Wednesday 27 July 2022

Trend Forecast: Five Trending Backyard Design Themes

Outdoor spaces have never been more in the spotlight. As we head into the warmer months, improving your outdoor space can be an affordable and achievable way to improve your lifestyle, and show your creative flair. Small outdoor projects and DIY-friendly tasks are an investment in your homes’ ‘kerb appeal’ and can increase the value of your home. When we think of signature style, we usually think about fashion and home décor as expressions of personality, however, your outdoor space is another opportunity to showcase your personal style. Here Jason Hodges, award-winning landscape design expert and Adbri Masonry brand ambassador, shares his design tips for recreating the top five trending outdoor themes that can be personalised to suit your own style.
Hamptons Garden
Renowned for its coastal-chic styling, bought to life with a colour palette of whites with ocean blues, neutrals and stripes, the Hamptons style has inspired renovation projects across the globe. Australians have had a love affair with the Hamptons style for over a decade and this trend has only increased through the recent renovation boom. According to Jason, the incredibly popular Hamptons styling trend is not limited to indoor decorating. Key design themes for a Hamptons garden include; lush green lawns, privacy hedging, and paved patio areas with styled outdoor settings.
Starting with paving as the foundation for your backyard renovation is a simple yet effective way to transform the space. “Paving may only take up 20% of your yard, but it draws most of your attention,” says Jason. When choosing the best product, the most important thing you will need to consider is the type of traffic your pavers will be exposed to, the heavier the traffic the thicker the paver selected should be.

To achieve the Hamptons look, consider colour and texture. Light-coloured pavers will complement greenery. Jason recommends a neat, square, large format paver like Adbri Masonry’s Euro Classic or Euro Stone in the 400x400mm profile. Opt for the vibrancy of the light Cyprus colour or the mid-grey tone or the Zurich colour as a striking base for your paved area.

Balinese Sanctuary
The essence of Bali starts with a villa experience, a personal sanctuary away from your typically busy life. Homeowners can create a dream Bali-inspired oasis by following some simple design inspirations, colour schemes and clever planting that will make your outdoor space look lush and enjoyable all year round.

To achieve this look, think textured charcoal stepping stone pavers, a collection of greens through the planting scheme, bamboo screens and smooth pebbles. Choose agaves, and frangipanis or bird of paradise plants to keep the tropical theme to complete the look.

To perfect this theme, Adbri Masonry Natural Impressions Duostone offers a contrast of a natural stone-like texture and a contemporary, smooth surface are ideal for retaining walls to create varying levels of interest, and Adbri Masonry Euro Stone is the best choice for courtyards and garden paths. These pavers have been lightly shotblast, to exfoliate the surface and expose the natural aggregates found within. Additionally, they’re slip resistant, making them a perfect option for use around pools and water features.
Palm Springs Modern
Palm Springs boasts one of the world’s most recognisable residential ‘looks’ and right now, it’s one of the biggest style inspirations for Australian homeowners. Made famous by mid-century modern designs featuring overhanging flat roofs, the iconic dry climate landscaping and accentuated furnishings. According to Jason, Palm Springs is a design theme that perfectly suits the style of our homes with a focus on the outdoor areas and making the most of the climate.
The Palm Springs look starts with a contemporary coastal chic design infused with a touch of glamour that presents in a soft pastel colour palette and features décor pieces for a resort-style feel. Create the look with three to five iconic Californian fan palms, space agaves through the garden bed and plant out a feature cactus garden.

