The Outdoor Room: An Essential Australian Living Area

ANZ JanTime for another reprint of an article I wrote for Australia and New Zealand magazine; this one appeared in their January edition.

It was a particularly cold January in the UK with snow, ice, freezing fog and at one point temperatures as low as -12° C. Even daytime temperatures struggled to get above freezing. So, I suspect, those living in the UK weren’t really interested in hearing about…

The Outdoor Room

Right now probably isn’t a good time to mention this to you, what with winter taking grip in the UK. Here in Australia though, with summer in full flow, I can’t think of anything better to talk about; the outdoor room.

When we first arrived in Australia five years ago, the outdoor area of our house was pretty grubby. Red brick tiles on the floor, splatterings of paint covering them, dirty in parts and weeds growing through the cracks.

The tin roof was low making the area dark and dingy, so we stayed indoors. When friends came round, we ate indoors and drank indoors. We weren’t being very “Australian”. Well, we were actually being British.

The longer we lived here though, the more we realised we needed to change our back garden. So we did, and with the help of this picture, let me take you around our new look outdoor area.

The Outdoor RoomStarting on the far right, you can just about see our gas barbecue; that’s where I cook steak, snags and burgers, but never chicken. That’s just one of my little quirks; fear of poisoning the guests.

Moving slightly to the left, you’ll see the outdoor bar ($250 on eBay) complete with bar stalls, four including those on the other side. That’ll be where me and the boys sit, drinking beer, arm wrestling and talking about fishing.

Slightly further left is the outdoor lounge area, that’s where the girls normally sit. No idea what they talk about. When we are eating our meals though, we do all sit together; the deck with the dining table and the shade sail cloth, propped up with a stick, (must fix that one day) is our outdoor dining area.

You can see it behind our traditionally brown and dry summer lawn. The red chiminea is for “winter”; if it gets a bit nippy I’ll burn some wood to take the chill out of the air. Hidden from view behind the bar, next to the stereo system you also can’t see, is an outdoor gas heater in case I can’t be bothered to fetch any wood.

At the back is the pool area, that’s where you’ll find the kids, even after dark during the summer. If they’re not there, they might be on the trampoline. Can’t see the trampoline? It’s behind you! Okay, sometimes they do go indoors to play, but we don’t! This is outdoor living and its how we now always throw a dinner party or just a get-together here in Brisbane.

I’m sure it’s the same all around Australia.

We did as much as we could ourselves to keep the budget down, so it took some time to get our garden to look like this. You wouldn’t get a small loft conversion done for the same money though, and we now effectively have a 4 roomed outside area.

I know which I prefer.

I still have a couple of things I’d like to do to finish off; a TV on the wall behind the bar so we can watch the football, and maybe an outdoor fridge to save the long walk for a cold tinnie. But we certainly won’t be taking our party’s indoors again; an outdoor do is just so much more fun.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Alexander September 24, 2014, 6:08 pm | Link

    It’s ok if the climate is dry all year round. Otherwise it is not, no ventilation, no air circulation. The floor and corners might go black with some undersirable fungi fond of wet spots. How about your place, Bob?

    • BobinOz September 25, 2014, 6:18 pm | Link

      No problems at my place, no problems with ventilation, no problems with air circulation, no wet spots or fungi, nobody I know has these problems either.

  • Alexander September 23, 2014, 5:07 pm | Link

    The house looked awkward to me first. Then I noticed that it stands on the ground. Don’t they use foundations

    • BobinOz September 23, 2014, 7:23 pm | Link

      No, many of our houses are built on a huge concrete slab.

      • Alexander September 23, 2014, 7:35 pm | Link

        Any picture of that?

  • Valter Russo August 6, 2013, 11:53 am | Link

    Hi there Bob

    you said ”I never cook chicken. That’s just one of my little quirks; fear of poisoning the guests.”
    is there any problem with the chickens down under? in Europe we got the H5N1, bird flu i guess, it afects you guys there?

    Cumpts
    Valter Russo

    • BobinOz August 6, 2013, 1:24 pm | Link

      Hi Valter

      No, there’s nothing specifically wrong with our chicken, it’s just that generally if chicken is not cooked properly, particularly if there are still traces of blood in the meat, it can give you food poisoning.

      So I stick with sausages and steak.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Michael March 20, 2013, 1:18 am | Link

    So looking forward to this Bob, done the same in the UK (minus the pool) only got to use it twice last year lol.
    2 years left till the wife finishes uni then were on our way!

    P.S. finding youre web site invaluable for the move. top Bob in Oz quote ” never turn down an invatation”

    • BobinOz March 20, 2013, 2:43 pm | Link

      Thanks Michael, glad you are enjoying the website. No, the outdoor room doesn’t much work in the UK, does it? 🙂

  • tanya March 6, 2013, 8:22 pm | Link

    Beautiful, so jealous wish it was us living the high life! Hoping our dream will also come true one day very soon. x

    • BobinOz March 6, 2013, 10:06 pm | Link

      I hope your dream comes true soon too Tanya.

      Cheers

      Bob

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