Nothing beats a quiet coffee in the fresh air, barbecuing lamb chops and veggies to perfection, or coming home from work and putting your feet up in the sun with a cold one in hand.
Outdoor living is an important part of Kiwi life but to truly make the most of your outdoor entertainment area you need to consider it during the early design stage of a new home build.
Shane Murray from David Reid Homes Bay of Islands says it’s important to focus on both the internal and exterior spaces when designing a new home.
‘‘Quite often designers are called in to fix problems, which could easily have been prevented if a bit more thought was put into design, such as inadequate space for outdoor entertaining,’’ he says. ‘‘Dining outside has become an integral part of our lifestyle, particularly here in the Bay of Islands, and the more you plan for this during the early design stages, the more you’ll appreciate it later.’’
He advises when building a home you should meet the architect and landscape designer on site. If you’re looking to capture sun and provide shelter, Shane says an internal main courtyard works best and (if space and budget allows) a smaller courtyard for breakfast. You can plan the positioning and layout of your outdoor spaces by using a compass and sundial to plot the sun at all times of the year.
‘‘U-shaped houses with a courtyard between, for example, are great for sun and shelter,’’ he says. ‘‘Family room on one side, lounge on the other and the kitchen in the middle of the U.’’
When thinking about your hard landscaping, Shane advises to keep it simple. ‘‘This is called the negative space, and the shape and colour will be what catches the eye and defines your spaces. It can also influence how a space is used or how comfortable it is to be in. A busy ground plane will not feel relaxing. A courtyard for entertaining should be large but in proportion to the house. People often make courtyards too small and later regret it.’’
In recognition of the increasing importance of outdoor spaces, Shane says the company offers a landscaping service ‘‘from the basic turf-only option to full, high-quality complete section landscaping’’.
He says landscaping often occurs after possession of the house, but David Reid Homes can still facilitate it after building works are finished. Shane advises if finances are getting tight forget about the gardens and concentrate on creating the framework for generous outdoor spaces. ‘‘You can buy a few plants every week and develop gardens as you can afford.’’
When setting out garden beds, these should be measured off the plan. If you don’t have a plan, set out the beds with a length of hose or spray paint to get the spaces right. Leave them set out like this for a while so you can walk around them and get a feel for how the beds will work before you start digging. Beds should be raised, composted and mulched to give plants a good start and to save you lots of watering and weeding.
When it comes to planting, again it is best to keep it simple, Shane says; pick a theme and stick with it. Not only will this provide a coherent look, but also makes the garden more aesthetically pleasing.