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Your complete outdoor home renovation guide

Discover how to create the ultimate outdoor living space, including mastering green spaces, landscaping and lighting, outdoor BBQ and dining areas, obtaining council approvals, along with tips for improving the rear façade of your house.
outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Project Floors and Design

The great Australian dream is to own a big house with beautiful amenities, including a stunning outdoor space where you can spend time with family and friends. To make this dream a reality, more and more homeowners are opting to embark on various outdoor home renovation projects. 

If your backyard isn’t up to scratch right now and you want to transform your current space into something more enjoyable, functional and beautiful, continue reading this guide. Here, we discuss everything you need to know about before commencing your outdoor home renovation project. We discuss  simple ways for you to: 

  • create a comfortable and multi-functional outdoor space
  • better utilise the space in your garden
  • add value to your home (in case you are renovating before selling), and  
  • plan and coordinate your upcoming outdoor home renovation project 

Let’s get started!

Image credit: Ascher Smith

5 reasons to renovate your outdoor space

There are many benefits when you renovate your outdoor space. A majority of Superdraft customers have decided to begin an exterior home renovation because:

1. Outdoor spaces extend livable spaces

Nowadays, homeowners strive to have beautiful rooms that extend to the outdoors. Multi-functional indoor-outdoor spaces like these give you and your family more room to grow and improve the quality of life in your home. This space is especially welcomed during times of lockdown.

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Ritz Exterior Design

2. Outdoor spaces are the perfect spot for entertaining

Many Australian families are excited to open their homes and invite their friends and family over for quality time together. When you have a multifunctional and well-designed outdoor space like this, you give your guests more room to explore when they come over. 

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: www.realestate.com.au

3. They want to have a relaxing spot at home

Outdoor spaces are the perfect place to situate your private oasis. Outdoor living rooms with a view of a well-kept landscape like this pulls you in for a serene moment after a busy day. 

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: James D. LaRue and Matt Shoberg via Trendir

4. Spending time outdoors is good for our health

You spend more time outdoors when you have an outdoor space that you adore. Fortunately, spending more time outside is good for us. There is a long list of health benefits including reduced stress, improved memory, lowered blood pressure, better mental health, boosted immune system, and lowered risk of cancer. 

Spending time outdoors and exposing yourself to nature’s beauty rejuvenates the mind and body. If you are renovating a rural home or acreage property with an expansive view, include an indoor-outdoor area with a view of the landscape in your plans.

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Greg Cox and Frank Features via House Beautiful AU

5. Outdoor home renovations can increase your home’s value

Homeowners who are planning to renovate before selling their home opt for an outdoor home renovation to increase their property’s resale value. 

Home buyers right now are looking for a property with functional living spaces and manicured front and backyards. Well-landscaped homes often have a higher market price compared to a property with zero landscaping.

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Maree Homer Photography

Undertaking an outdoor home renovation project yields two major benefits. 

  1. If you are planning to sell your property, these outdoor renovations give the biggest return on your investment.
  2. If you are renovating your forever home, then these outdoor renovations give you spaces that are perfect for hosting parties, family bonding, relaxing after a long day at work, meditation, or enjoying nature.

Are you inspired to start your outdoor home renovation project? Tell us what kind of project you want to do! We can match you to a designer and provide a free design quote.

Alternatively, feel free to save outdoor living designs using your Dreamboard. Saving images here will give us an idea on what you want to do in the future!

outdoor renovation
Image credit: Madeleine Blanchfield Architects

Outdoor home renovation ideas

Unsure which kind of outdoor renovation project to do? Here are some of the most popular outdoor renovation projects done across the country.

Outdoor deck renovation

A deck is great for extending your interior rooms into an outdoor living area. It will give you more space and make your home feel larger. When designed and built right, a deck will tie the two areas together, creating that perfect inside-outside flow. 

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Alspec

There are two types of decks that Australian homeowners opt to build.

1. Freestanding deck

First are freestanding decks or most commonly known as floating or ground-level decks. These are the ones you can easily locate next to your house or anywhere within your yard. Here’s an example of a freestanding deck:

outdoor deck renovation
Image credit: Boston Decks and Porches

2. Fixed deck

On the contrary, attached or fixed decks are more elaborate and complex to build. These are always integrated with the house, helping you achieve that perfect for the indoor-outdoor flow. 

