Transform Outdoor Spaces And Add Value

Celebrity renovator Cherie Barber reveals how to add value by improving entertaining areas and backyards.

Transform Outdoor Spaces And Add Value

Landscaping needs to be part of your plan from the get-go. The main reason to get started with the gardening is that it needs time to settle, which can happen while you get on with your interiors.

A lush lawn is the gold standard in real estate land, but don’t let big-booted tradespeople trample on your hard-laid work. Get some do-not-cross tape and mark the areas not to be walked on.

Your plant selection should be tied to the style of your home. There are cottage plants and modern plants.

Cottages and weatherboard homes look great with soft heritage-style plants such as murrayas, rosemary bushes, lavenders and camellias. For modern places, think cordylines, succulents, yakkas and a whole lot more.

Timber sleepers are my number one landscaping go-to for garden beds on a budget. Install them on their edge, not flat, to add bulk and scale to your property.

They come in treated pine, so you can spray-paint them the same colour as your house trims to make external colours work together beautifully.

If your budget allows, merbau sleepers look a treat, especially if you’ve used merbau timber elsewhere on your facade.

Deck the front yard - Before
Deck the front yard - Before
Cherie Barber

This home was pretty cute already, but its awkward angles required some real strategic thought on my part.

Best part of all, I had a big budget of $80,000 to play with. Jackpot!

This meant I could move from budget to beautiful and take this facade to the next level.

This reno took me a month to complete, but what a transformation! It looks like a completely different house.

Raised, multi-tiered, rendered-brick garden beds featuring exotic tropical plants and merbau decking edged with merbau and wire balustrade make the space inviting and visually appealing.

I added a stone feature wall at the entry for wow factor, and a set of bifold doors encourages people to wander outside. This is one of my favourites.

Sometimes I amaze myself. Other days, not so much.

Deck the front yard - After
Deck the front yard - After
Cherie Barber

A merbau deck provides an outdoor entertaining area with wow factor.

Make a connection - Before
Make a connection - Before
Cherie Barber

A double deck on this house, what a bonus! While it’s all structurally fine, everything screams dowdy and drab.

There is almost no connection between the inside and the outside, and all that green shade cloth isn’t making me green with envy.

The alfresco sitting area is a comedy show in itself, and the lacklustre shade sail looks like it could fall down at any moment.

There was so much junk in this yard, it was incredible. It required a lot of hard work to clear this mess, but the result was well worth it.

I removed one of the porch balustrades and got my carpenter to build some timber steps that now create an easy flow between the inside and the yard outside.

Lush green grass and plants make this an inviting and usable space.

The biggest expense in this rear transformation was the addition of structural bifold doors. That zapped $15,000 out of my budget.

But there was very little expense for everything else. I simply dragged out my trusty spray gun and painted the pergola roof, balustrade and house exterior, then I painted the old brown pavers with a paint roller.

My carpenter added stairs to lead people down into the yard. My tenants now love this part of the house.

Never underestimate the power of good landscaping.

This house shows just how an unkempt garden is a waste of prime real estate.

Make a connection - After
Make a connection - After
Cherie Barber

Bifold doors and steps from the deck link the indoors with the outdoors.

Waging war on weeds - Before
Waging war on weeds - Before
Cherie Barber

Before your renovation starts, stockpile your newspapers. It’s the poor man’s, or as I like to call it, the soon-to-be-rich renovator’s best gardening weapon for weed matting on a budget.

Once you’ve popped your plants into the garden beds, completely cover the soil with newspaper.

Then put your woodchips, mulch or pebbles on top of your newspaper.

This stops weeds growing in your garden bed. There, you just got your weekends back.

Waging war on weeds - After
Waging war on weeds - After
Cherie Barber

A large lush lawn turns this backyard into a welcoming and functional space.

Designer deck - Before
Designer deck - Before
Cherie Barber

If you’ve got a balcony, add a small table, a couple of chairs, cushions and a few decorative ornaments.

This is such a beautiful way to set the scene, especially if you’re planning to sell.

It’s a space that people can see themselves in and it also heightens the sanctuary element of your home, which helps people make that all-important emotional connection to your place.

Even something like a gorgeous potted urn by your front door can make a world of difference.

Designer deck - After
Designer deck - After
Cherie Barber

Modern and colourful outdoor furniture and accessories add instant warmth.

Backyard reno on a budget - Before
Backyard reno on a budget - Before
Cherie Barber

A mangled lawn, a path to nowhere and a creepy old, rapidly dilapidating shed – who would want to spend time in this backyard?

Everything looks very neglected and in need of repair. It’s certainly not somewhere I’d want to have a barbecue or let kids play.

This was a low-budget reno, so I added a simple timber deck to help people transition from the inside to the outside. It also creates a neat area for entertaining and relaxing outdoors.

We also demolished the shed out the back, which wasn’t going to last too much longer anyway.

The backyard now looks so much bigger. New turf and the freshly spray-painted fences help make this home’s outdoor area great again.

Backyard reno on a budget - After
Backyard reno on a budget - After
Cherie Barber

Installing a deck, painting the fences and laying new turf transform this yard.

 
Vote It Up: