PROPERTY NEWS - One of the things we've all come to appreciate more in the past year is any opportunity to get outside and into the fresh air, and that it's really worth making the most of any outdoor space you have, whether it's a large garden or just a small patio or balcony.
And an added benefit of doing so, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, is that it will definitely increase the appeal of your home for any potential buyers.
Everitt gives some easy ideas for getting the most out of your own little piece of nature:
There's nothing quite like a traditional SA braai to inspire lingering outdoor evenings, but a rusty old grill or kettle braai can put a real damper on things, so you may want to invest in a new one.
Similarly, if you eat many meals outdoors, it's worth spending money on an attractive table and comfortable chairs, and maybe some permanent shade or shelter options. And after that, why not steadily add some little luxuries that will turn this area into a fully fledged outdoor kitchen - like a prep sink, a bar fridge, an ice machine, or even a pizza oven?
You can use "indoor" couches, side tables and decor items to turn a covered patio into an extra living space that's a great place to spend summer evenings with friends. Add a patio heater and a few throws and it will become a cozy retreat in winter too.
Create an al fresco dining room
Since the original dining table has now become a home office for so many people, meals are often being eaten in the kitchen or in front of the TV, so your family will really appreciate a separate dining space under a favourite tree in the garden or on the patio, even if you don't have a posh outdoor kitchen.
Set up an outdoor bar
With the world still in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, you may not feel safe going out to your favourite pub, club or cocktail lounge, but you can easily create a new place to enjoy sundowners by setting up an outdoor bar, even if you only have a balcony.
Just repurpose an old table or counter and add some music, good glasses and your favourite drinks to create a relaxing ambience.
Garages and sheds are utilitarian structures, but that doesn't mean they have to be ugly. You can clean or paint any walls that face into the garden and dress them up with murals, flower boxes or pots and lights to turn them into attractive features that increase the enjoyment of your garden.
This will be particularly popular with children and teenagers who can't go out anywhere with their friends at the moment and are probably spending even more time indoors than usual because of homeschooling.
You just need a white sheet or tarpaulin tautly mounted on a flat surface (such as a revamped shed or garage wall), a digital projector and your phone to play the movies or series you want to watch, a picnic blanket or two and some popcorn.
Pick a place in your garden to build a firepit and pitch a tent or two. Add some rustic seating and lighting and once again, you have a winner for any family members that love to go camping but are currently prevented from travelling to their favourite nature reserves and resorts.
Your home has to accommodate many different activities simultaneously at the moment, and it can get very distracting, so why not create a little garden retreat where you can destress or meditate? Just plant lavender and jasmine in a secluded spot, place a bench there and install a small water feature for instant tranquility.
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