Fixed decks are taller, thus requiring outdoor stairs or a ramp as shown below:

outdoor deck renovation
Image credit: Chris Klar Architects

Common materials used to build or renovate a deck

Homeowners across Australia opt for decks made from any of the following:

Hardwood

outdoor deck design
Image credit: Superdraft

Treated Pine

Image credit: Ann Arbor Decks

Composite Decking

Image credit: Ar. Stuart Sampley

Hardwoods 

  • Jarrah, Spotted Gum, Silvertop Ash, and Merbau timber are great options for decks.
  • These local hardwoods are extremely durable, resilient, and stylish. These look, feel, and smell great. 
  • With proper care and maintenance, hardwood decks will last for many years.
  • More affordable than composite decking, costs a bit more than decks made from treated pine.
deck design
Image credit: Outlast Australia

Treated pine 

  • The most affordable material to build a deck, making it the most cost-effective choice for huge decks and budget-friendly outdoor home renovation projects.
  • Made from Radiata Pine, pressure-treated to withstand the elements, halt decay, inhibit fungi growth, and prevent termites.
  • The material is easy to work with, lightweight, and versatile. Stain or paint the treated pine deck to achieve your desired look. 
  • Must be oiled annually to preserve its beauty.
pool deck outdoor entertainment
Image credit: Mashable

Composite decking

  • A great alternative to hardwood or real timber decking.
  • Manufactured from a mix of wood fibres and recycled plastic. The end product is highly weather-resistant and extremely low maintenance. 
  • It is more durable than natural timber decks. It won’t fade, warp, rot, or splinter. 
  • There is no need for oiling and staining. Clean using the recommended composite deck cleaner.
  • Comes in a wide variety of timber looks such as Jarrah, Silver Gum, Highland Oak, etc.
  • Often the most expensive option, but worth it because of its features. 
  • Composite decking can look faux and lack the beauty of real wood. 
  • Darker shades can be very hot underfoot
pool deck island
Image credit: Freshplace

Most homeowners decide to build a deck as part of a bigger home renovation project. 

If you are planning to renovate and build a deck too, find and coordinate all the design and construction professionals you need using Dreamspace’s project coordination app. 

Register here for free.

indoor-outdoor deck design
Image credit: Buechel Stone

Outdoor patio renovation

Aside from decks, building and renovating patios to create indoor-outdoor spaces is a very popular type of exterior home renovation in Australia.
Patios are typically flush with the level of the ground, often made from concrete or stone pavers, tiles, concrete slabs, or other durable hard surfaces. 

To maximise the space, renovators often incorporate these special features into their patio designs:

  • outdoor lounge or entertaining area
  • outdoor dining
  • built-in bbq
  • outdoor kitchen

A patio design like this is a true extension of your home.

coastal outdoor kitchen
Image credit: Unique Designs Australia

Outdoor kitchens and BBQ areas

Recently, there is an increase in requests for custom-made outdoor kitchens and BBQ areas. Homeowners want an outdoor kitchen and barbie that’s as convenient as an indoor kitchen.  

If building an outdoor kitchen like this is a part of your renovation plans, establish the following before proceeding with any work:

  • Establish how much space you want for your outdoor kitchen and bbq area.
  • List down your dream inclusions or the special features that you would like to have here.
  • Set up a budget for your plans. Dreamspace offers a build cost estimate tool can help you establish a realistic budget.

From here, you are ready to move forward to the design consultation and initial planning process. 

Get started on your outdoor home renovation project today.

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Project Floors and Design

Furnishing your indoor-outdoor kitchen and bbq area

Plan and furnish your outdoor kitchen and bbq area based on how you want to use it. 

If you want more space for accommodating and entertaining guests, design your alfresco with convenience and relaxation in mind. Be mindful of the layout of the lounge and dining areas to help you stay connected with your guests.

