Renovation queen Cherie Barber reveals how to create your dream outdoor sanctuary on a budget 

Renovation expert Cherie Barber has shared her tips and tricks for creating your dream outdoor space on a budget, and it all starts with thinking about how you can use whatever area you have creatively.

The TV expert, from Sydney, said Bunnings Warehouse sales were up a staggering 19.2 per cent in the first half of 2020, compared to 5.8 per cent in the previous six months, as people embraced the need to turn their homes into a sanctuary away from the coroanvirus pandemic.

‘Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, there are loads of easy ways to dress up any outdoor space so it becomes a natural extension of your home,’ Cherie wrote on her website.

So what are they? 

Renovation expert Cherie Barber (pictured) has shared her tips and tricks for creating your dream outdoor space on a budget

Renovation expert Cherie Barber (pictured) has shared her tips and tricks for creating your dream outdoor space on a budget

The first and most important thing Cherie said you should think about is making sure your outdoor area - whether it's a garden, a balcony or a patio - has shade and seating (stock image)

The first and most important thing Cherie said you should think about is making sure your outdoor area – whether it’s a garden, a balcony or a patio – has shade and seating (stock image)

1. Make sure you have both shade and seating

The first and most important thing Cherie said you should think about is making sure your outdoor area – whether it’s a garden, a balcony or a patio – has both shade and seating.

‘It really doesn’t matter if your balcony or patio has only got room for the two of you or a dinner party for 10, this area of your home can be turned into useable space as long as it has two things: shade and seating,’ Cherie said.

Without either of these two, you will have to stand and bake in the sun.

While the cheapest option is an umbrella, there are many other ways you can create shade – including a portable privacy screen, bamboo panels or planter boxes with tall grass in them.

Cherie said if you have a bigger budget and want to do something special, you could also consider a retractable awning – which will shade the entire balcony or space but can be wound back when you want it gone.

The second thing Cherie said you need to consider is that an outdoor area doesn't just have horizontal space on the floor, but vertical as well - with walled plants (stock image)

The second thing Cherie said you need to consider is that an outdoor area doesn’t just have horizontal space on the floor, but vertical as well – with walled plants (stock image)

2. Think vertically as well as horizontally

The second thing Cherie said you need to consider is that an outdoor area doesn’t just have horizontal space on the floor, but vertical as well.

‘When people think of gardens, they tend to size up what they see around their feet, but raise your eyes and you might see the perfect spot dead ahead,’ she said.

Walls can make a great spot for a wall of greenery, herbs and trailing plants which spill down the walls. 

By thinking vertically, you’ll also be creating some shade for your garden.

3. Add pot plants

Thirdly, the TV renovation expert said you can’t beat plants in pots.

‘You can create vignettes with them – that is, clusters of either three to five potted plants (odd numbers work best) that form a little outdoor scene you can use to dress up the entrance to your home or create a feature in a small courtyard,’ Cherie said.

If you want to make your area look especially stylish, you can try different shades or textures of the same pot.

Cluster all plants together from the tallest to the shortest for visual interest.

4. Pop in a cactus

Cacti and succulent gardens are another budget-friendly way of sprucing up your outdoor space.

Not only are they low maintenance and drought-proof, but they are also nearly impossible to kill and not too expensive. 

Cherie explained that if you want to create an ‘amazing desert-style Palm Springs effect’, you should add some crushed stones, pebbles or boulders. 

5. Make your own furniture

Doing it yourself has never been more popular than during the COVID-19 crisis, and Cherie said making your own outdoor furniture is something you shouldn’t shy away from.

While it’s easy to buy your own from the likes of IKEA, Bunnings, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, she said nothing beats the satisfaction of a bit of DIY.

For a recent tiny patio, the expert used decking boards to create a foldaway outdoor table, bench space for the barbecue and some bench seating.

If you want a space to look magical, the key is to add light to it. Cherie recommends adding LED solar lights that work by the power of the sun (stock image)

If you want a space to look magical, the key is to add light to it. Cherie recommends adding LED solar lights that work by the power of the sun (stock image)

6. Always add light

If you want a space to look magical, the key is to add light to it.

But don’t worry if you don’t have an outdoor power socket, as plenty of places can be lit by LED solar lights that work by the power of the sun. 

Cherie said the brightness of these lights is displayed as lumens, rather than watts – and between 10-15 lumens is often enough to softly uplight trees and plants.

If you want a more dramatic effect, you might need to go as high as 100 lumens.

Cherie said that raising your garden beds is a quick and easy way to make your garden area look upmarket and stylish (stock image)

Cherie said that raising your garden beds is a quick and easy way to make your garden area look upmarket and stylish (stock image)

7. Raise your garden beds

Cherie said that raising your garden beds is a quick and easy way to make your garden area look upmarket and stylish. 

Plus, they have the added bonus of the fact that they can be carried and moved with you when you leave a home.

Cherie said you can make garden pots out of all sorts of things, including galvanised steel, wooden pallets and even discarded bath tubs. 

For more information about Cherie Barber, please visit her website here

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