New Year, New Home Exterior
Time spent at home over the Christmas period is wonderful but reminds you of all the renovations you want and need to do in and around the house. That typically means that when the New Year draws in, homeowners start to plan their new projects.
Researching, planning, budgeting and getting quotes is probably the best task to complete during the dull, grey months of January and February. And the focus for this year has to be on low maintenance living.
Ecoscape has done all the hard work regarding researching ideas for people who are attempting to tackle their exterior this year – especially for those who are looking for low maintenance, durable and long-lasting solutions. Solutions such as contemporary composite decking, composite cladding and artificial grass. So, keep on reading to get tips and inspiration on how to boss a ‘New Year, New Home’ research project.
It’s all about the Research.
The exterior of a home is likely to be the last project on the list unless spending time outside is a major priority for your 2019 summer. The problem is, it’s a big, old job. That’s why it’s essential to spend quite a bit of time on research.
Searching through magazines, looking at online case studies, finding relevant blogs and reading reviews is honestly a real mood enhancer on a gloomy and cold January evening. Even more so when the pictures show plants in full bloom, barbeques and blue skies. Like searching for a holiday, it brings a little joy.
What’s the purpose?
When the purpose of a new and improved garden is to gain a low maintenance solution for enjoyment without upkeep, we advise looking out for terms such as:
- Contemporary Composite Decking
- Long Lasting Composite Cladding
- Easy to Maintain Composite Screening
- Realistic Artificial Grass
These types of hard landscaping products will remove the hassles of traditional landscaping materials and offer a stylish, durable and affordable option. Some materials, such as Ecoscape’s Forma and Clarity composite decking and cladding boards, are also eco-friendly, upcycling woods and plastics to create a brand new product that is guaranteed to last at least 25 years.
Find Case Study Images
Why not start the research process right here? We’ve combined a few of our favourite decking, cladding and artificial grass design projects to get the imagination juices flowing.
The multi-purpose decking area
This Ecoscape project required a decking space that looked out across the vast garden and surrounding open landscapes. The customer selected the Forma Decking Board in Industry to compliment the house exterior. The high traffic area is used for barbequing, dining and relaxing. Thankfully, the Forma range is extremely hardwearing and stain resistant, with very little maintenance required.
Sunken Decking Design
The dark shades of the Ecoscape Clarity decking board in Walnut make a beautiful contrast against the lush, green lawn. It also creates a practical, yet a stylish sunken area that is suitable for relaxing and entertaining when the sun does appear from behind the clouds. The added LED lights, which were also supplied by Ecoscape, allows the entertaining to continue into the evening too. However, the best reason for using composite decking as opposed to traditional wooden boards is that this rich, deep Walnut colour will not flake, fade or require an annual re-varnish. Durability and low maintenance are key to this project.
The Two-Tone Design
It looks like the grey trend for exteriors is here to stay, and this project is an excellent example of how to mix up the colour options to create a unique decking design. The project includes Ecoscape Forma in Argent with a double border in Flint. The design works perfectly with the rattan furniture to create a multi-purpose entertaining area that looks out across the rest of the garden. The Forma composite decking board is double sided with a traditional grove one way, and a grain finish on the opposite side. Using the Argent in a diagonal position, applying the grain finish, creates a contemporary decking design that suits its surroundings.
Durable & Stylish Screening
Traditional wooden fence panels look amazing at first, but after one lousy winter season, they soon look tired and require a repaint. Not everyone has the time to complete an annual painting session, which is where composite fencing panels come into their own. This Chestnut Screening is constructed using multipurpose Clarity composite boards. There are four sizes available in the multi-purpose boards, with this example using a 90mm x 10mm profile with no gaps. Again, the colour will last for years, which means our client can enjoy a fuss-free summer, and the bang-up-to-date design will give this home curb appeal for years to come.
The Garden House
We love our example of a recent cladding project, demonstrating that you can use composite cladding to create an outbuilding that compliments its natural surroundings. In this case, the cladding in Havana uses boards formed from recycled timber and recycled plastic. The colour technology used on our composite cladding boards allows the product to retain its vibrant colour. The boards will not grey over time, allowing our customer to enjoy their outbuilding rather than regularly maintain it.