If you simply want to have a second or an alternative cooking space, equip your outdoor kitchen with the similar amenities found in your main kitchen such as:

  • Adequate bench space for food preparation
  • Bar area with stools for additional seating
  • Mini fridge for storing cool drinks and wine
  • Kitchen sink for keeping the space clean and tidy
  • Dishwasher for washing dirty dishes, pots, pans, cooking and eating utensils
  • Waterproof storage with special inserts for organising kitchen essentials
  • Stove, grill, and BBQ with a range hood for keeping the smoke out
kitchen outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Ceasarstone

Cost of building a functional outdoor BBQ kitchen

The final cost of an outdoor bbq kitchen can cost anywhere between $15,000 to $43,000+. There are a lot of factors that bump the price up; it’s best to establish your budget from the onset and design to budget to avoid breaking the bank.

outdoor home renovation fireplace
Image credit: Bower Architecture

Outdoor fireplace renovation

Warm features such as an outdoor fireplace or a firepit are a beautiful addition to your outdoor living area. These add comfort and dress up your backyard. 

For a more permanent set up, include a fireplace in your renovation plans. You can opt for a custom-designed fireplace or purchase directly from the manufacturers. Check out this cosy outdoor living room with one: 

outdoor living fireplace
Image credit: Beach Stove and Fireplace

With a fireplace, you can contain the flames and distribute the heat not only in your outdoor space but also in the adjacent rooms. This way, the other spaces benefit from the warmth the fireplace provides. 

outdoor fireplace
Image credit: Kindesign

Fire pits, on the other hand, hold an open fire and provide a reasonable amount of heat around it. These help you create a cosy and relaxing atmosphere. 

Here’s an outdoor space with a fire pit that’s designed for toasting marshmallows and huddling around the fire:

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Stahl Firepit Australia

There are many kinds of fireplaces and fire pits available in the market today. Here are the types, depending on the fuel used:

  • wood burning
  • propane burning
  • ethanol burning
  • electric

Fireplaces and fire pits are also categorised depending on the materials used  . Here are the most common building materials used to build a fireplace or fire pit:

  • brick
  • stone
  • metal (e.g. cast iron and steel)
  • stucco
  • concrete
deck with firepit
Image credit: Connollys’ Dish Outdoor Fire Pit

Working with a local building designer who’s knowledgeable about the building codes and council regulations is crucial when planning to build an outdoor space with a fireplace or fire pit. The regulations vary per state. Check with your local council or visit the websites we’ve compiled below for each state:

  1. New South Wales
  2. Victoria
  3. Tasmania  
  4. Western Australia
  5. South Australia
  6. Queensland
  7. Northern Territory

Your local council also dictates the fireplace or fire pit design and the fuel that you plan to use. It is important to check local code regulations before drafting the working drawings. 

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Domain Australia

If you are certain that you want to build an outdoor entertaining area with a fireplace or fire pit as part of your renovation, remember these tips:

  • Plan the layout of your outdoor space to finalise the position of your fireplace or fire pit.  These often become the focal point of the space. Position the fire feature on a spot that’s relaxing and quiet; ideally surrounded by comfortable seating or near the dining area. 
  • Use the fire feature to get the style that you want to achieve. Fire pits and fireplaces come in many shapes, styles, sizes, and are made using a wide variety of building materials. Go for a design that suits the look and feel of your outdoor space.
outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Homebuyers Centre WA
  • Prioritise safety and comfort. Smoke is the number one concern with fire pits and fireplaces. With proper ventilation, you prevent smoke from entering your house and your neighbours’ properties. Keep it away from flammable vegetation and structures to avoid fire incidents. 
  • Design with functionality and convenience in mind. Fireplaces and firepits make outdoor entertainment areas ready for relaxing and entertaining. Surround it with design elements and furniture pieces that set the same vibe. 
outdoor home renovation pool

Outdoor pool renovation

The pool is a quintessential element of outdoor entertaining spaces. Many Australian families love swimming; it’s a fun activity on a hot day and a great way to bond with the whole family.

