Monday, 18 January 2016 03:34

Fun In The Sun

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Fun In The Sun

During the summer months, there is nothing better than getting outside and soaking up the sunshine. It is also the perfect time to start thinking about what you can do to make your garden area something truly special. Emily Williamson speaks with Tim Sprague from Kiama Landscapes and Pools, about how you can design a great outdoor space for the Melbourne summer.

In Australia, we really are a lucky country. Our    include sliding or bifold doors. This traps warmth summer months are hard to beat and many of us don’t miss an opportunity to take advantage of it. Creating an outdoor area to entertain, relax, and enjoy, is one of the best things you can do to make the most of the sunshine. Here, company director Tim Sprague provides a variety of options to help make your outdoor space a soothing paradise.


Before designing and constructing your new outdoor area, there are some very important factors that need to be given consideration. Tim Sprague says homeowners need to know how they will use the area to ensure it meets their needs.

“Homeowners need to make sure their outdoor space suits the needs of the whole family. They also need to know what area is going to get the most and least amount of sunlight, and how it will flow from inside the home. Does the design use the space to its full potential? Is the new outdoor design well matched with the existing style of the home?”

These days, homeowners want to maximise the use of their property by creating an indoor and outdoor living space that flows seamlessly from one area to the other. According to Tim Sprague, there are many design options to choose from to ensure this can be achieved.

“The interior of a home will always affect the exterior as well. This does not mean you have to use the exact same materials – similar colour tones on main features would be sufficient. Some options include a contemporary design for a modern home, a natural bush setting for country homes, a coastal design for beachside properties, and a Japanese style for the architecturally designed home.

“For seamless integration of your home and backyard it is important to consider a range of factors, such as having your entertaining area or outdoor kitchen close to the house so it does not appear segregated.”

To further personalise the outdoor space, Tim Sprague says homeowners can include many different features.

“For a family who loves to surf, the area could include outdoor showers to wash sand off and an area to hang wetsuits. For a family who loves to entertain, the area could include a well-equipped outdoor kitchen with plenty of seating space. An outdoor stereo could be included for music lovers, and a lap pool for the fitness-minded family. If a family prefers locally-grown, organic produce, they can even include a vegetable patch in their new outdoor area.”


Whether you design them to match your home, or give them a unique flair, outdoor rooms and cabanas are the perfect addition to your outdoor area. To assist with greater flexibility of the space, in the colder months and enables the space to be ‘closed in’, allowing a cabana to be used not only in the winter months, but also in conjunction with a pool in summer, as it can open into an outdoor room. Outdoor rooms or cabanas can merge indoor and outdoor spaces, and integrate gardens and swimming pools. To add greater convenience to the structure you can also include full bathroom and kitchen facilities, as well as lounges and tables and chairs for entertaining.


During the summer months, swimming pools offer the perfect mix of relaxation and family fun. Nothing beats lazing by the poolside and jumping in to cool off on a sweltering day. While the popularity of pools continues to grow, however, their size continues to diminish.

Whether it is because more people are living in higher density environments or experiencing tougher authority development controls, private exterior spaces are becoming smaller.

Despite this, people still expect their outdoor area to not only act as a living space, but also incorporate a swimming pool.

To feed this demand, plunge pools have been gaining in popularity because they can often double as a water feature. This style of pool is typically small in size, around 6m x 4m, and can act as the focal point of a courtyard or small garden. For entertaining purposes, pool benches are often placed within the pool around several sides to create sun ledges, swim-outs and benches. Swim jets can also be incorporated for exercise.


A beautiful garden is one of the most important features of your outdoor area. It can be designed to suit your lifestyle as well as your pool area, cabana or outdoor room. When planning your garden, however, it is important to consider not only its visual appeal, but its functionality. This includes deciding where you will store the gardening equipment, where will the irrigation lines will be installed and where the drains will be positioned to capture that summer thunderstorm?


According to Tim Sprague, current trends include laser-cut light boxes, sunken conversation areas with a fire pit, water features, swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, and different level changes in the area. It is also on-trend to use a lot of natural resources, such as stone, timber and recycled material.



Once renovations of your outdoor area are complete, you can start thinking about additions that will provide a personal touch to the space. There are five things you can do to revamp your outdoor area to get it summer ready.

1. Furnishings
The most effective way to ‘finish’ an outdoor room, or to change it from winter to summer mode, is with new furnishings. Soft furnishings such as cushions and throw rugs, or the fabric on outside lounges and chairs, can be either be restored from existing furniture, or purchased brand new. Colourful towels, bright candles or a vibrant umbrella can also change the feel of a space quickly from sombre winter tones to vibrant summer colours.

2. Lighting
To ensure your outdoor room or cabana continues to impress well into the night, it is important to install the correct lighting. There are two different types of landscape lighting that need to be considered, including functional lighting and mood lighting. Functional lighting should be placed in locations that ensure the area is well lit, however, does not glare into your guests’ eyes while you are entertaining. For this, select warm LED lighting with a dimmer switch. Mood lighting should be placed within gardens to draw attention to your swimming pool or garden features, such as a sculpture, water feature or plants.

3. Furniture and Hardware
The right furniture for your outdoor room or cabana can make all the difference to the space. Larger pieces such as a custom-made bench with brightly coloured pillows are great for bigger spaces and can act as a feature. In smaller spaces, vividly coloured wicker chairs or ornamental cast iron furniture will lift a space from winter to summer. Colourful hardware such as art, pots or sculptures can also be easily changed seasonally to exhibit a new summer feel each year.

4. Maintenance
It might seem like a tedious task, however, there is no point investing time and money into renovations of your outdoor area if you don’t clean and maintain it. Get the cover off, add chlorine and vacuum the swimming pool. Water blast down all the paving and walling to give it a fresh clean look, and consider painting a vibrant colour on a wall to lift it into summer. Fertilise the lawn and all the plants in spring so they are blossoming and colourful for summer.

5. Plants
Choosing an eclectic mix of plants suitable to your climate will add beauty to your outdoor area. Plan ahead and plant a range of species that will thrive at different times of the year to ensure a blossoming garden no matter the season. For example, there are many annuals and perennials that flower at various times of the year, and deciduous plants have lovely new bright green leaves for summer. Feature pots such as Gymea Lily, topiary or an agave succulent, can be incorporated to create a strong seasonal feature. The possibilities are endless!
As summer approaches, it is time to prepare an outdoor area where you can relax and defrost. Turn your backyard into an entertainer’s dream, a relaxing oasis, and a beautiful paradise. From outdoor rooms, to pools and blossoming gardens, your outdoor area has unlimited potential. With a little help from the professionals, you will be on your way to a beautiful backyard for summer.


Read 29057 times Last modified on Tuesday, 19 January 2016 23:35