The relatively mild Sydney climate allows homeowners on the Northern Beaches to enjoy their outdoor space all year round. In fact, al fresco living is comfortable pretty much all year, as long as you design your space to take the extremes of heat and cold into account.
Summer outdoor living ideas
Summers can be quite hot and humid and as we know, it often rains ‒ a lot. For this reason, you want to think about adding plenty of shade, and some cover to provide protection from the rain. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting under your pergola and watching the rain watering your garden. This is especially true if you’ve decorated your outdoor ‘room’ with comfy furniture and an array of shade plants.
While temporary structures like umbrellas are fine in most circumstances, they won’t stand up to high winds. So think about installing a green wall as well that protects the area from the harsh, afternoon sun. Green walls, or the structures, are available readily from your local hardware store or garden centre. One we looked at recently is easy to set up and comes with an integrated drip-watering system to make it low maintenance even for the most forgetful gardener.
This can also be a great way to divide your outdoor space so that you can have one area that is shaded and protected from the elements and a separate area where you can soak up the winter sunshine.
Last but not least, if you have a roofed structure and want to create that tropical ambience, install a ceiling fan or two to keep the mozzies at bay and you and your guests cool.
Create a cosy al fresco area for winter
You don’t have to spend the winter indoors if you’ve created a cosy outdoor space that captures some sunshine during the day. To make the most of the sun, try to organise your ‘winter garden’ design to incorporate some tiles or some other kind of thermal mass. These will act as heat sinks and release the captured heat in the evening. For those nights that aren’t cool enough to require heating, you’ll still enjoy a comfortable night enjoying a barbecue or a movie with your family and friends.
To keep your al fresco area cosy on cooler winter evenings, consider adding some outdoor heating. This could either be a gas or electric heater on a pedestal or even an infrared wall-mounted heater just above the seating area.
We also love a good fire pit for increased ambience and warmth. Some fire pits or outdoor fireplaces use wood as fuel. However, you can get a gas-powered fire pit that looks great, gives out decent heat, is low maintenance and saves the hassle of ever running out of wood.
When considering any kind of outdoor flame, keep in mind council regulations that relate to outdoor fires in your area.
From the Northern Beaches council website:
It’s okay to light a fire for cooking or warming at home as long as you use dry seasoned wood, LPG, natural gas or barbecue coals. Whenever a total fire ban is in place, no burning at all is permitted except for gas powered BBQs on your property.
Install an outdoor kitchen
Outdoor kitchens are becoming more popular as Northern Beaches homeowners strive to spend more of their time outdoors. You might go as simple as a gas or electric-powered barbecue with some additional space for cooking utensils. If you want to get fancy, install a fully plumbed-in sink (but not if it’s going to cost a fortune. You won’t get the return on investment should you decide to sell your home in the future.) For those of you who are more adventurous, you could add a pizza oven or even a meat smoker.
To round off your outdoor kitchen, incorporate a comfortable seating area with serviceable outdoor furniture with weatherproof covers. Remember to add some squishy cushions that you can easily store in a large outdoor ottoman or blanket box.
Light up the night
For ambient lighting, consider installing some solar lights. Festoon lights hung above your seating area are ideal and so you don’t burn the sausages, you could incorporate a spotlight above the barbecue area.
For even more entertainment value to your year-round outdoor living space, consider installing a small outdoor cinema screen. Remember to keep the neighbours happy; invite them over or make sure everyone uses headphones to keep the noise level down. You can buy a projector yourself and a screen, if you plan on having regular movie nights. However, if you want to screen a movie for a one-off event, you can hire the whole system on the Northern Beaches.
Want more ideas for Northern Beaches al fresco living?
To find out more about these developments and how they might affect the sale or rental of your property, please give the JDH team a call.