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5 Tips to use your outdoor area to add value

By George Hadgelias

VERDE Design Group director Chris Mahoney said his role in outdoor design was now more important than ever.

“We’re seeing a shift towards multifunctional outdoor spaces, as homeowners look to maximise

their outdoor spaces for entertaining purposes while capitalising on their investment by increasing

property values,” Mr Mahoney said.

“There is a perception that spending on landscape architecture is not necessary — but if budgeted for accordingly, investment in professional outdoor design can add a huge amount of value to your home.”

Mr Mahoney offers five key outdoor trends that should be on your home-improvement list to add value to your home:

1. Water-savvy plants from the past: Water conscious plants have been seen in residential design for some time, which predominantly stemmed from the drought. However, in 2017 we’re seeing a shift towards water savvy plants that are rich in colour and texture such as Crassula species, Carissas and Senecio — think of the types of plants you found in your grandma’s garden. They are low maintenance and gentle on the environment, reducing the worry of them dying and having to replace them.

2. No-mow lawns: If you’re lucky enough to have a bit of a yard to mow, you probably also dread the upkeep. No-mow lawns are increasingly on the rise and provide the answer to your garden problems — saving you time while also saving water, yet still allowing you to enjoy natural greenery unlike artificial varieties. Look to slow-grow options like Zoysia, which need mowing rarely, if ever.

3. Blur the lines between indoors and outdoors: Our outdoor areas are often the place where we choose to entertain. Invest in a fantastic outdoor kitchen, pizza oven or barbecue — and some comfortable and quality built-in seating to match. Consider how your indoor areas can seamlessly integrate with your outdoor entertaining space and inject more greenery to your indoor spaces to blur the lines between ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor.’ Choose a trendy indoor variety that enjoys filtered light and position them appropriately.

4. Space-saving furniture and gardens: If outdoor space is an issue, make the most of this limitation with multi-use furniture, such as built-in seating that lifts up to double as a storage device for garden equipment or tools. In addition, vertical vegetable gardens or planters can maximise floor space while doubling as plant-able privacy screen from nearby neighbours. My favourite low-maintenance vertical garden varieties for outdoor areas include Philodendron species, Peperomia and Bromeliads for spot colour.

5. Year-round warmth: When planning your outdoor area, consider how to bring warmth to the

space to ensure you can enjoy it all year round. Incorporate inviting, comfortable seating options

with the use of timber, and avoid cold materials such as steel and concrete that can be too harsh in winter. Introduce another layer to your furnishing through the use of soft outdoor cushions to add warmth, while an outdoor heater or fire pit can be worth the additional spend in cooler climates.

VERDE Design Group is a Brisbane-based landscape architectural firm specialising in the design of innovative, sustainable and environmentally-responsible projects www.verdedesign.com.au

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