For a country with such a wonderful climate, Australia has perhaps been slow to embrace indoor-outdoor living. In recent times though, Australians have taken this concept to heart and the backyard is becoming more than just a place for the kids to kick a footy around. We are increasingly expecting our backyards to be extensions of our homes, with a variety of stylish and functional spaces in which we can live and entertain. Defining these spaces with clever design and judicious use of materials such as pavers, outdoor tiles , and grass is the key to making the most of your outdoor space.

Work out what you want

Before you start how to divide your backyardthink about the functions you want it to perform. Outdoor entertaining areas, kids play areas, swimming pools, flower gardens, veggie patches and sheds are all things you might want to include. Decide what is essential for your backyard, what is desirable, and what you don’t need at all.


Perhaps the most important part of creating a multi dimensional backyard is careful planning. Before you start work on your new backyard it is a good idea to create a plan on paper. Draw up a scale plan of your outdoor space and create and cut out scale drawings of your proposed features. You can then place these cut-out features on your plan and manipulate them to see how they could fit in various configurations.

Exercise restraint

If space is at a premium then it is important to prioritise and avoid trying to cram too much in to your backyard. Far better to have a backyard with two elegant and functional spaces — perhaps an outdoor entertaining area and a kids play area — than one which feels claustrophobic and cluttered with sections that are too small to be of any real use.

Use multiple levels

If you are working with a small outdoor space, creating multiple levels in your flower garden to create the illusion of space. Using raised flowerbeds or creating a terraced garden causes the eye to look vertically as well as horizontally, which has the effect of opening the space up.

Stick to a budget

Creating and sticking to a budget is critical. No matter how stylish your vision is, if you run out of money before it is completed you will end up with a half-finished mess. It is infinitely preferable to have a simple and well executed backyard that doesn’t break the bank. If you are limited by financial constraints, it is still worth thinking about what you would like to do in the future. Perhaps you can’t afford to put in a swimming pool right now, but if you take into account where one might go in the future, you could save yourself a lot of time and upheaval in the long run.

Choose your materials carefully

Using different materials in different parts of your backyard will immediately define its separate areas. Tiles or wooden decking are perfect for entertaining spaces. Sandstone pavers are an alternative and are also ideal for creating pathways to separate grassed areas.