In Australia, particularly for Melbourne siders, we spend a lot of time outdoors, enjoying our outdoor spaces and activities. We need them to be functional and looking fabulous, so selecting lasting surfaces and waterwise plants are a priority to last with the unpredictable nature of our weather and sometimes harsh weather conditions. The furniture materials also need to withstand the elements while still injecting personality into your space – whether it be plastic, metal, timber or woven synthetics.
We have pulled together some of our best ideas and are sharing nine of these that will make your outdoor space a place to enjoy at any time of the year and save you the extra work that comes with maintaining an outdoor space.
- Paver maintenance
Pavers look great in a backyard and bring a little bit of elegance to even the smallest spaces. They are not only durable but are super easy to keep clean. To make them look great for longer by minimising stains and wearing from foot traffic, applying a sealer and a top coat after laying will protect the pavers. When you need to give them an excellent clean, investing in a pressure cleaner will quickly make the pavers look new. A pressure cleaner uses less water than a hose, so it is by far the ideal choice.
- Mulch the weeds away
There is nothing like the satisfaction of watching plants grown and flourish in your garden, only then to be ruined by weeds popping up. Using a bark-based mulch once you have planted is a popular option for preventing weeds. It’s not only a perfect way to keep weeds at bay; mulch also makes sure soil doesn’t dry out, and watering can be reduced by 50%. In addition, to minimise gardening chores, re-applying once a year will mean more relaxing weekends enjoying your outdoor spaces.
- Minimal maintenance with timber
Occasional maintenance for your outdoor timbers will be required. All it needs is a good clean twice a year using:
- Stiff brush
- A bucket full of water
- A few tablespoons of dishwashing liquid
- A dollop of bleach
Timber can weather naturally with a grey tone that may suit your outdoor design, or perhaps you prefer the deep rich tones that are achieved by applying a water-repellent natural finish.
- Lay synthetic grass
Synthetic grass has come a long way since the ’60s. No more backyards need to look like the Brady Bunch; artificial grass that is available now is much more realistic, affordable, long-lasting, and even better because there is no weeding, watering, mowing, or fertilising. It doesn’t get much better than the ease of synthetic grass.
- Simplicity of succulents
If you find plants a challenge to look after, turn to succulents. Whether you use a few or a lot, they can be a beautiful work of art. All they require is warm, dry conditions and minimal water. There’s no need for mulching because stones and pebbles keep them happy and healthy. They grow from cuttings and are simply an effortless way to add a bit of low-maintenance flair to your outdoors.
- Get warm with outdoor heating
There is something special about dining and socialising alfresco, even when the colder nights set in. Getting the right heating can be the difference between a great night and a cold night. The right choice depends on:
- Size of space
- Environmental impact
Wood pits are great for a romantic feel; however, the clean-burning liquid biofuel is a no-mess, no-fuss option.
- Self-watering system
The one plan you can make that will save you time is the installation of a self-watering system. Whether you set it up during construction or later down the track, irrigation has a timer or automatic controller that will turn on at specified times to keep your plants and garden looking healthy.
- Pebbles and pots for perfection
If you like clean lines and a no-fuss look in your yard, then try the Japanese influence of pebbles as ground cover. This textural delight means no watering is required, and the weeds don’t pop up. If you want some greenery and visual appeal, add some potting mix to some pots and add some easy maintenance plants.
- Weather-resistant cushions
For outdoor comfort and a burst of colour, scatter cushions on an outdoor setting is perfect to top off your yard. Although there are many more options available nowadays than previously that can be left outside, be sure first to check manufacturers information to ensure it’s been tested to withstand UV rays. Cleaning is necessary for outdoor cushions and can generally be achieved by removing the cushion inset, turning it inside out and handwashing with a mild detergent. If you are time-poor, you can wash it on a gentle/delicate cycle.