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Time abroad and inspiration from afar influences the garden styles desired by Aussie homeowners, survey reveals. Image of Bali’s Tirta Gangga Water Palace courtesy Veda Dante.
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Travel experience a top influence for landscaping trends

Inspiration for home improvement projects can be found in many forms and while magazines and TV lifestyle programs are the obvious starting points, design trends are being influenced by the experiences we have while travelling abroad. According to the 2018 Adbri Masonry Great Australian Backyard Survey, the top backyard designs proven to be the most inspiring are all from popular holiday destinations – Bali, Japan and the Hamptons.

“Aussies love to holiday abroad. In the past, photos and souvenirs were enough, but more than ever we’re bringing back inspiration and styling ideas for the home,” says landscaping expert and Adbri Masonry Brand Ambassador Jason Hodges. “It can be surprisingly cost-effective to recreate your favourite holiday destination in your yard to enjoy all year round.”

Seeking feedback from over 1,000 homeowners about the status, desires and uses of their backyards, data shows that over 75 per cent of those surveyed had confirmed plans to improve or undertake a new project in their backyard.

With so many Aussies committed to investing in their backyards, finding inspiration and new ideas to get started has proved important, and according to the Great Australian Backyard Survey, we’re drawing inspiration from garden styles in some of the most popular destinations for Aussie travellers.

 

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The Zen garden offers a stylised landscape and combines many elements of landscape design including ambient water features, deep greenery and low maintenance plants, gravels, stepping-stones and feature rocks.

Japanese Zen Garden – offers a tranquil retreat for complete serenity

Research by health fund Medibank reveals the number of stressed Aussies has jumped by about a third to 4.9 million during the past decade. Having a place to disconnect and unwind can be all the more valuable for both your home and mental health.

The Zen garden creates a private retreat in your yard using a low maintenance design that encourages natural escapism and disconnect. Experience a full transition when you step outside and move from an environment of artificial light, screens and gadgets to a relaxing area that provides both hands off and hands on opportunities for meditation including practicing samon, the ancient Japanese art of raking gravel to aide concentration.

Creating your own haven that will become a place of reflection, peace and stillness is achievable in most backyards regardless of size.

Here’s how you can create your own Zen garden:

Taking inspiration from Japanese culture, the Zen garden offers a stylised landscape and combines many elements of landscape design including ambient water features, deep greenery and low maintenance plants, gravels, stepping-stones and feature rocks. Keep your design simple and opt for a coloured stone as a base component, it is cost-efficient and requires minimal maintenance. Decorative gravel is also commonly featured throughout Japanese gardens.

Placing rocks of various shapes and sizes around the garden is symbolic in Japanese culture and represents mountains and natural water elements – rocks will add depth and different layers to the scene. Try incorporating plants that exude a rich colour palette of green and a pond or water feature for ultimate tranquillity. Avoid rocks placed in a straight line or symmetrical patterns.

Stepping-stones are a good choice for a pathway through the garden, though follow the general guideline and stagger these too. “Consider Euro Stone in the Zurich colour to bring in a gentle grey tone which is understated in its aesthetic but complimentary to the environment which adds to the tranquillity. They have an exposed aggregate texture, which shows the stones within the paver. In the right light, these inner aggregates will sparkle adding subtle movement to the garden,” advises Jason.

 

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You can turn your backyard into a Balinese oasis with a variety of elements such as tropical plantation, water features, a pool, stone statues and a Bali hut.  Image of Villa Asada in Candidasa courtesy Veda Dante.

Balinese Villa Garden – for the ultimate tropical indulgence

Australian’s have had a long love affair with the Island of the Gods and easy access with low cost airlines makes it more accessible than ever. Bali is renowned for its colourful culture and beautiful landscapes. The demand for quality private villas in popular holiday areas like Seminyak, Canggu and Uluwatu has resulted in the construction of many new luxury villas. Think landscaped gardens with lush tropical natives, private plunge pools and paved communal areas for relaxation and dining.

Here’s how you can create your own Bali garden:

Homeowners can turn their backyard into their own Bali inspired private oasis with a variety of elements – from tropical plantation, water features, pools, ornaments and a Bali hut. Greenery plays a major role in the Bali garden, so foliage and plenty of leafy plants are essential. “An Aussie alternative to tropical Balinese natives includes agave plants that add a bold and rich look, whilst plants such as cordylines, crotons and frangipanis help to bring the tropical picture to life,” says Jason.

If you require new garden walls or planter boxes, consider the Natural Impressions Duostone wall blocks from Adbri Masonry. The faces are pressed with a modern rock finish designed to replicate the appeal of natural stone. Jason also recommends incorporating bamboo screens, trellis or brushwood as great options for adding texture to the backyard and double as a privacy screen until all plants have fully grown.

Black lava is traditionally used in villas due to being readily available, bold and robust. For an authentic look, try using Adbri Masonry’s Euro Stone in Prague for the outdoor cooking or dining space. Finish the look with a water feature or for an Aussie alternative with no running costs, opt for a feature fire pit instead.

 

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The Hamptons look is all about structured details and layers, so whether it is a small courtyard, pool area or an alfresco room, add life and colour with greenery.

Hamptons Styled Backyard – for a relaxed coastal vibe

With the growing trend of outdoor living and alfresco entertaining, it’s no surprise that the Hamptons style is one of this year’s biggest trends. With land sizes shrinking, acres of manicured lawns that we typically associate with Hamptons may not be possible, but homeowners can re-create the look with a laidback Australian twist to suit their outdoor space.

Here’s how you can create your own Hamptons garden:

The Hamptons look is all about structured details and layers, so whether it is a small courtyard, pool area or an alfresco room, add life and colour with greenery. “For lush green turf invest in some new Sir Walter or if you’ve already got the lawn, create a beautiful leafy outlook with sculpted hedges. Buxus balls are great and will allow you to create different heights and levels in your garden. For classic flowers, think hydrangeas, orchids and gardenias,” Jason suggests.

A borderline of hedges will provide a grand boundary as well as offer privacy. If a pool is part of your Hamptons design, don’t forgot the styling, which can be simple cushions, smart use of colour, or a rewarding splurge on a statement furniture piece from Cosh Living.

The perfect place to admire your lawn, appreciate your Hamptons garden and enjoy refreshing iced tea is from a modern coastal courtyard with a touch of Hamptons. To get the look, try Adbri Masonry’s Euro Classic pavers in a light colour that will complement your floral selections. “These pavers look great and because they are slip resistant, they’re perfect for pool surrounds and wet areas too,” says Jason.

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Veda Dante

Veda Dante is an accomplished journalist, consultant and content creator who has nearly 30 years’ experience writing about everything from tourism, hospitality and health to architecture, pools and luxury goods. When she’s not producing copy for clients, this self-confessed word nerd is usually writing and photographing the Byron Bay region for her blog www.livebyron.com.au

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.