Tips and Tricks for the Great Outdoors

What is the No. 1 mistake people make when setting up their outdoor space?

Outdoor spaces require just as much imagination as any other transformation in your house – maybe even more so. Because plants and trees will grow, elements will get weathered and the ongoing look of your space will depend on what you continue to do. So the mistakes people tend to make are creating an outdoor space they are not able to maintain or not considering how their overall vision will change as plants grow (or not grow).


What should everyone get to transform their outdoor space?

A plan! Our latest outdoor plan has been six months in the making; we have considered every way we want to live in our outdoors and are now creating a space that caters to that. It’s not just about how it will look, but how you want to use the space. How do you want your guest to arrive to your house? What neighbour’s windows do you want to avoid? Where do you want the BBQ? There are a lot of things to consider, but in doing that, you will design a space you will love.


What are your top three tips for people setting up their outdoor space?

1. Find a great garden centre to buy your plants. Caleb and I were never gardeners; we know very little about plants. That has begun to change since we have started buying our plants from a local store where they are passionate about gardening and advise us well. Having plants is like a relationship, the more you understand a plant the better you can cater to its needs. If all you are doing is reading the label attached to your new plant, it’s highly likely the relationship won't work out!

2. Create spaces within your outdoor space. A strategy I like is to approach the outdoor spaces like indoor living. A dining space; the deck where we eat and entertain guests. The living; the paved area where they will sit, lounge around and relax. Finally, a kids’ playroom – the lawn where we stick all the kids and/or the kid-like males. Especially if you have a large outdoor area, breaking it into smaller spaces will make it feel more workable.

3. Think about privacy and shade. Planting is a great way of doing this, hedges create privacy from neighbours and limit the view into your property from the street, but also soften fences and look sharp when trimmed well. Established trees are the best kind of shade, but if that isn’t an option, there are so many to choose from in stores, from umbrellas to outdoor roofing.


How do I make my outdoor space an extension of my home?

A deck. It is the perfect way to bring a connection from your outside to inside living. No matter how large or small your space is, most spaces can include a deck in the outdoor layout, even if it is a small landing.

Or a view – think about how your outdoors is viewed from your main living areas; you can use your outdoor landscaping to create stunning views within your home.


How do I make a small space look big?

The key to making a small space look bigger is to not treat it as a small space. Space is actually created by utilising as much space as possible. Take the approach of how much can a get into this space, you will be surprised how much room you make.


How can I create a fast makeover without needing to build anything?

A simple makeover can be done over a weekend without too much grunt work. A few easy makeover tips are: painting the fence a sharp black or charcoal; adding some stunning pot plants; adding some colourful cushions to your outdoor furniture; adding a brazier or outdoor solar lighting; or getting some outdoor beanbags or even an outdoor rug.