Boost your home’s value with landscaping
Australians are blessed with one of the most relaxed lifestyles in the world. Our temperate climate means long summer days filled with sun, swimming and sport (plus many other leisure activities!).
Fittingly, our homes are designed to enhance this lifestyle, with spacious lawns for playing games, pristine pools to cool off in and copious amounts of decking for outdoor entertaining and leisure.
But did you know having a well-designed exterior not only enriches your lifestyle, but can also increase the appeal of your home when it comes to selling and increase the overall value of your property?
Bringing the indoors outdoors
Dean Herald, principal landscape designer and managing director of Rolling Stone Landscapes, says his clients know they are investing in their property when they redesign their garden and landscaping.
“There is now an expectation from home buyers that a well-designed and maintained garden is a part of the package,” says Dean. “The indoor-outdoor connection enhances lifestyle, which is what buyers are looking at. They are looking at the lifestyle the home offers, not just the aesthetics and how many bedrooms or bathrooms it has.”
Having been in the business since he started Rolling Stone Landscapes over 20 years ago, Dean has seen plenty of trends come and go. But there’s a few that seem to have staying power, with more and more clients asking for gardens and landscaping that will expand on the living space they have inside their home.
“There is and has been a lot of emphasis on bringing traditional indoor spaces outside, such as outdoor dining and lounge rooms,” explains Dean. “Most Aussies love the fact we can have a great outdoor lifestyle, and want their homes to facilitate that.
“Backyards in particular are a place where we can gather family and friends, celebrate, eat and drink and play and enjoy a private environment. So why not have a properly set up outdoor entertaining space that goes beyond chucking a BBQ in the corner?”
Redesign the space smartly
Before designing a new outdoor space or redesigning an existing space, as a homeowner you need to be very conscious of what the purpose of the space is. Dean recommends being very clear about what you need from the space, then creating the garden and landscaping around that.
“Who will be using it, and what for, and how many people?” he says. “Will there be children and/or pets? Do you want to entertain people? Ask yourself a few questions about the purpose and you will know what needs to be put in the space.”
The size and composition of the existing yard is also a key consideration, as a large backyard with an established native garden will offer different options to a small, paved courtyard.
The ‘less is more’ approach seems to be a style that works for most gardens, although it is the smaller spaces that benefit the most from this kind of design.
Dean says dual purpose items are key to maximising the practicality of a small garden or courtyard.
“Think about how you can use things for multiple purposes,” he says. “A grass area that can be left clear for playing but can also have a table and chairs put on it to create an outdoor dining space, or installing a garden box that doubles as seat are both great ways to get the most out of a small space.”
But what if you don’t even have a garden, only a small balcony? There are still options, you just need to think outside the box (literally!).
“Look at all the vertical space you could be using,” says Dean. “Hanging gardens off walls and balcony railings is a great way to bring greenery into your apartment. This opens up more space for furniture, however remember to keep pieces simple and fine, as chunky items can shrink the space.
“With a balcony garden you need to pick one or two great ideas and run with those, as trying to cram too much in the space detracts from the overall look and feel.”
Landscaping and garden trends at a glance
- ‘Less is more’
- Outdoor rooms (lounge and dining)
- Natural stone
- Timber decking
- Porcelain tiles
- Water features
- Native plants
- Dual purpose spaces
Pick your maintenance level
Plant selection directly determines the level of maintenance, as does the choice of materials. So it’s important to make smart choices in the design and construction stage if you would like a low maintenance garden.
“For example, a great deal of decking is no good for someone who wants a low maintenance backyard as it tends to need oiling every six months,” explains Dean.
The most popular choice of material for landscaping is natural stone, including travertine, granite and sandstone. These ‘age gracefully’ and work well in the natural environment.
For low maintenance exterior that will maintain its new look for many years, Dean suggests external porcelain.
“It doesn’t age like natural stone does, and keeps its smooth surface,” he says. “It will set you back around $80 a square metre though.”
Dean says although most gardens are already environmentally friendly, there are a few little things you can do to make it even more so, including:
- Catching and reusing water in the garden by using a water tank
- Using grey water from your washing machine to water the lawn
- Choosing LED bulbs for outdoor lighting
- Planting natives that usually require less water than non-natives
Images courtesy of Rolling Stones Landscapes