Written by Wendy Ball

Posted in Design

2020 has altered how we live, and for many, where we work. Moving forward, how do we adapt our outdoor spaces to meet our changed needs, so our outdoor areas are responsive to our current lifestyles? The heightened value we now place on our health, relationships and our quality of life motivates us to adapt our outdoor areas as spaces where we can be active, be with our loved ones, or to relax.

Spaces for activity-  Shifting from couch potatoes to growing potatoes!

Do you need something which requires you to tend it, check on its growth, or a project to work on to motivate you to spend time in your outdoor space? You can adapt your current outdoor layout to provide for more purposeful activity.  One idea is to section off a part of the yard to create a functional zone. Another is to create a room within your yard, where you can experiment and play with plants. You might include a small storage shed and a bench for working on. This can be a great place for messy creative projects as well. You might prefer to visualise it as an outdoor studio.

Some wonderful activities are:

  • Growing edible plants
  • Establishing a composting bin, or a worm farm
  • Propagating new plants from cuttings
  • Assembling a succulent planter or hanging frame
  • Creating a new garden bed or installing a raised veggie planter

Spaces for relaxation

We need quiet outdoor spaces to relax in; places which provide a balance to the time we spend indoors, particularly on our digital screens. If you have seating outside, take some time to assess its location. Is it an inviting area or could you move it to a better place? It needs to be appealing and comfortable. When assessing your yard, imagine a location where you could place a seat. Look for a balance between solitude and a space which engages the senses. The preferred option is for a space which is open, but not too exposed. Think of a 3-sided box where you have an ambience of seclusion, but you won’t feel boxed in!

You can use green screens or large pots to increase the privacy to create a sense of seclusion as well. If you are limited for space, create a zone with decorative items and potted plants around you. Creating spaces for R&R in our natural environment are wise investments. Your future self will thank you!   

Spaces for celebration

This year has highlighted the importance of family and friends, and outdoor celebrations are often at the centre of our get-togethers at home. With our plethora of cultures and traditions, there is a rich variety in our celebration styles and equally numerous backyard spaces to inhabit. Take a moment to think what gathering your tribe will look like, and how can you enhance the outdoor area to be a place of fun and engagement. Fun might be in the form of a few camp chairs around a movable firepit, an arbour that will create an outdoor dining area or formalising your lawn to create a green carpet for games.

There may be a backlog of celebrations, or festive gatherings on the horizon! Whatever desires for connecting with your loved one the year has unearthed, utilise the spaces you have, to plan for the next event. The anticipation of joyous occasions and life-giving memories are great motivators.

A goal without a plan is just a wish― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 

Simplicity is the key

Small changes to our yards which expand opportunities for doing, being and connecting will make for a happier 2021. Create a spot in your yard for a new activity; a COVID creation!  Put your energies into making a relaxation nest or envisage wonderful celebrations and build a space for them to happen. I’m hoping you can harness the energy of this new season and together move into a New Year with renewed hope and vigour.

A word from our clients

"Wendy’s garden design has completely changed our lives. She has transformed our garden into an area of peace and relaxation. We now spend hours being outside enjoying the views she has created and also watching the wildlife that now regularly visit. The garden is beautiful whilst being low maintenance and gardening is also now a pleasure rather than a chore."

– Rolly & Kes, Epping North

"Wendy is creative, thorough and really takes the time to understand the client’s needs and is able to transform their ideas into practical and well-suited garden designs. I never hesitate to recommend Wendy’s services to clients. From a contractor’s point of view, I really love working on anything designed by Wendy! Her designs are well thought out, practical, interesting, and achievable! Easy to read, easy to interpret, easy to bring to life!"

– Dan, DSE Landscapes Pty Ltd

“We are delighted to recommend Embrace Landscape Design. Our block presented some particular difficulties, being steeply sloping and rocky. Wendy developed a design that complimented the natural bush setting with attractive planting and architectural elements. Her design worked within our budget and gave us a garden that has continued to grow in beauty since it was established. We have been complimented on its design many times and it has flourished through all weather conditions. Wendy’s advice throughout the process of building our garden was invaluable.”

– Scott & Suzanne Stanton, Menai

"I have had the opportunity to construct four landscape projects designed by Wendy Ball; two residential and two in a commercial setting. They included a combination of soft planting and hard landscape elements such as paved spaces, pergolas and arbours, large shade structures, pathways, water features and private reflective spaces. Wendy‘s creative capacity transformed dull spaces into something very special. As a builder, it was a pleasure to work with a landscape designer who had a pragmatic and flexible approach to resolving the inevitable challenges that arise during construction."

– Peter Cipollone, Builder

"We could not rate Wendy highly enough for her dedication and talent. She has gone above and beyond in designing our new front and backyard and nailed the brief."

– Daniel & Catherine, Illawong

“My wife and I were initially unaware of the council requirements regarding landscape plans. Wendy was very knowledgeable and led us through the whole process. Being able to sit down with Wendy and share our garden dreams proved to actually be fun, and seeing the result on paper really made it come to life.”
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Wendy Ball
32 Grove St Marrickville, NSW 2204
M: 0427 250 030
E: [email protected]

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