Whilst most Melbournians are contemplating if the bitter cold will ever end, the good news is spring is upon us! Before long you’ll be keen to venture outside, where a light spring breeze will caress your skin, and gentle rays of sunshine will brighten your mood; until you suddenly realise how much you’ve neglected your outdoor space in favour of days in front of the warm fire watching Netflix in your PJ’s.
But don’t despair! Now’s the time to get excited and look at your outdoor area with fresh eyes so you can turn it into something you’re proud of, and it becomes a place you love spending time in.
So if you want to make an immediate impact on your outdoor zones without breaking your budget here’s our top ideas.
Start with the basics
Think about the outdoors as you would your home’s interior. Image your fences are walls, grass is your flooring and garden beds are window coverings. If these base things aren’t right within the home, it doesn’t matter how nice the furnishings are, likewise outdoors. Consider painting fences for a fresh look; charcoal is always a popular colour, as greenery makes a wonderful contrast against its depth. Try multiple plantings that create a uniformed border; this will be eye-catching and a wonderful backdrop. If your yard is spotted with patches where grass no longer grows, plant new seed and watch it flourish with a combination of spring showers and sunshine. And lastly, if your yard is framed by garden beds, give them the gift of fresh tanbark. Consider a move away from traditional brown shades to a bolder black which is currently in favour with many gardeners: this too looks great with pops of colour against it.
Once you’ve refreshed your base, it’s time to add to it. This is the fun part, and the way to make your own personal mark.
Revamp rather than replace
Is your timber outdoor furniture looking a little tired, faded by the sun and weathered by the rain? If the answer is yes, you’re probably wondering how much it’ll set you back to replace it. For a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly option, why not spend time, rather than a large chunk of money, and sand the furniture back. From here, you can make the choice; restain it and enjoy the richness of the timber or paint it and give it an upcycled look in a bold colour that suits your palette. Outdoor cushions can go a long way to softening both the look and feel of timber furniture. Stores such as K-Mart have some affordable options, or if you have old cushions you want to use the inners of, try hacks such as using waterproofed materials such as outdoor tablecloths to make your own covers in colours that complement your other décor.
Look at your lighting
Having the right kind of lighting in an outdoor space can be key to setting the mood. There are a number of places that sell affordable string lighting that can be used outdoors, and this is perfect to add a slightly whimsical feel to undercover entertaining areas. Add to this by framing the space with some floaty fabric curtains and some decorative cushions; it will soften the space remarkably.
Utilise dead space
Have spare space and don’t know what to do with it? There is nothing more mesmerising than sitting around an open fire, sharing a drink and reliving stories with family and friends. There are now a large range of prefabricated firepits for sale that can become the centrepiece of your area and a safe place to contain a fire. A small area of paving or decking can be created to define the space. Just remember to delegate someone to bring the marshmallows!
DIY and save
There are some fabulous DIY projects out there that allow you to make bespoke pieces to put a unique twist on your space. Some of these include timber planter boxes, wall hung shelving and even larger frames that can be used to create a veggie patch or an edible landscape. These look fabulous made from recycled timber, and if you can find a business getting rid of old timber palettes, it’ll leave you with extra cash to buy succulents, brightly coloured annuals or seedlings to finish them off. And, even better is the immense pride that you’ve made them yourself.
Searching thrift shops, eBay, discount stores and Buy, Swap and Sell sites can also be fruitful when trying to stick to a smaller budget. So, finish that Netflix series, get off the couch and start creating a space of beauty before summer arrives!