the open houseContemporary Deck, Sydney
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Tell usAre you tempted to use any of these ideas in your next home build or renovation? Tell us in the Comments below, like and share this story, save the images and join the conversation.MoreKeen to modernise your home with these contemporary features? Find a local architect here and chat through your ideas
Choosing the right plantsSpeaking of vegetation, you’ll thank yourself in years to come if you put some thought now into the plants you want – if any – and which suit your site. If you’re hankering for a tree or two, your landscape architect may need to install a root barrier to protect underground plumbing or foundations. An irrigation system will keep your plants healthy too.The options are endless when it comes to landscaping, so consider whether you want low-maintenance greenery, trees or plants for shade, climbers to cover walls, flowers to pick, ground cover, edibles, natives, deciduous or evergreen species.Browse gardening stories to see what plants might suit you
Carve out an internal courtyardDo you have the budget for renovations and some space to sacrifice? A central courtyard could naturally light your home from within, which is the case with this home in Sydney’s Alexandria, by Elaine Richardson Architect. These tranquil indoor-outdoor spaces are best surrounded by windows, glazed louvres or glass sliding doors to let light shine from the courtyard into adjacent rooms.Consult an architect, interior designer or a builder for advice on how to maximise light penetration in your site, and remember, even a small internal courtyard can make a big difference.
8. Ornamental pearPyrus calleryana is common throughout Melbourne, mainly due to it being economical and vigorous, making it a great screening tree. It is a resilient plant that copes well with water logging, compaction and moderate drought. Just make sure you get a quality cultivar, as some have weak branches that fall off. On that note, one of the strengths of the ornamental pear is also its weakness – it is cheap to buy and grows fast, but will require more maintenance over time. Allow for pruning once every 12 to 24 months, and a good sweeping after all its flowers have dropped.Take the tour of this house
Term: Cost-plusMEANING: This is one of the most common ways that builders price up a job. They’ll give you an estimate of what they think the job will cost – based on their experience and knowledge – and then you’ll pay for the time it took, plus the cost of any materials. Sometimes this can turn out cheaper than you expected and sometimes, if unexpected problems arise, it may cost more than estimated.Hidden costs in builders’ quotes
2. Indoor-outdoor livingBuilt into a terrace-sized block in the Sydney inner-city suburb of Alexandria, this home designed by Elaine Richardson maximises light wherever possible. An internal courtyard allows natural light to stream through to hard-to-reach places and opens the house up to the outdoors with bi-fold doors running along a track.Explore the rest of this home
In close relation to this is the desire for indoor-outdoor spaces, which Youngson believes is another new trend to take shape in recent years. “Sometimes described in property advertising as ‘outdoor rooms’, these new areas are taking a number of forms, including indoor-outdoor entertaining and living spaces, outdoor kitchens and even outdoor bathrooms,” she says. Level living areas that flow to an outdoor area, and the likes of sliding doors, covered patios and generous windows can help make a home feel more expansive, light and airy, and helps to bring the tranquil sense of nature indoors.Having said that, if yours is a potential family home, ensure there are still ‘zones’ in which the kids or parents can escape to. “A house needs to have different zones that are functional yet aesthetically pleasing. Parents need quiet space from kids at times and vice versa,” says Harvey.
Create an outdoor oasisCourtyards provide an escape to the outdoors and an ability to get some fresh air and Vitamin D, so treat them like an extension of your home and don’t neglect this space. Courtyards are a luxury in a time where apartment and small-space living is on the rise, so don’t waste a good opportunity to make this a space of your own.Just like you would your interior, think about function and how you foresee using the space – this will give you a starting point and an idea of what furniture and accessories to purchase (or what items to get rid of to free up some space!).