November 17, 2015

It’s not only in dollars that you can measure the return on an investment in your outdoor space. It’s the lifestyle it provides – healthy active kids, time with family and friends, spaces where everyone can do their own thing. And the large 2,000m2+ blocks at Riverland offer all that potential and more, with the flexibility to create room between each garden zone. So where do you start?

We asked Outhouse Design’s award-winning landscape designer Steve Warner for his top tips.

“When you have that much space, it allows people to have their own areas and also get together, which is important – especially if you have multiple generations living in the same area,” Steve says. “You can have a veggie patch or a ‘gardener’s garden’, a cabana for entertaining in the shade, a firepit and seating area, and of course a pool. Even a private area for meditation or yoga!”

Create your own green oasis
“Think of your garden as a place to experience, inhabit and enjoy – not just to look at,” Steve advises. He’s seeing a growing trend to connect more with nature. Keen gardeners could contribute back to nature by planting a native corridor to bring back birdlife. Keep bees or even chickens, grow your own vegetables and herbs, and add interesting layers of drought resistant shrubs and trees to create visual interest.

Add adventure to play
Steve says he’s seeing a return to the treehouse. “Our clients want to encourage investigative play where kids can get their hands dirty in a safe environment. We’re building natural equipment designed for scrambling and rolling around – think logs and nets, slides that are a mound rising from the ground and in-ground trampolines.”

Resort-style entertaining
If you’re including a swimming pool, make sure it’s within a safe sightline of the house and main outdoor areas. You’ll also want a private area where you can entertain with friends. Laser cut screens can divide garden areas by day, and become a piece of art at night. Steve says he’s also seeing more luxurious details outside – including outdoor fireplaces, outdoor kitchens and even an outdoor TV. You may even want to commission a bespoke piece of sculpture for your garden as a focal point.

Start with a road map
This may be your ‘forever house’, so you want your outside space to adapt to your family’s changing needs. And that’s where the advice of a professional landscape designer or landscape architect can make a difference.

“We understand all the things you need to consider,” says Steve. For example, the elements will impact your choice of materials and placement. “You want sun in winter and shade in summer. And wind, noise and privacy will also play a part.”

A smart landscaping plan can also reduce the risk of unnecessary costs. “If your land is sloping, you can position the pool to minimise earthworks. If there are water penetration issues you can design it to reduce the impact on the landscape.”

Obviously there are council and planning requirements to consider as well. And a good landscape designer can come up with ideas you may not have thought of.

“Think of it as a road map for your garden and your outdoor lifestyle,” advises Steve. “If done right, you’ll see the difference immediately, and you’ll enjoy it even more as it matures.” And with that plan in place, your garden can accommodate all the things you love and enjoy.

For more inspiration check out

Landscaping pitfalls to avoid

  • If you’re moving from a small to a large block, you don’t need to put every aspect of your garden as close to the house as possible – even if that’s what you’re used to. Plan ahead for your long-term needs.
  • If you want a ‘low maintenance’ garden, make sure you plant and nurture it well at the beginning. Quality plants, professionally planted in the right soil should grow well without much effort.
  • Choose the right materials for construction – high traffic areas need robust paving or ground cover.

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