Thursday 27 August 2020

Top Tips for Plant Hydration and Maintenance!

With warm weather settling in and plants sprouting new growth, Spring is the time to revitalise your garden 

Today Alyce Rigby, Nylex Product Manager shares her top tips for ensuring your outdoor area is hydrated and well maintained without wasting water this season.

Water for longer, but less often 
Instead of watering plants a little every day, it is more effective to give them a good soak less often, but ensure that soil is saturated and not flooded. To keep your garden hydrated, use the Nylex Flextreme 20m x 12mm Garden Hose (RRP $46.90). It is lightweight and offers unparalleled flexibility, so it can be easily manoeuvred around trees and obstacles. The Flexible Hybrid Polymer inner tube material is lead and BPA free, so it’s safe to water herbs and vegetable patches.

Use Self-Watering Planters
With one in ten Australians living in apartments, self-watering planters have become increasingly popular as they suit limited growing spaces. They encourage healthy root growth and lessen weed problems while giving more control over moisture, sunlight and temperature. The new Nylex Modular Raised Garden Kit (RRP $149), which has a modular design, making it ideal for balcony gardens and renters. Its flexible design allows multiple configuration settings, plus a drip watering system and two-hour mechanical tap timer to ensure no water is wasted.
The kit includes three planters and two legs, making it the perfect size to hold a variety of plants and flowers. Without a permanent fixture, this means users can adjust the kit to their preference and adapt it within a small living space. The kit is UV resistant, meaning it can handle the harsh Australian sun.

Know your soil
It’s important to know the different types of soil and how to maintain them to allow optimum growth for your plants and minimise water use. Soil can develop a hard crust if it becomes too dry, so water will run off the surface. Push a broom handle a few centimetres into the soil to create reservoirs around the plants prior to watering to ensure you reach the roots. If your garden contains a lot of clay, water will filter through slowly, so a deep soak is only needed once a week.

For sandier ground, soak it twice a week. To make watering simple, use the Nylex Oscillating Sprinkler Plus (RRP $32.90). It is an extremely versatile sprinkler with its adjustable flow, length and width so it can suit your watering needs no matter the area you need to water.
2016 Census of Population and Housing

Timing is everything
The optimal time to water plants is early in the morning at the root zone. Wet foliage particularly overnight, can encourage fungal disease and attract insects. Conversely, the middle of the day is the hottest time and water will evaporate before it reaches the root, reducing moisture for plants. An easy way to avoid overwatering is using the Nylex Electronic Tap Timer (RRP $85).
The timer has 16 pre-set programs, one of which is an easy to use AM/PM program that automatically waters at sunrise and sunset – the best time to water!

For more information, on plant hydration and maintenance products and tips, visit

Till next time... get your garden spring ready!

Thursday 20 August 2020

Six Tips To Get Your Backyard Ready For Spring

The weather is warming up, and new life is suddenly everywhere. New leaves, new flowers. It’s enough to encourage most of us to get out into the backyard and start getting it ready for this fresh and hopeful season. To help you spruce up your garden and prepare for spring, take a look at these six handy tips.

Start With A Blank Canvas
One of the most important parts of a spring backyard tidy-up is getting rid of all the clutter and debris that has built-up over winter. Start with the biggest jobs like tree removals, car removal, junk and clearing out any large containers of rubbish amassed during the colder months. Then move on to taking out weeds, drain debris, and any broken or old toys and planters you no longer want.

Complete Any Repairs
Once your backyard is straightened out, it’s a good time to repair anything that has broken over winter. Be meticulous in checking your yard, looking over all areas including:
The irrigation system
Planters and pots
Barbecues/ ovens
Sheds or other storage
Large tools and maintenance appliances
Paving or tiling
Pool or spa

It’s better to repair anything that is broken now so that the yard is safe and beautiful for spring. 

Get Plant Maintenance Started
It’s important to support all the plants in your garden so they can thrive during spring and summer. You’ll want to prune your roses and other shrubs and trees before any buds start to show. Now is also a good time to start fertilising your plants to support their growth during the warmer months. 

