The backyard is such an important asset to any home, but it is also often neglected. Due to the country’s mild climate, Australians can take advantage of more good weather than most, and having a decent backyard is a big part of making this happen.
We all have different yard ideas, from the backyard cricket pitch to the entertainer’s pad right through to the little slice of Bali; everyone’s backyard requirements are unique
What are you looking for in a backyard?
Backyard needs change over time, and it’s normal to suddenly find yourself out-of-love with your space. A backyard should be functional, you should both want and be able to use it. As the kids get older, you might be finding that the big ol’ cubby house taking up space no longer gets any use.
In the same way, while that big patch of grass was once essential for the backyard cricket pitch, nowadays you might be finding yourself dreaming of a pool or deck for entertaining friends. But it doesn’t have to be this way, you can have the backyard of your dreams.
Why relocate when you can renovate?
Everyone deserves to love the space they’re in. Whereas it was once common for people to simply move once the need for a different space became apparent, Australians are now staying in their homes longer. According to a recent study done by Abdri Masonry, due to current market conditions, people are pushing to stay-put and renovate rather than relocate.
According to the study, homeowners are now staying put for 20 years or longer. After surveying over 1,100 respondents, they found that 32% wanted to stay at their current property for the next 20 plus years and a further 20% said that they wanted to stay for at least the next 10 to 20 years, suggesting an increase from past trends.
How to let your backyard grow with you
Want to give your backyard an update that will keep you enjoying it for years to come? Jason Hodges, an award-winning landscape designer, has some advice to make the most of your outdoor space:
1. Do it once and do it right
According to Jason, backyard ‘styles’ will be ‘in-fashion’ for much longer than other parts of your home, so it’s worth doing right the first time. While kitchens and bathrooms might be renovated (or in need of renovating) twice in 20 years, if a backyard it done well, it will last you for many years to come. He attributes much of this to the use of hardy materials.
“Like any project, there is an obvious up-front cost but when you consider the whole of life cost, the investment in hard wearing materials stacks up. Long after the price is forgotten, the quality remains,” Jason says.
When seeking out quality materials, Jason says that backyard renovators should consider concrete pavers. Being thicker and stronger than other landscaping options, they are more likely to last.
2. Consider the future
Nowadays, it’s not enough to just renovate your backyard, you need to take into account future needs. For example, although you might not have the money for a pool or BBQ area right now, if you know you are going to want one in the future don’t build on or block off these areas. Ultimately, it’s worth thinking ahead to avoid expensive costs to rip out unnecessary and unwanted structures in the future.
3. Have a transitional mindset
As your life changes, so will your backyard requirements, so let your backyard grow with you. When you have young kids, a sandpit might be a necessity, but as they get older, ultimately it won’t get much use.
Considering the inevitable, Jason suggests that when the kids no longer want the sandpit, turn it into a veggie garden! With the space and foundations already laid out, this handy transformation shouldn’t be too much of an issue and it will help you to take advantage of the space for many years to come.
But it doesn’t stop there. If you have no need for a veggie patch, or if you simply don’t have time to maintain a garden, Jason also suggested converting the space into a firepit.
“Repurpose the sandpit by converting it to a fire pit, nature’s TV and the perfect finish to an entertaining area.”
4. Take your time
There’s no getting around it, for most of us, the biggest barrier to renovating is cost. Jason suggests that instead of trying to save to do it all at once (and ultimately never getting around to it), renovators should break it down into manageable chunks. By taking this advice, you’ll avoid getting sucked into a design you don’t like due to time and budget restraints, and in theory, you should also be able to start enjoying your outdoor space sooner (rather than saving pennies).
Words by Kathryn Lee