Choose hard-wearing pavers over harder-to- maintain turf, use gravel in your garden beds and stay true to the pastel colour scheme. Embrace empty space, this is not a garden design to clutter, advises Jason. Adbri Masonry’s Verastone block features an architecturally inspired shot blast surface texture that exposes the natural aggregate stones in each block. They can be used for garden steps, straight garden walls or retaining walls. The essence of Palm Springs style is a seamless indoor-outdoor transition that leads to generous outdoor spaces where clean lines are prominent. Create privacy in the space with Adbri Masonry’s Breeze Blocks. This contemporary block marks the return of a unique series of screening, privacy and ventilation masonry units. With a stylish diamond profile, use in designs to achieve airflow and natural light infiltration while retaining a sense of permanency and security.
Japanese Zen Style
Australians’ love affair with Japan has been on the rise for years. Fortunately, Aussie homeowners can now bring the best of Japan into their backyards with a low-cost Zen-style garden. Now more than ever, people want their backyards to be safe and private according to Jason. Zen gardens are low maintenance, relaxing and enjoyable to be in.
Create the Zen look with varied textural elements and contrast between hard and soft landscapes; gravels and grass, feature stones of varying sizes and practical step stone pavers in greys or charcoals will set the mood. A Zen garden is designed to be a place to relax so by design, it should be low maintenance. Pot some feature plants, select a water feature for ambience and plant out some mini mondo grass.
Australian Rural
Australia is blessed with a year-round climate and an incredible natural environment. For homeowners with a larger outdoor area, an Aussie-inspired backyard is a great design choice because they’re as practical as they are visually pleasing. The key to designing a good rural-inspired garden is to treasure your space and have discipline around how you fill it.  Jason recommends taking full advantage of the space by creating an alfresco dining area. In adding a fire pit, you can make this area the central entertaining spot. Install some casual seating in the way of log stools and make maintenance easy by bordering the garden with a simple concrete Lawn Edge paver. Create some shade with a eucalyptus tree which will give you a special spot to enjoy throughout the day, advises Jason.
Building the fire pit is an easy DIY project using Adbri’s Miniwall blocks. For the patio areas and footpaths try using Adbri’s Havenbrick, a versatile concrete brick paver that’s easy to lay and offers a modern look with bevel on all four edges.
For more information on backyard DIY projects, visit

Till next time... which is your favourite trending theme?

Sunday 24 July 2022

Haven’s New Scented Candles To Light Up Your Home

The new Winter Collection of candles from Haven offers a range of gorgeous scents from classically elegant to sweet and sultry. With five fragrances to choose from including Pillow Talk, Bridal Fitting, Vogue Vanilla, Pink Lemonade and Caramel Cheesecake, they are perfect to light up at home to fill a room with fragrance. 
The range of on-trend vessel colours and shapes also work wonderfully with home interiors, with two versatile designs being a chic and geometric jar with a textured finish, or a mason style jar that’s stylishly simple to go with all decor.
Spoil yourself with the Haven Pink Lemonade Soy Scented Candle (RRP $15.00). This signature scent combines vibrant notes of sweet melon and bubbly lemonade to create a candle that is a nod to simple, youthful times.

The Haven Bridal Fitting Soy Scented Candle (RRP $15.00) is an ode to love, Spring, and the wedding season. Featuring uplifting notes of carnation and apple, this candle will take you to the perfect wedding day and destination with its crisp and clean fusion of classic romantic scents.

Fill your home with a blend of delicate, sweet and sultry elements with the Haven Pillow Talk Soy Scented Candle (RRP $15.00). It features scent notes of berry and patchouli, whisking you away to a dreamy wonderland. The Haven Vogue Vanilla Soy Scented Candle (RRP $15.00) is a gorgeous addition to your living space, offering a chic blend of both modern and classic elements.
Combining notes of amber, sage and vanilla, this candle is ideal to evoke a sense of calmness to you space.

Craving something sweet? Treat yourself to the Haven Caramel Cheesecake Soy Scented Candle (RRP $15.00) for delightfully muted sweet scents of brown sugar and vanilla filling the air. This buttery smooth fragrance will add a sense of warmth and comfort to your home.

When finished, Haven candles are perfect for upcycling as a vase, storage piece or a mini pot plant to add even more style to your tablescape. The Haven range is available in Spotlight stores nationally. For more information visit

Till next time... which is your favourite scent?

