Make the most of your garden and enjoy outdoor living even when the weather cools down.
Anyone who has gone house hunting knows that properties with a deck, outdoor living area or garden come at a premium.
This is because a welcoming and usable outdoor space can add as much as $100,000 value, according to the Housing Industry Association.
It’s estimated that budgets for landscaping and hardscaping have tripled in the past 15 years, with about $20,000 the rough average for a reno, or up to 10% of the value of the home.
With such a good return on investment, the deck or patio is now seen as an extra room, with design and functionality top priorities.
No longer just a warm-weather pleasure, heating, screening and lighting options provide lots of ways to enjoy your outdoor space in style and comfort all year round.
A source of warmth is the way to entice people onto the deck in the cold months, with fireplaces one of the biggest outdoor trends in the past five years.
Whatever the budget, some type of heat source can be included. Portable gas-fuelled braziers are a good choice for small groups, as they provide good ambient heat in a limited radius.
Costing from $50 to $400, depending on size and quality, they are also economical to run.
Another budget-friendly option is a fire pit. A camp-style pit in the ground with a stone circle and gravel in the base is an informal solution that can fit into any scheme.
A more sophisticated stainless-steel fire pit is still inexpensive and can be moved to where the heat is required, making it a good choice for small spaces or gatherings on dry, still days.
Chimineas are a different take on a fire pit and are better suited to withstand wind, as they have proper draughting and the fire is contained.
If the budget allows and the space is large enough, a built-in fireplace adds instant appeal and will become a focal point of the space.
The fireplace has to meet building codes and the location should take into consideration privacy needs, prevailing wind direction and its proximity to other structures.
An outdoor fireplace can be located against a wall, along a fence or in a corner of a yard.
They can be freestanding at the edge of a patio, built into a retaining wall or attached to an outdoor kitchen.
For a small fireplace, you’ll need at least a 4 x 4m deck or patio and for a large one at least a 6 x 6m area.
Make sure there is enough room for furniture in front of your fireplace.
There are regulations about setting fires outdoors at home, relating to the fire danger seasons in each state.
Before lighting a fire, particularly a camp or pit fire, visit the website of your state fire service to check for guidelines and restrictions.