After months of being cooped inside in front of the fire, it’s finally time to throw open the windows and head outside.
What better time to reimagine your outdoor living space? With one in two Australians saying they use their outdoor space for entertaining, it’s important to have it shipshape for summer.
Whether you have a small courtyard, balcony or sprawling acreage, there’s a perfect outdoor area for you. Take a look at these great new ideas for all gardens great and small.
1. Tiny gardens
Apartment dwellers deserve some fresh air too, so bling up your balcony and get outside. Try some large pot plants at the corners and a hanging egg chair for those relaxing holiday reads.
Bamboo is a great low maintenance plant that can be grown in containers and acts as a beautiful screen between you and your neighbour. You can even get a picnic table and chair set that acts like a murphy bed and folds up against the wall when not in use.
2. Small gardens
If you have a courtyard or small garden of your own, you can get a little more creative. Try adding a wrought iron dining set to a flagged patio for instant charm. A shade sail or adjustable pergola means you can enjoy winter sun and summer shelter from the same spot.
Vertical plantings are your friend here. Run wooden planter boxes up a wall or fence for staggered flowers and scented herbs and choose tall slim shrubs to soften the edges. Choose plants and flowers in a tonal scheme for a calming effect or go bright and colourful to inject some energy into your back yard.
3. Medium gardens
Got a suburban block with some space to spare? The world’s your oyster! Think beyond the standard pergola and lawn to create something really special.
If you have the budget, consider creating a seamless inside/outside space by adding an all-weather entertaining zone outside your family room and introducing retractable doors. As the weather heats up you can open up the whole space and create one big living zone.
Tempt guests to venture into the garden with solar lights, a fire pit and hanging lanterns from the trees. Build a pathway from the covered zone to create a sense of adventure and discovery.
If you’re a keen cook, today’s outdoor kitchens are worth a second look. Forget the rusty old barbecue and install a stone bench top with oven and entertainer’s fridge.
4. Large gardens
Hobby farm or sprawling country home? Make your garden the go-to for local weddings and celebrations by using the space to its maximum.
With so much space, you can create different zones for adults and children. Create a sense of fun with outdoor beanbags and tree swings or set trampolines directly into the grass for maximum play and minimum injury. Meanwhile, the adults can be relaxing on the deck.
Choose a mixture of seating options, from outdoor lounges to garden chairs for a highly configurable setting. While built in seating is a godsend for smaller spaces, you can use the luxury of room to mix and match depending on the crowd.
You can go all out with a wood fired pizza oven or sprawling outdoor kitchen if you love to cook. Keep guests cosy on chilly evenings with a chiminea, or even a wood burning fire – they make great sculptural elements when not in use.
Even for big gardens, though, remember to create intimate spaces. You won’t be throwing parties all the time, so set aside some space for just you. Try out a stone bench at the foot of the garden, a romantic gazebo or a small flagstone patio with a sturdy love seat.
Ultimately, what you do with your outdoor spaces will be dictated as much by your personality as your garden. Some of us treat our gardens as our sanctuary, with overarching greenery and soothing water features. Others prefer to party, making sound systems and lighting a must.
Take some time to consider how you use your garden, and what you want the space to feel like, and then get creating.