Friday 22 July 2022

Trend Forecast: Transformation of a 90s Suburban House into a Spacious, Multi-Generational Masterpiece!

Situated on the southern edge of metropolitan Sydney and backing on to the Royal National Park this Bundeena home is the embodiment of a modern renovation adding value, style, and a place fo family to come together. Homeowner Jen and her three children live in the home but recently welcomed Jen’s parents which was a defining moment in making the choice to extend and renovate the home. Originally a single-storey dwelling, the house has been transformed into a modern two-storey oasis where multi- generations can live comfortably. The new second level is practically self-contained, providing a space for Jen’s parents with bedrooms, living areas, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry included to optimise privacy and provide the family with options for years to come.

Data from the Housing Industry Association indicates such renovations are surging. Australians desiring more functional, purposeful spaces which can accommodate dynamic families has driven the annual growth rate of alterations and additions valued over $10,000 to 111 per cent. 1 In the 2020/21 financial year alone there was $43.0 billion worth of renovation activity. “The façade is your first impression of a home, your welcome, and it’s incredibly important to get the scale and materiality right here to make sure you are building a home with an inviting space that homeowners want to be in,” says Graham Irving from Arctec Circle Building Design, who worked with Jen to ensure the design of the addition provided the look that appealed to her and updated the design of the original house.

For inspiration, Jen accessed designs online, visited display homes, and also viewed the surrounding neighbourhoods’ new builds so her new home would fit into the streetscape and softly blend into the bushland just metres from the back of the property. “Living on the edge of the Royal National Park, we didn’t want our home to stand out too much. Harmony with the natural setting we wake up to every day was important to us,” said Jen.

Giving the house a modern and warm vibe, a variety of exterior cladding profiles were chosen featuring a predominantly neutral palette that reflects the natural bushland surrounds. Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding fibre cement panels provided the consistent embedded texture look and was ideal as the dominant exterior building material making an impact with its clean lines and form to deliver a modern design aesthetic. With its vertical grooves, Axon™ Cladding has been used as a contrasting feature on the front of the house at the entrance and around the living room window and at the rear of the house where the home opens to decks on each level from which to enjoy the view of the National Park which stretches until the horizon.

Both cladding types appealed to Jen, but particularly, the Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding after it was suggested by her builder James Powditch from J.P. Build. According to Jen, she really liked the simple but styled textured panelling look provided by Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding. The home’s original exterior was rendered brick veneer and the decision was made to cover the original brickwork with the cladding to ensure a continuous look, offering a contemporary transformation of the house.

Using the cladding instead of building with brick and then rendering was a wise decision as not only would rendering have increased both the cost and build time of the renovation, but we have all the benefits of the cladding material.

The fire-rating of both cladding types was ideal for the home’s location. With their home located on the edge of the Royal National Park, we are in the worst bushfire category so knowing that Hardie™Fine Texture Cladding and Axon™ Cladding had a strong fire rating put my mind at ease,, according to Jen.

Windows also had to include shutters for the same fire safety reasons.

For a timeless look, Jen has chosen a minimalist colour palette, keeping it to two colours and choosing a low-sheen paint that works with the modern profile to give a contemporary matte look.

For this project, the Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding, which is shipped pre-primed and ready to paint, has been painted in a dark Taubmans’ Wallaby to match the Colorbond roof. Axon™ Cladding, with its striking vertical lines, colour contrasts with the rest of the build by being painted in Dulux’s Winter Fog.

While increasing square feet is an obvious benefit of any home addition, it should also be an opportunity to consider your block and how you live, to define the new space and redefine the entire home. This renovation has exceeded Jen’s expectations and she could never have imagined her vision for her home looking this good. The result is a stunning modern family home perfectly suited to the family’s lifestyle for many years to come.

To really appreciate the after, here's a reminder of the before.

Find out how to achieve a modern renovation for your home with James Hardie’s Renovation Guide

Till next time... have you undertaken a renovation recently?

async defer data-pin-hover="true" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-round="true" data-pin-save="false" src="//">