WHEN we think of the traditional Aussie backyard, many of us conjure up images of hot summers, a Hills Hoist, BBQs and a friendly game of cricket.
What we also immediately think of is space.
But, since the late 80s, Australian backyards have been drastically shrinking in size.
Why? The reasons for the shift are diverse.
Our lifestyles have evolved – more of us are working longer and have less time to spend in our yards and on maintenance, but arguably the main driver of change is the ever-increasing cost of land.
Despite the data that indicates backyards are shrinking, a recent research study commissioned by Metricon Homes has revealed that backyard living is still a critical consideration for homeowners in regional Victoria.
Having a backyard rates very highly on their home wish list.
The study shows that people in regional areas are spending more time in their backyards than their urban counterparts.
Metricon Homes’ Manager, Regional North, Tania Tonks says: “The modern Australian backyard might have shrunk – but this doesn’t mean it holds less value for Australians today.
“A backyard is still an important and sentimental part of the Australian lifestyle.”
Tonks explains that customers in regional Victoria often have greater choice over their backyards due to land affordability, but she is quick to point out that even in regional areas, a backyard that delivers on your lifestyle needs doesn’t have to be big.
“A backyard provides significant benefits, regardless of size.
“It provides a pleasant outlook from inside the home, as well as natural ventilation – and that’s even if you never venture into it!”
Just as you plan your home design around your lifestyle, Tonks suggests planning your backyard this way and has some tips for new home builders to consider:
* Zoning – consider what spaces you’ll need and use – i.e. grass and shade for pets, an outdoor room for entertaining, space for outdoor play equipment for kids.
* Maintenance – Will you have time to look after the garden? Think about plants that will thrive without a lot of TLC if you are time-poor.
* Integrated living – many new home designs feature doors that open directly to gardens, or an outdoor room to enhance the integration between indoors and outdoors.
* Local council guidelines – don’t forget to consider water restrictions and planning regulations for any outdoor structures you may want to incorporate.