4 Key Ways To Add Value To Your Outdoor Living Areas

Outdoor living areas are an important feature of any Australian home and can add real value to an entire property. Ensuring any external zones are both aesthetically pleasing and functional will make your outdoor areas a real drawcard for buyers (not to mention a haven for you and your family to enjoy). Here, we suggest out top four ways to add value to your outdoor living spaces.

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1. Design a versatile garden in the backyard of your home

Landscape gardening is an important element of any outdoor living area. A lavish garden might look impressive, but it might be impractical if it’s too difficult to maintain.

For this reason, choose your plants wisely. Deciduous shrubs and trees provide year round appeal. A fast-growing hedge or vine can provide much needed privacy. Drought resistant plants are a wise choice for warmer regions. Mature trees are a worthwhile investment that will boost your curb appeal and add value if you decide to sell. Consult with your local nursery to decide what plants are appropriate for your property, soil and climate.

2. Use your outdoor space wisely

You do not need a big area to make a big impact. You can still have an attractive outdoor set up without the luxury of a generous plot.

For inner city living or small properties, rooftop gardens are very popular and make great use of normally wasted space. Planter boxes or pots allow you to cultivate greenery without garden beds, and vertical gardens or vines add life without sacrificing space. When designing a small outdoor area, try to keep things simple – overcrowding will just make your courtyard or balcony feel smaller.

If you are lucky enough to have a large garden, make the most of it by creating clear garden and entertainment zones.

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3. Create a functional outdoor entertainment area

Clever design will provide an extra entertainment space outdoors. For example, a pergola or verandah allows for outdoor living protected from the elements. Decking, on the other hand, is also a worthwhile and visually attractive addition, as is functional seating. A built in BBQ, fire pit or wood fire pizza oven opens opportunities for great alfresco socialising.

If your property is in a colder climate, consider integrating heating or wind protection. Such additions will create an additional, external living room that will add real value by increasing comfort and liveability in your house.

4. Invest in an outdoor water feature

There is something instantly calming about water in a backyard. If you live in a warmer part of Australia and can afford it, consider a swimming pool. A pool can be a major asset – not only will it add value, but provide a fantastic centerpiece for your outdoor area. For smaller yards, a lap pool may be more suitable; they are more moderate on space but offer the same visual impact. (If you invest in a pool, be sure to install fences so it is safe for kids.)

If your budget is more modest, any water feature can provide cost-effective visual appeal. The soothing sound and sight of flowing water will naturally complement any outdoor living space and impress in inspections.

5 Ways It Pays To Ask The Pros About Renovating

Even though taking charge of your own home renovation can be a rewarding experience, it doesn’t hurt to consult the experts every once in a while. Qualified professionals are a source of valuable inspiration and advice. Their knowledge and experience can help you complete your renovation safely, on time and on budget. Here we suggest five ways you can benefit from the expertise of the pros.

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1. Before You Speak To Anyone, Speak To Your Bank.

Nothing can stop a renovation in its tracks faster than money troubles. Speaking to a financial expert will help you organise your finances and secure loans if necessary. That way you will know how much you will have to spend on your project and can plan ahead. A budget will help you decide on the resources, materials and contractors you will use.

2. The Local Council Will Let You Know The Rules.

Before you get started, you should check whether your renovation plans comply with local council regulations. This is especially pertinent for heritage-listed buildings. Consulting with the council early will prevent you having to change your plans further down the line and avoid any surprise penalties for infractions. The council will also give you the means to let your neighbours know of your renovations and mediate any issues that might arise.

3. Realtors Can Advise You On The Market.

Real estate agents understand what the market seeks in a house. They will generally be aware of what is sought after in your area, and are familiar with the additions that benefit any home. Even if you are not considering selling in the foreseeable future, an agent can suggest what will add value to your property when you do.

4. Architects And Designers Can Give You A Fresh Perspective.

Architects and designers are a great source of knowledge about innovations and trends. Although it is important to have your own style, an architect can help you refine your ideas and benefit your design with their formal eye. They will also be able to produce precise blueprints. Further along, an interior designer can provide you with some inspiration for final touches and decoration.

5. Builders Are There To Do The Hard Work For You.

While there will be plenty of things that you, friends and family can manage on your build site, sometimes a little extra expertise and muscle can be a great help. Builders contribute knowledge about construction practices and safety. A head builder or project manager can also help you find contractors. It is never advisable to do your own electrical or plumbing work. Aside from the dangers, it also demands a very high level of technical know-how, which trained electricians and plumbers provide.

8 Home Improvement Sites We Love

Turning a house into a home takes time, energy and a little creativity. Whether you like taking on projects yourself or feel unsure where to turn for renovation aid, the internet is a fantastic resource.

