Research reveals what Aussies want from their outdoor living space

THE CHILL ZONE: Our backyard is a place to escape the daily grind. Photo: Shutterstock
THE CHILL ZONE: Our backyard is a place to escape the daily grind. Photo: Shutterstock

The desire for Aussies to utilise outdoor living spaces as a safe and quiet place is growing, according to a new survey by Trex Company.

The research revealed seven in 10 of the Australians surveyed use their outdoor spaces to relax, followed by gardening or growing plants (64 per cent). Nearly half have embraced the popularity of cultivating produce, reporting to use their outdoor space to grow veggies, herbs and fruit.

"While entertaining family and friends and having barbecues are still very much part of the Aussie DNA, we're seeing a growing appreciation for peace and quiet - we're all just after a place to relax," said Rod Schiefelbein, market manager at Trex Australia. "This is also reflected in how we view our outdoor spaces; as a place to get away from work, not to do more work on maintenance and upkeep."

Other survey findings include:

Pools and lawns are out, decks are in

When looking to buy a home, 47 per cent of surveyed Australians wouldn't spend more for one with a pool, though a deck would cause seven in 10 to increase their spending. Nearly two thirds of those surveyed would also prefer a low maintenance deck over a lawn.

"A deck is a really versatile outdoor asset for any type of residence, whether you have young kids, you're retired, or you live by yourself," said Ron. "From entertaining family and friends and reading a book in the shade, to running around with the kids and kicking the ball, a composite deck is ideal for all. When all we want to do is sit down and relax in our outdoor sanctuary, a versatile setting like a deck - which can be soft-furnished for summer or include a fire pit for winter - is a perfect choice."

We're seeing a growing appreciation for peace and quiet.

Rod Schiefelbein, Trex Australia

Low maintenance and good looks

Materials that are low maintenance (69 per cent) and look good (68 per cent) are what Australians seek most when building or renovating an outdoor space.

Two thirds of those surveyed would look forward to their weekends more if their outdoor spaces required less maintenance, while the same percentage believe their outdoor spaces aren't being used to their full potential. This statistic grew for parents living with children under 18, with more than three quarters admitting weekends would be sweeter if they didn't have to spend so much time maintaining their yard.

"For Aussies wanting aesthetically pleasing, low-maintenance outdoor living spaces, the trick is to invest upfront and be careful with your design," said Rod. "Do your research before you start your backyard renovations and see what's going to save time in the long term and let you enjoy your weekend in peace, even if that means spending a few extra dollars in the beginning."

Pet-friendly outdoor spaces

The research also revealed that nearly half of Australians are seeking an outdoor space suitable for pets. Wood-alternate decks create a more pet-friendly outdoor space by eliminating splintering, cracking or rotting boards that can be dangerous terrain for dogs, cats and other animals.

Creating a sanctuary in your own home

With three in five Aussies looking for comfortability when building or renovating an outdoor space, and seven in 10 using their outdoor space most commonly for relaxation, it's evident there's a growing trend toward Australians looking for sanctuary in their own backyards.

To create an outdoor haven, include lots of seating and a shaded area to protect yourself from the elements. Add comfort with interior-inspired accents such as decorative outdoor rugs and cushions, and throw blankets made of weather-resistant materials.

Add personality and colour with low-maintenance flowers and greenery, such as natural plants that require little to no maintenance but freshen your sanctuary. And always have a good read - and a good red - on hand.

This story Research reveals what Aussies want from their outdoor space first appeared on The Canberra Times.