If you are looking to build or renovate a backyard with a pool, remember the following tips: 

  • Autumn and winter seasons are the best times to start planning your outdoor home and pool renovation. Following this timeline, construction will start in spring, leaving you enough time to finish the project before summer. Plus the professionals you need to hire always offer great discounts on their services during these times. 
outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Apex Pools
  • Work with a building designer who knows the swimming pool and fencing regulations in your area. Regulations vary in each state. Comply with the regulations to avoid troubles and delays.
  • It is possible to fit a pool in compact backyards. There are so many small but clever pool designs which you can use as inspiration. Seek the help of a designer for this kind of project. 
  • Budget is the number one concern when building or renovating a pool. Apart from the hefty upfront costs, you also need to consider the pool’s maintenance. Your pool budget also dictates what kind of pool you can have, how big it is, the materials used to build it, and the look of the landscaping and hardscaping around it.
pool backyard
Image credit: Courts and Pools Australia
  • Always choose a non-slip underfoot paver around the pool to avoid accidents. Secure the pool area using glass fences too!
  • Give your pool area a resort-like vibe when you build an outdoor shower nearby. Outdoor showers are common in beachfront houses, and these are pretty convenient additions to homes with pools. If you are planning an outdoor shower, make sure that it allows you to rinse, dry, and dress outdoors privately.
outdoor shower
Image credit: Architecture Designs

Other outdoor backyard renovation projects to consider

To complete the look of your outdoor home renovation, consider the following projects: 

  • Repaint your home’s exterior facade

A fresh lick of paint can take your house from drab to fab. Monochrome, neutrals, earth tones, and pastels are some of the most popular choices of homeowners.

Choose a colour palette that suits your home’s architecture and matches your neighbourhood. The right exterior paint will make your home look stunning without overpowering the adjacent structures.  

In addition, choose a high-quality exterior paint that can withstand the country’s harsh climate and protect it from the elements. The right paint extends the lifespan of the house.

paint exterior home renovation
Image credit: Resene
  • Update your home’s cladding  

When choosing an exterior wall cladding material, opt for the one that boosts your property’s kerb appeal, transforms its overall aesthetic, safeguards the house against structural deterioration, and extends the life of the house. 

Here are the popular exterior cladding options here in Australia: 

  1. Brick Wall Cladding
  2. Timber Clad Houses and Wall Cladding
  3. Manufactured brick tiles
  4. Fibre Cement Wall Cladding
  5. Aluminium Architectural Cladding
  6. Hardwood Fibreboard Cladding
  7. Vinyl Wall Cladding
  8. Prefinished Fibre Cement Panels
  9. Natural Stone Cladding
  10. Metal Cladding: COLORBOND steel cladding
Renovate your shipping container home
Image credit: www.containerhacker.com
  • Install  a new gate and fence

A new fence is a lovely home improvement that improves curb appeal while also providing an additional level of security to your home. The cost to install a fence and gate will depend on the type of fencing you purchase and whether it’s professionally installed. 

Remember to check the fencing regulations in your area through your local council. You also need to consult your neighbour before putting up a new fence. In some cases, you’ll need a new land survey before you can build one to confirm the boundary line and levels. This will be dependent on if you have existing site plans or not.

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Brickworks
  • Install a refreshing water feature

Backyard water features create a calming and relaxing vibe in your outdoor space. You have so many options now, with a solution for both small and large gardens.

  • Build a garden structure such as a pergola, shed, gazebo, arbor, or trellis where needed

Choose to build functional garden structures in a spot that you’ll love spending time in.

patio outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Stratco
  • Ensure that your outdoor spaces are well-lit to ensure safety and relaxation 

There are so many clever ways to light up the exterior of a building and  illuminate outdoor entertainment spaces after sun down. Work with a designer who has knowledge of lighting design and get recommendations and inputs from them before shopping for lights.

How much would my outdoor renovation cost?

Depending on the scope of work and the size of your space, it can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 to improve the outside of your property. This will depend on whether you need to paint the house externally and how large your garden area is. If you’re thinking of a pool as well, this could cost up to $100,000+.

outdoor home renovation
Image credit: Alspec

Worried about embarking on a backyard reno? Use Dreamspace’s  project coordination platform for your upcoming outdoor renovation project. From one simple dashboard we make it super easy to:  

  • Plan a successful outdoor renovation
  • Find inspiration
  • Monitor the progress of your project
  • Coordinate with the professionals onboard
  • Get quotes 
  • Manage your project from design through to build.

Sign up here.

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