Prepare Your Veggie Bed
More than half of all Australians grow some of their own food. It’s a great way to save money, minimise your carbon footprint, and enjoy fresh food that tastes delicious. In spring, you will want to start planting seeds and preparing your vegetable bed for summer crops. Here’s a rough guide to suitable produce for different climates:
Subtropical - Beans, celery, cucumber, eggplant, leek, tomato, beets
Wet & Dry Tropical - Artichoke, celery, cucumber, eggplant, tomato, radish, pumpkin
Dry Inland - Pumpkin, melons, sweetcorn, basil
Temperate - Chives, beans, cabbage, carrot, okra, radish, sweet potato
Cool & Southern - Cauliflower, English spinach, radish, silver beet, turnip, tomato
Mediterranean - Zucchini, apples, pears, tomatoes, parsley

Start Caring For That Luscious Lawn
Spring is the time your lawn will quite literally spring back to life, which means it's time to give it some love and attention now. You will want to clear it, aerate it, take away the weeds, and start a watering schedule. Learning how to properly maintain your lawn will pay off when the warmer weather flows in.

It’s Time To Get Some New Gear
Nearly 65% of Australians own a barbecue, but if you don’t have one yet, spring is the best time to grab one. You might be tempted to buy all the new summer equipment and accessories mid-summer. The problem with doing that is the timing. This is when they cost the most and you’ve already had most of the good barbecuing days pass you by.

Instead, it makes sense to purchase items like furniture, cushions, cooking equipment, and toys in spring. That way, you can pick them up at a better price, and you’ll get the most use out of them.

Using these tips above you can transform your backyard into the perfect backdrop for plenty of memory-making this summer. 

Till next time... get your backyard spring ready!

Friday 14 August 2020

House Envy: From 1950s Surf Shack to Stylish Byron Beach Abode!

Much loved Australian television personality and presenter of The Block, Shelley Craft, embarked on an ambitious project with her husband, Christian Sergiacomi, completely transforming a dated fibro surf shack to a beautiful family home, and delivering the ultimate renovation on a budget in just nine weeks. The unique coastal pad, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Little Blue House’, held true to some of its original elements while completely stripping others.

Pacifico Cottage was built in 1950 and although Shelley is a huge fan of ‘retro’, there is always a level of comfort and modern living that needs to be considered when renovating. So the choice of colour and styling is a nod to mid century design style in 2020.

Colour played a major role in the design of the home, while natural accents helped bring the vision to life. The home was a striking blue colour when Shelley and her husband bought it and they wanted to have some fun this time around, so they’ve chosen to stick with that colour palette but opt for a more subdued blue. The beachside chic colour scheme is complimented internally, where Shelley plays with the pastel colour palette in the bedroom, kitchen, dining area, and special breakout quiet zones.

Taking into account the age of the property, and the fact it was fibro sheeting, Shelley chose wisely when it came to the type of cladding she used to replace the old she gets. To keep the cottage looking as original as possible, they chose to reclad the exterior frame in Cemintel and add the battens to recreate the 1950’s style.

As they had a really limited budget, they were plesantly surprised at the cost effectiveness of the Cemintel cladding. So much so, that they could now afford to do the exterior of the adjacent garage as well, all within budget. Removing old fibro can certainly have the ability to scare people off a renovation project, but knowing that you can reclad your home with a superior product within a tight budget is amazing. 

What is also significant about this particular renovation is the importance of using the right type of building materials internally and how it can drastically impact the livability of a home. According to Shelley, until you start to look into renovating, most people believe all plasterboards are the same. However, they are not. It is therefore essential to think about the long term wearability, liveability and longevity of your hard work when you build or renovate.

According to Shelley, one of the key challenges for Pacifico Cottage was due to it being a small home, with one open plan living area and shared common walls for all bedrooms, there was a significant need to ensure that sound travelling and unwanted noise was reduced as much as possible. Therefore, finding the right plasterboard product that provided the solution to this was imperative, and helped deliver a sense of privacy for everyone residing in the different rooms.

Shelley chose leading plasterboard supplier, Gyprock, for its superior range of plasterboard options for walls, ceilings and wet rooms like the bathroom and laundry, knowing that each product suited the purpose of how the room would be used. From Superceil for the ceilings to Superchek for the walls and Aquachek in the wet areas, Gyprock had the project covered.

Having spent some time in the house now, the use of Superchek plasterboard throughout the house has been one of the decisions having the biggest positive impact on the house for Shelley. Superchek and its sound dampening, acoustic qualities has created a cocoon like feel to the whole home. The density of the sheeting gives an extra sense of strength to the build and a very solid feel to the property, handling bumps and dings much better than the standard.

