Time 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.
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.