Dreaming of warm summer evenings where the light lingers a little longer and the Freo Doctor brings gentle relief from the day’s overwhelming heat? Longing to sit outside, surrounded by family and friends, for lazy breakfasts, extended lunches and dinner parties that play out late into the evening? Well, read on and be inspired to create your very own backyard retreat for a summer of entertaining, relaxation and fun.
Step 1: Consider how you relax and how you entertain
Before you begin your backyard design or makeover, it’s important to first consider your intentions for the space. Think about what it is you’ll most likely be utilising the space for. Large gatherings and active kids demands open spaces and room to move, compared with intimate garden high teas and relaxing in the sun, where cosy, quiet spaces are the obvious inclusion.
Step 2: Create zones
Once you understand your intentions, look to create zones that will satisfy your needs. Using a variety of materials, plants and structural features will emphasise distinction between zones.
Building vertical garden beds using Midland Brick’s Heathstone, Gardenwall or Landscape blocks offers purposeful and stylish solutions to garden segmentation. Install L-shaped wooden bench seats into corners against garden walls. Aim for clean lines for structural components, and then be sure to dress up the space with hard-wearing cushions.
Be intent with your planting and layer plants for dramatic effect. You’ll bring natural texture and intrigue to garden areas when you incorporate plants of differing heights, widths, foliage textures and colour. Before you plant, consider what spaces you want to fill, what eye sores you’d like to block out and what style of garden you’re hoping to create.
There’s something undeniable about a trickling water feature; be mesmerized by the tranquil sounds as you enjoy pure relaxation in your very own backyard. Look to finish water feature backdrops with Midland Brick’s Cultured Stone for modern texture and styling.
Lastly, let’s not forget the kids! The best play spaces are those found in nature. Established trees provide unbounded opportunity for swinging, climbing and hiding out in cubby houses. If establishing a new garden; build play zones out of natural, recycled and upcycled resources.
Step 3: Connect your zones
Connect each garden zone with pathways; they invite intrigue and adventure through your garden. Try using a variety of materials to bring texture to your design.
For a coastal garden, try Midland Brick’s textured Stylestone or Signature Series Rockpave ranges. If you’re after the chance to be creative, rectangular pavers offer opportunities for design embellishment – Midland Brick’s Colonnade, Boulevard and Pavestone are all fun options. When it comes to cottage gardens, then you can’t go past Midland Brick’s earthy, clay Handmade pavers.
Alternatively, decking walkways that weave through your backyard can be a charming (if not expensive!) attraction. A variety of materials are now available, including composite and natural decking boards as well as recycled sleepers, reclaimed wood or upcycled wooden pallets. The material chosen will dominate the character of the path.
Step 4: Dress up your space
Styling your backyard is the exciting part, but don’t get too carried away just yet; there are a few important factors to consider before purchasing that décor you’ve been dreaming about. Consider again the intention of the backyard. If dogs and kids are involved, think about the functionality of the space. Consider how items will age and wear if they’re left out in the weather, and how the placement of furniture will impact human traffic and enthusiastic children. However, once the practicalities are out of the way… it’s time to decorate!
A sturdy, good-quality table setting is a must. Be mindful of the shape, size and where it will be positioned. A lot of activity happens around the table, so be sure it’s the right fit for your space and your tribe.
If you have the room, then an outdoor lounge is a must. This could be a permanent fixture built-in as a corner bench seat option, or go the movable route so you can chase the sun in a backyard that gets a lot of shade. The fun part will be selecting the perfect cushions and rugs for styling. Remember, hard wearing materials are a must!
When placing table settings, lounges and seating; keep the view in mind. No one wants to be looking at the neighbour’s laundry so think carefully about furniture positioning. Shading options also require careful consideration. Consider the suns position at all times of the day. Transportable umbrellas offer a flexible solution.
Finishing touches are what make the difference. Find the perfect shady spot and hang a hammock for the ultimate in backyard relaxation. Scatter small tables and pots using a variety of colours, materials, textures and size to create depth. Outdoor wall décor options are extensive; so choose these with styling in mind.
Step 5: Consider Lighting
The ultimate in mood creation is the addition of lighting – plus, having a well-lit backyard means you can enjoy it into the night! The possibilities are endless and will depend on your budget. Start small with strings of fairy lights, outdoor candles, tiki torches and vintage string lights with clear globes and exposed elements. Opt for warm white globes to maximise ambience. For permanent lighting additions, look to line pathways with LED lighting and showcase built features with the use of spotlights.
Images courtesy (from top to bottom): Pindan Homes, Perth Design & Construct, Local Architecture and In-Vogue Two Storey Designs.