To assist, we’ve rounded up our favourite home improvement blogs and websites from Australia and overseas. We hope they help you transform your property with ease.

Australian Home Improvement Sites

The Design Files


This blog, updated daily, is a great for exploring new Australian home design trends. The Design Files also features an Australian Homes section where you can seek inspiration from cool abodes all over the country. Check out the ‘Interviews’ tab to learn about up-and-coming illustrators, potters, photographers and master-crafters.

The Home Journal


The Home Journal gets to the heart of what home really means. This online magazine includes tips for improving every room of the house, how to get the job done yourself and what to look for in a building contractor. In addition, browse the ‘Culture’ section (featuring art, craft, design and fashion) or ‘Lifestyle’ section (finance and real estate, just to name a few) for more insight. The site is user-friendly and incorporates social media widgets so you can share your finds with your friends via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Australian Homes


This site covers it all; from interior architecture and decoration to landscape, construction and real estate tips. Whether you love DIY projects or need advice on how to hire help, Australian Homes is like an encyclopedia on all things home improvement – for bargain lovers and luxury seekers alike.

Real Living


Ever wondered how to build an industrial bedside lamp? Or maybe you’re eager to make that new color trend work in the living room? Real Living covers all that and more, giving you a room-by-room gallery of fun projects, designer interviews and celebrity home inspiration.

Inside Out


Inside Out Magazine falls under the ‘Homelife’ umbrella, and the zine’s blog offers endless tips for how to upgrade your space. Expert contributors offer budget-friendly renovation techniques and advice on incorporating current trends into your home. Also expect design tips, DIY crafts and drool-worthy dream homes.

Australian Outdoor Living


Learn how to maximise, update and improve your outdoor living space on a budget. Australian Outdoor Living offers tips and ideas that will add personality and purpose to the exterior of your home.

Global Home Improvement Sites

Rue Daily


The offspring of Rue Magazine, this site is dedicated to all things décor. In addition to an extensive how-to section, you can peek into the hippest homes for some serious design inspiration. The ‘Why It Works’ section, full of little details that make a space special, will help you make your home the most stylish on the block.

This Old House


This site puts home improvement into your own hands, with easy to understand guides and videos for tons of different projects. Whether you want to refinish hardwood floors, paint kitchen cabinets or edge a garden bed, This Old House has you covered.

When it comes time for your next home improvement project, contact the team at Budget Temp Fencing on 1300 971 972. They can help secure your building site at extremely competitive prices.

Council Regulations: How to Renovate Legally

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Thinking about a home overhaul? Before you pick up a hammer, remember that nearly all significant home improvements require local council approval.

Whether you’re trying to add a swimming pool in the backyard, expanding the carport, or simply putting up a fence, most alterations to your home need to be okayed by a higher authority. Any improvement that will change the structural integrity of your space is considered a renovation and must be submitted for approval. It’s best to check with your council during the planning phase so you don’t waste time, energy or money on a strategy that may not even be a possibility.

Regulations can vary depending on your location, so always consult your local council for clarification. This is just a rough guide of what to consider before you commit to any home renovation decisions.

Get Permission

Depending on the nature of your building project, you may need to submit a development application or apply for a construction certificate through your council. A planning advisor can help you get started, and alert you to any specific policies regarding the type of renovation you have in mind. Even small changes, like removing a tree, can be approved or denied by the council.

These days many housing blocks are built with specific design strategies, and tampering with them can be prohibited. Even the color or material used in building projects matters. The council will consider all relevant policies such as health and safety regulations, site restraints, building requirements and environmental planning. This procedure can be lengthy – be sure to supply as much information as possible to expedite the process.

Decide Who Will Do the Work

Will you hire a subcontractor or manage the work yourself? If you’re keen to take on the project solo, most states in Australia require you to obtain an owner/builder permit and go through an extensive education course, as the responsibility of this role is quite hefty.

Include All Information

If you don’t submit full plans, or do so incorrectly, your application is likely to be denied. Skip the fuss and discuss exactly what’s needed with your planning officer. Council inspections may be required throughout the building process as well. If you proceed without an agreement, you may be forced to pay a fine or even demolish your improvements.

Follow Restrictions

If your development application is passed through and accepted, there may still be rules to follow such as hours or labor and noise restraints moving forward. Imagine your neighbours decide to improve their roof… Would you appreciate loud banging at 1am?

Generally speaking, labour projects are permitted between the hours of 7am and 6pm on weekdays, beginning later and ending earlier on weekends (if permitted at all). It’s always a good idea to inform neighbours about your plans, as they will be most affected.

If you’re renovating, let the team at Budget Temp Fencing help you secure your site. Call 1300 971 972 for a quote.