Landscaping expert and Charlie Carp ambassador, Jason Hodges, is urging Australian homeowners to rekindle their love affair with the outdoors for improved wealth, health, wellbeing and peace of mind. With homeowners looking to make better use of limited outdoor space due to increasing pressures of urbanisation, the popularity of the outdoor room is growing rapidly and Hodges predicts it will become the most valued room in the house.
“The outdoor room is the most versatile room in the house and there has never been a better time to invest in yours,” explains Hodges. “Not only can an outdoor room increase the value of your home, but the health benefits of spending time outdoors are undeniable. The backyard is quickly taking over as the favourite gathering space for cooking, entertaining, relaxing and spending time with loved ones.”
“Whatever size outdoor space you have, there are countless ways to create an exceptional place to entertain, relax and spend time with family and friends, and it starts with getting the foundations right – the garden and lawn.”
Here, Jason Hodges offers some tips on creating the most impact in your outdoor family room;
1. Grow your Garden
Your garden is the foundation for a good outdoor room. It sets the theme for the whole space and can determine the look and feel.
Mature trees can be a starting point for building a scheme. They block the glare of the sun and can also be used as an anchor for shade sails, a hammock, pendant lights or hanging decorations. “Trees are fantastic as a habitat and food source for wildlife and as a source of carbon capture. They also give structure and architecture to a garden,” says Jason.
Make sure you regularly feed your trees. The best choice for fast results in the garden is liquid fertiliser as it’s quick acting, allowing the plant to absorb both the micro and macro nutrients through the foliage quicker than any other fertiliser. A good one to try is organically based lawn and garden fertiliser, Charlie Carp as it’s a complete, all-purpose fertiliser, so can be used on your trees, garden and lawn,” says Jason. Being an Australian brand, it’s also made for our environment and conditions and uses the whole Carp fish, so in turn, provides an almost perfect balance of vitamins and minerals for plants, soil and grass.
The best garden designs start with structural plants infilled with smaller plants. Use evergreen shrubs at the end of each border and as punctuation along the way. Include small shrubs such as box balls, or large evergreens for bigger areas. Once you have this frame, fill the gaps with pretty flowering plants. In entertaining areas, try using palms and tropical plants for a more resort and relaxed feel.
2. Get your lawn into shape
A lush green lawn is a great asset, especially in summer when you want to be outdoors sharing your garden with family and friends. Green lawns help to reduce outdoor temperatures as they don’t absorb and hold heat as do hard surfaces such as paving. A lush lawn also provides a comfortable, safe space for children and pets to play.
If your lawn is looking lacklustre, consider the four tenets of sunshine, fertilise, water and soil aeration. Cut branches back to keep excessive shade away. Fertilise to help grass grow stronger and less prone to disease and pests, and to keep it healthy and surviving through a hot summer. Water once a week early in the morning. For aeration, take a fork to your lawn and poke lots of holes.
3. Plant edible gardens
Urban edible gardening and farming is set to increase, with people enjoying the appeal of home grown, free of chemicals and fresh from the garden to the dinner plate. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are the most common, and don’t need a large space. This is also great activity to get the kids involved in with you.
While edible plants can be susceptible to diseases, make sure you fertilise regularly to keep plants strong. Choosing an all-natural fertiliser with no chemicals such as Charlie Carp Organic Concentrate, is ideal for veggie patches and edible gardens, and is like a one-stop-shop for your whole garden. It’s safe to consume and will help every plant. Edibles not only provide healthy eating; many will also beautify your landscape.
4. Transition indoors to out with paving
The key to ongoing utilisation of an outdoor space is to make it easily accessible, through a seamless transition from the indoor living rooms to the outdoor living area. Connect spaces with bifold or French doors, run the internal tiles into external pavers. “By ensuring your paving is the same level as your indoor flooring, you can blur the lines between the interior and the exterior of the property,” says Jason. Paving can completely transform the look and feel of any space, and is perfect for entertaining spaces and barbeque areas.
5. Add furniture to create zones
To choose the right furniture start by considering your lifestyle and how you anticipate the room will be used. Choose pieces that are multi-functional, flexible and can be easily moved around to create an alternative setting are popular. An outdoor family room with seating facing each other will create an environment where conversation and interactivity will thrive.
6. Outdoor ambiance
Not only will a feature firepit make a statement in the outdoor family room, it also ensures you can make the most of the space by using it all year round. Fireplaces add warmth and ambience to the outdoor room as well as creating a focal point. Also gaining popularity is the outdoor pizza oven which adds an element of fun to entertaining.
An alternative to a firepit is introducing a water feature to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your space and provide a simple focal point. Water features can also serve a functional purpose such as blocking out noise from traffic or neighbours and add a peaceful ambiance to the garden.
7. Lighting the way
Lighting not only adds another aesthetic to the outdoor living area, it also enables these spaces to be used day and night. Soft mood lighting created by small discreet LED or solar lights hidden under or above ground, spotlighting outdoor features such as trees, plants or sculptures can really help set the scene.
The outdoor room is a truly personal space in which homeowners have the opportunity to imprint their own personality. No other space in your house can be so multi-functional or offer so much opportunity to contribute to the wellness of your family as well as provide a major contribution to the value of your home investment.
Charlie Carp fertiliser products are available from Woolworths stores nationally and include Charlie Carp Concentrate (1 Litre RRP$10.98, 5Litre $47.98), Charlie Carp Organic Concentrate (1Litre $11.28) and Charlie Carp Hose-On (2.2Litre $10.79). For more information visit www.charliecarp.com.au