Throughout the house there is a wonderful brightness, which carries from the bedrooms out to the living areas. Here, Shelley kept the walls clean and white, letting in an abundance of natural light and staying true to the overall Byron aesthetic. In keeping with the overall style, natural timber was added throughout the home and brought particular warmth to rooms such as the dining and living area. These elements came in the form of floors, tables, seating and cabinetry. The use of indoor plants, textured throws and different level seating in the lounge area also added another layer of softness and comfort to the rooms, achieving a highly functional living space for the whole family.

When it comes to Australia’s renovators, Shelley Craft is one of the only people that could pull off such a tight timeline. Thinking outside the box and utilising an array of building skills, Shelley and her husband achieved show-stopping results in this quirky, stylish and vibrant build!

Hope you enjoyed this house envy home tour!

Till next time... think outside the box when it comes to renovating or building!

Thursday 13 August 2020

The Secrets to Modern Scandinavian Barn Style Living

Australia’s love of angular, simple modern design has seen the Scandi Barn style take on a more contemporary look that draws inspiration from traditional Nordic homes, with the addition of sleek finishes and modern materials. In line with modern design, this style is about simplicity, shape and refined palettes. Here, architect and James Hardie Ambassador Joe Snell describes how The Kew House, an Edwardian period property in Victoria, now exemplifies the Australian Modern Scandi Barn style, as designed by Rebecca Naughtin.

Pitched Gable Roofs
The diagrammatic house shape is a must for any Scandi Barn. This is achieved with steeply pitched roofs that slope downwards at an angle of 35 to 45 degrees, creating a gable below. Born out of necessity, this feature was first designed to help homes shed snowfall in Scandinavian winters.
These roofs can be added as a beautiful, contemporary update to conventional Australian architecture. On The Kew House, the pitched gable roofline is extended out beyond the wall line to create a hooded affect. However, unlike a traditional eave, this protrusion is continued along the wall line, creating the diagrammatic house outline that’s essential to the style.

Exterior cladding is key to taking the Scandi Barn out of the field and placing it in Modern Australia. Traditional barn style facades are distinctive for the provincial craftsmanship of timber lines and mixed panelling. For the Modern Scandi Barn, it’s essential to add to the overarching diagrammatic shape, not distract from it, so the right wall finish is a must. Too much detail and the home will look cluttered, while too little will leave the home looking plain. Updating an exterior with large panel cladding will immediately strike the right balance.
Vertical profiles, such as James Hardie’s Axon cladding offer a pared back reference to barn siding by mimicking the fine detailing of vertical joint timber, but has geometric lines and a smooth finish that allude to pared-down Nordic simplicity.

A balance between The Kew House’s heritage and the new Scandi Barn style was created with James Hardie’s Matrix Panels. This cladding harmonised with the façade's original antique materials, but scaled back the detail due to its minimal joints, while allowing for a simple dark grey finish to create impact.
It is also possible to mix cladding styles in an ode to the traditional, board-and-batten variation. James Hardie’s Linea Weatherboard is designed with the traditional look of timber, with crisp, structured lines and deep shadows that give a rich texture to exteriors. As with all James Hardie cladding products, they’re durable and resistant to warping, flaking and damage from moisture and fire, making it ideal for the Australian climate.

Interiors x exteriors
Scandi Barn inspired interiors refine the rustic look while incorporating the Australian love for indoor-outdoor lifestyles. The basis of this style is organic textures and clean traditionalism anchored in practicality, with a deep connection to its natural surroundings.
The modern interpretation takes the comfortable, relaxed barn style and focuses on creating fusion between indoors and outdoors to make the design feel effortless. Interior spaces are created for open plan, connected living with light-filled spaces.
The modern Scandi Barn interiors are defined by the steeply pitched gable rooves as they create high vaulted ceilings. Infuse interiors with v-groove wall panelling, such as James Hardie’s HardieGroove, which perfectly captures the timber look with vertical joint panels, grooved ridging, and modern geometric lines.
To create a consistent look, use colours such as bright whites, warm wood tones, and dark accents, such as grey and charcoal. The Kew House completed its exterior Matrix boards, which are pre- primed and ready to paint, with Dulux Black Caviar on the front façade and accents of this were carried into the living space to create continuity.
From construction to colour, The Kew House is a perfect example of how to transform traditional builds with updated materials to capture the modern Scandi Barn trend.
I love that the interiors mimic the exteriors and reflect the Nordic aesthetics through colours and materials while accommodating the modern Australian lifestyle. The perfect marriage!

Hope you too enjoyed this Nordic inspired home tour. 

Till next time... find out how to get the Scandi Barn look for your home at!

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