Five outdoor trends that add value to your home

Often when we’re buying or building a new home or even undertaking a renovation or extension, we tend to focus on the built structure and indoor living spaces, leaving the outdoor areas as an ‘after thought.’

However, as houses get bigger and outdoor spaces get smaller, Landscape Architect and Director of VERDe Design Group Chris Mahoney states that his role in outdoor design is now more important than ever before.

“We’re seeing a shift towards multi-functional outdoor spaces, as home-owners look to maximise their outdoor spaces for entertaining purposes whilst capitalising on their investment by increasing property values,” Mr Mahoney said.

“There is a perception that spending on landscape architecture is not necessary - but if budgeted for accordingly, investment in professional outdoor design can add a huge amount of value to your home.

“Further, studies have shown that greenery is key to a healthier, happier life – so it’s vital that our homes, where we spend a good portion of our life, incorporate some green outdoor space, no matter how small the space may be.”

So with trends changing as fast as the seasons, what should we be investing in for long-term value and what should we give a miss?

Here, VERDe Design Group Director Chris Mahoney details the top outdoor trends that should be on your home-improvement list:

  1. Water-savvy plants from the past
    Water conscious plants have been seen in residential design for some time, which predominantly stemmed from the drought. However, we’re seeing a shift towards water savvy plants that are rich in colour and texture such as Crassula species, Carissas and Senecio – think of the types of plants you found in your grandma’s garden. They are low maintenance and gentle on the environment, reducing the worry of them dying and having to replace them.
  2. No-mow lawns
    If you’re lucky enough to have a bit of a yard to mow, you probably also dread the up-keep. No-mow lawns are increasingly on the rise and provide the answer to your garden problems – saving you time whilst also saving water, yet still allowing you to enjoy natural greenery unlike artificial varieties. Look to slow-grow options like Zoysia, which need mowing rarely, if ever.
  3. Blur the lines between indoors and outdoors
    Our outdoor areas are often the place where we choose to entertain. Invest in a fantastic outdoor kitchen, pizza oven or barbeque – and some comfortable and quality built-in seating to match. Consider how your indoor areas can seamlessly integrate with your outdoor entertaining space and inject more greenery to your indoor spaces to blur the lines between ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor.’ Choose a leafy indoor variety that enjoys filtered light and position them appropriately.
  4. Space-saving furniture and gardens
    If outdoor space is an issue, make the most of this limitation with multi-use furniture, such as built-in seating that lifts up to double as a storage device for garden equipment or tools. In addition, vertical vegetable gardens or planters can maximise floor space while doubling as plant-able privacy screen from nearby neighbours. My favourite low-maintenance vertical garden varieties for outdoor areas include Philodendron species, Neomarica, and Bromeliads for spot colour.
  5. Year-round warmth 
    When planning your outdoor area, consider how to bring warmth to the space to ensure you can enjoy it all year round. Incorporate inviting, comfortable seating options with the use of timber, and avoid cold materials such as steel and concrete that can be too harsh in winter. Introduce another layer to your furnishing through the use of soft outdoor cushions to add warmth, while an outdoor heater or fire pit can be worth the additional spend in cooler climates.

"Investment in professional outdoor design can add a huge amount of value to your home."