard so make a list of everything you would like then plan it out yourself or commission someone to design it for you.
Making the Most of a Small Space
If you want to make the most of every inch of your backyard, use a few clever ideas for maximising space.
Include wall seating along one of your boundaries or a corner so you can reduce the number of free-standing seats you need.
Garden beds can take up a lot of valuable space so consider installing a vertical garden. You can fit in dozens of plants in a small, under-utilised space on your fence. You can even add vegies to create an edible garden.
Build it in
A large freestanding BBQ needs a big floor area but a smaller option is a built in BBQ attached to the house. You have the added benefit of being able to hook into mains gas rather than needing to fill up the gas bottle regularly, but remember, a big under cover BBQ close to the house needs a big exhaust so have a chat to your builder about the location of your outdoor BBQ to help reduce ventilation costs.
Indoors Flowing Out
If you want to make your indoor and outdoor area look like one large space, think about your floor coverings. If you choose a tile or polished concrete that can be used in both areas and doors that open up, your outdoors becomes part of your indoor space.
What to Include in your Backyard
It’s not just the humble BBQ, if you like to entertain consider a pizza oven, wok burner, bar fridge, sink and storage space for plates.
Heating & Cooling
If you want to ensure you can use your outdoor area all year round, you might want to include heating or cooling. Also, if your backyard is west facing you could invest in outdoor blinds for shade from the afternoon sun. Lunch on a hot day is much more pleasant if you have an overhead fan or misters. In winter, you can use a gas outdoor heater or a fire pit.
For many people the sound and sight of water is soothing and has the benefit of cooling. Consider a small plunge or lap pool or a spa. Heating the water extends your swimming season so you can enjoy the space year ‘round.
Productive Plants & Grass
If you like to use fresh herbs in your cooking or are a fan of refreshing lemon, reserve a sunny position in the backyard for a vegetable garden bed or a container for your lemon tree. Use your fences to train a passion fruit vine or grow an espaliered citrus or other fruit tree.
Families with kids or a dog often like to include a patch of lawn for them to run around. Decide if you want less maintenance by using an artificial turf, or whether you prefer the feel and cooling benefits of real grass.
If you are a sports fan and like to have friends over for the game, ask your builder about supplying power for a flat screen TV on an outside wall of your home. Outdoor speakers will allow you to play music or the radio while entertaining or working in the garden.
If you want to keep the power bills down during winter, have a chat to your builder about installing a retractable cover on your dry court so you don’t need to run a dryer.
Think about any items you need to store in the backyard. Kids outdoor toys will need a large toy box or under cover area. If you have cushions on your wall seating, consider a storage container for keeping them clean and dry.
With the right planning, the smallest of backyards can be designed to include elements that everyone in the family will enjoy. If you have any queries or would like some ideas for designing your backyard, chat to your Start Right Homes consultant.