Australians make more use of their backyards than most people. We enjoy a relatively moderate climate for much of the year and many of us like nothing better than to entertain or simply chill out in our private outdoor spaces.
We can experience hot summers though, while winter rain and cold can put a dampener on outdoor entertaining. With that in mind, here are some ways to protect your outdoor areas from the elements and make them accessible for 12 months of the year.
Having a retractable awning means you can enjoy the winter sun on your patio and then, when summer rolls around, increase the shade as the heat becomes more intense. Motorised awnings allow you to set just the right amount of shade and, because they’re fully retractable, you can store them safely away to avoid wear and tear in inclement winter weather. Available in a wide range of fabrics and colours, retractable awnings are a simple and cost-effective way to make the most of your outside area during summer.
A pergola can be attached to the roof of a house or freestanding and is the perfect garden accessory. Ideal for providing shade over swimming pools, outdoor dining areas or barbecue areas, pergolas are made from a variety of materials, including fabric and aluminium, and can be customised to suit any backyard situation. They can be permanent or portable and are an Australian favourite for backyard weddings, barbecues, pool parties and general entertaining.
Outdoor screens can provide protection from both sun and wind, as well as making an outdoor area much more private, particularly if overlooked by neighbours. Screens can be added to existing pergolas and verandas and come in modern fabrics and colours to blend perfectly with your home’s look and feel.
If you’re renting a property and can’t make structural changes to it, or you don’t have a lot of money to spend, there are more portable ways to protect your outdoor areas. Parasols are a relatively cheap means of brightening up a backyard patio while providing shade as well as protection from the rain. They come in a range of sizes and colours and are easily erected and moved to where they are most needed.
Outdoor heating is a great way to make an outdoor area accessible in winter. Types of outdoor heaters include Mexican fireplaces (wood burning), braziers (fuelled with briquettes) and patio heaters (gas fired).
Outdoor cooling can also help you stay cool outdoors in summer. Types of outdoor cooling include misting systems, which produce a fine spray that cools the air through evaporation; outdoor fans, which create a wind chill factor; and portable air conditioners, which work best on enclosed porches or decks.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your outdoor areas in all four seasons of the year, and with a few dollars and a little ingenuity, you can make your backyard warm in winter, cool in summer and downright perfect in spring and autumn.