MORE and more people are living in backyards. Usually it’s their own backyards but depending on rent and which shady character is chasing them, a neighbour’s or stranger's sometimes will suffice.
The term “living in the backyard” really means spending more and more time in the outdoor area (generally at the rear of the house, thus being called the “back” yard).
There have been several trends toward creating more practical outdoor rooms. Some celebrities have even launched entire magazines about it.
(My own magazine on the theme, The Outdoor Area, only ran three issues and was unfortunately shut down prior to the fourth issue due to a legal dispute over the front cover image. I still maintain however that if a certain gardening celebrity wants to post semi-naked photos of himself doing handstands in his own backyard on the internet, then they are asking for trouble.)
Product manufacturers have come up with a heap of homewares that are suited to outdoors.
Things such as outdoor furniture, day beds, waterproof speakers and bidets that double as water features, all make life in the fresh air that little more comfortable.
Now that we are well and truly into Spring, there will be more and more people embracing the sunshine and spending less time in the suffocating, nightmarish melancholy, skin-colour-depleting, cesspool of domestic corruption that is indoor life.
So what are some of the latest outdoor living trends likely to hit Aussie backyards harder than a Gold Coast nightclub security guard?
Well here are my predictions about what’s going to be “in” for being “out”:
Some pool owners have an outside shower for swimmers to wash the chlorine off. This concept will be taken one step further with bathtubs and adjustable shower roses to be housed by the hedges up the back. Imagine a lattice screen door covered in ivy for the discrete bather, or simply a solar heated camping shower slung from the branch of the jacaranda, in full view. It’s all right- we’re all friends in the backyard.
Staring at four walls can stifle creativity when working from home. Sure as eggs we’ll soon see home offices move outside. A rustic wooden desk set amongst the poppies and irises would co-ordinate nicely with the flashing lights of a broadband modem and wireless router. Forward thinkers will extend the desk to include a potting bench at one end. One minute you’re frantically “opting out” as the Nasdaq spirals down uncontrollably, the next you’re giving a new home to that neglected maiden hair fern.
Who says the linen cupboard has to be in the hallway or crammed into the laundry? Nothing will make you appreciate your garden more than having to stroll out to the moss-covered storage unit up the backyard for a towel, particularly when you’ve got shampoo in your eyes.
Imagine this- you can’t enter the house without going through the garden. Usually an entry hall provides a statement to a home and is a good place to shove that awkward “Welcome” statue your mum bought you from the last Homeart sale. The next big thing will be walking into the front yard, with no front door visible, only to be funnelled through a hedge maze that weaves down the sides and around the back, passing the garden highlights, to eventually enter the kitchen. GPS units should be made available to those with larger lots.
4D Home Theatre
Movie viewing takes on a whole new realm when it’s under the stars, surrounded by trees, with the neighbour’s dog howling (followed by the neighbour himself) at every explosion. Secure that 56 inch flatscreen on the side of the lawn-locker, suspend the surround sound speakers from various branches, drag the futon across the lawn, and you’ve got yourself a theatre under the stars. You can almost feel the rain hitting your face during Jurassic Park… before realising the automatic sprinkler system has turned on.
Yep, there is no reason to remain inside any more. Why not be a trendsetter and begin taking your rooms outside.
Tip of the Month
Train your dog to retrieve mouthfuls of pebbles from neighbours’ yards. Over a few years, you’ll have landscaped your own garden. Easy done!
Want more great* gardening tips? Follow Gherkin on Twitter @GherkinJarvis
* May or may not always be great.