The Block 2020: Last Year’s Contestants’ Garden Reno Tips

The Block 2020: Last Year’s Contestants’ Garden Reno Tips

We’re into the final weeks for our Blockheads. The last piece of the puzzle is the back garden and pool — a classic staple of the Aussie household. As grass edges are tidied and tiles frantically laid, last year’s contestants provided some advice for creating the best outdoor spaces.

Love your space

If you don’t love your backyard, you won’t use it. That’s the decisive advice from El’ise and Matt; “create a space that you’re proud to entertain and relax in alone and with guests. If you aren’t [proud], you’ll never use it.” 

You’ve got a lot of freedom with the design of your outside spaces, but the duo suggested bringing through elements of your home’s style to create a sense of continuity.

“We wanted the rooftop and terrace to be an extensions of the home, so we knew it had to have the same vibe and warmth as the other rooms.”

The wood in this Erakala outdoor lounge carries through from the living room inside. (HHH Architects and Ben Clarke's Plumbing, photo by Kath Heke)

Jesse and Mel agreed with El’ise and Matt, saying they tried to keep outdoors “consistent with the choice of materials we used, so they felt like a part of the same home”. The introduction of plants and foliage brings natural elements that can contrast or complement your existing aesthetic.

Don’t forget function

All the contestants we spoke to stressed the importance of keeping outdoor spaces functional.

"We thought about how the space would be used and viewed, and that was how we worked out our design."
Deb & Andy

Outdoor spaces are often for entertaining and relaxing with guests, so Jesse and Mel advised, “when you’re entertaining outside, you don’t want your guests to have to go inside for any reason.” Mitch and Mark agreed. “Our courtyard was not only a visual feature that had to look great — it also had to serve as a functional outdoor living space.”

This outdoor entertaining area features a barbeque and fridge to keep the party going. (HHH Architects and Ben Clarke's Plumbing, photo by Kath Heke)

Clever cultivation

Proper plant choice can be the difference between a thriving, resilient garden and a big disappointment come peak summer season. Mitch and Mark stressed the importance of adapting to the Australian climate; “make your garden low maintenance and drought-friendly.”

Deb and Andy agreed, saying any future renovators should “consider the climate and what plants will thrive in the areas you’re working in”. Adopting a smart irrigation system can also help — learn more in our article about Smart Irrigation with The Block favourite, Dave Franklin.

Ultimately, future renovators should look to merge form and function to create an outdoor space they’re proud of.