The early colonists brought with them architectural styles more suited to colder European climates than to Australia. It wasn’t long before building styles started adapting to the balmier Australian weather conditions. The Queenslander style, with its wide, shaded verandah, was one of the first uniquely Australian innovations. Over time, outdoor structures with distinctly Mediterranean names and features started appearing in Australian backyards.
The modern patio
‘Patio’ is a Spanish word that originally signified an inner courtyard. Over time, the word has evolved to describe any paved outdoor area attached to or adjoining the house. For decades, the typical Australian patio was a simple structure for occasional use only.
The increasing demand for incorporating passive home design principles into architecture has made us rethink the humble patio. Today, architects and renovators are making the patio an indoor-outdoor extension of the house. With the addition of retractable screens, bifold doors and windows, or both, a roofed patio can be opened wide, semi-enclosed or fully enclosed to suit all weather conditions.
No one is sure of the origin of the word, but the gazebo is another outdoor structure that originated in the southern Mediterranean. Australians have been installing gazebos for decades and, like the patio, today they are becoming larger and more useful. Instead of being a small shade structure, the gazebo can be an outdoor kitchen and dining area, a detached living area, a spa room, or whatever else you want it to be.
Why outdoor structures add value
We can no longer count on the value of our property to steadily rise. It may rise, but prices might also remain flat or even decline. If you have equity in your home, you may be tempted to use it on that home extension you’ve always wanted. On the other hand, a full extension can be a risky investment, taking too much of a chunk of your equity and leaving you vulnerable to the vagaries of the property market.
An outdoor structure is a solid investment for several reasons.
- It can be less expensive than a home extension, taking a smaller bite out of your budget or home equity.
- Outdoor structures are in demand by home buyers.
- A well-designed, functional outdoor structure adds more value to your home than its cost.
- Passive designs save on energy costs.
Most importantly, an outdoor structure adds value to your lifestyle, enabling you to make the most of your property’s indoor and outdoor areas. Wouldn’t you rather be able to fully enjoy all of your property rather than just look at the view from indoors?
courtesy of Rob Schneider @Domain