The cladding is based on Ecoscape’s Forma, which provides a smooth finish and the easy to install fixing clips allows for air flow between the cladding and the walls. The clients are delighted with the low maintenance, modern finish.
Which of these will you add to your mood board?
Whatever you picked is now the beginnings of your brand new mood board. But why should you create one? Well, gardens are now expected to be an extension of our living space no matter the size or scope available. It is mainly thanks to the influx of bi-fold door installations that allow you to bring the outdoors in and vice a versa. It suggests that gardens should be treated just like interior design, especially as it’s now so easy to add colour, texture, different materials and outdoor friendly furniture and soft furnishings to the mix.
According to Bustle, mood boards can improve your life, from making you more creative to help you plan a project.
A mood board doesn’t have to be something extraordinary, but collating ideas together in a digital format with Pinterest, or just printing, cutting and sticking, will highlight these key design factors:
1. Design style
2. Preferred colours
3. Must have elements, such as dining space, play area, storage
4. Favoured materials
What is needed to create a mood board? Real-life examples
The ‘20 pro tips for creating inspirational mood boards’ from Creative Bloq (Source: https://www.creativebloq.com/graphic-design/mood-boards-812470) advises looking beyond the digital world for inspiration. For instance, taking photos when you are out and about.
Don’t be afraid to stop and photo a home exterior that you admire, or a plant that really stands out. Yes, a Google image search is great at getting you started, but real life inspiration is just as important.
Give it a title
Another tip is to give you mood board a meaning, or a title. The DIY Mommy created a lovely mood board for her patio design, calling it the Modern French Country Patio. As you can see, she incorporated furniture, colours, soft furnishings and accessories, providing an overall vision of her ideal end finish, but it all centred on the emotion of creating a French Country Patio. Source, https://thediymommy.com/mood-board-modern-french-country-patio/
Centre it around one main image
Pick a primary image to build around is another piece of advice. This example of an artificial grass garden is a great starter image. It has a clear design style of clean, square lines, has a high contrast of colours, using a combination of deep green, creamy whites and light grey. It also highlights distinct areas, with a car parking area and bedding plants that catch the eye. From pick specific materials that could be included in the design.
- Ecoscape New Zealand Green Artificial Grass
- Charcoal Clarity Multipurpose Composite Screening
- Contemporary Spike Light for the footpaths
[Queens Town (40mm)] [Charcoal Clarity Multipurpose Composite] [Contemporary Spike Light]
Slowly building up a picture helps create an overall vision - and you can’t beat an end vision to get you motivated.
Next stop, planning
According to Ideal Home, “few outdoor schemes are complete without some form of hard landscaping” and getting that right without experience is a tall order. This article goes into great detail about how to plan a garden design and is well worth a read. In terms of planning, the best time to redesign an exterior is during the winter months when plants and trees are dormant due to the cold temperatures. It also gives people an opportunity to complete the project and enjoy it throughout the summer months.
And although a mood board creates an idea of the end vision, the planning stage involves all the practicalities. It’s the time to consider house style, the garden size and how far a budget will stretch.
Questions to ask, include:
- Does your mood board vision fit with the style of your home?
- How much time are you willing to spend managing the space from planting and pruning to maintaining decking or fencing and even consider if you want to mow a lawn every other week
- Do you need to obtain planning permission?
- Do you need to discuss your plans with your neighbours?
At this stage, it is essential to consider all the options. Will it be a DIY project, or is hiring a landscaper a better option? Either way, time is required to source and order materials, and allocate time for all the prep work that may be necessary. Naturally, late winter, into spring is a busy time for landscapers, which means booking them in early. We suggest getting quotes as quickly as possible.
New Year, New Exterior
We hope that this advice on planning kickstarts your new year renovations. Free samples are available of Ecoscape’s range of composite decking, cladding and artificial grass, simply fill in the form here. We are also on the other end of the phone if you have any questions. Good luck in your exterior design projects.