How To Shield Your Backyard From Neighbours

 

City living has its advantages – shorter commutes, highly developed infrastructure, and all the amenities you could want right at your fingertips. With it, though, often comes smaller block sizes and neighbouring houses butting up against your shared fence. This means having to deal with a backyard that is a little more public than you might want.

So how can you combat ever-shrinking urban spaces and ensure the privacy of your backyard?

 

Screen your space

If the idea of a privacy screen makes you cringe, don’t stress. Gone are the days of ugly plastic and lattice barriers that deteriorate over time. Now you can get stylish and durable screens that tie right in with your outdoor décor, giving your space a secure feeling without making it seem claustrophobic.

 

Hedge your bets

Hedges are a handy way to introduce extra greenery into an outdoor space while also creating a visual barrier that makes it difficult for random eyes to peer into your backyard. While they do require some maintenance, you will generally be rewarded with a thick, natural screen that not only protects your privacy, but also looks great. The most popular types of hedge in Australia are:

•  Boxus

•  Lilly Pilly

•  Murraya

•  Photinia

You should be able to find any of these plants – and learn how to take to take care of them properly – at your local nursery.

 

Find your best angle

When setting up your outdoor area, consider your neighbour’s line of sight. While some of the surrounding houses are sure to be positioned so that the occupants will be able to see into your yard, you may have the opportunity to construct your outdoor living area in a space blocked out by an existing structure, like your home, a large tree, or a small pergola. Consider this when you arrange your furniture, or when deciding where to build a new patio or pergola.

 

Feature some water noise

Privacy is more than visual – if you can’t have a conversation outside without the neighbour hearing every detail, then you may want some sort of background noise. Luckily, there is a way to do this that is both beautiful and soothing. Water features are a great way to add an extra element of sophistication to your yard, as well as giving you a way to mask your exact words when Cheryl next door is outside hanging out her washing.

 

Get into fencing

While solid fences like Colorbond aren’t for everyone, they can be a handy way to block out views of your yard. If you choose to go down this path, make sure you discuss it with your neighbours first – not everyone will be thrilled to have a new fence installed without prior knowledge. They may need to fork out for half the cost, so don’t skip having the chat, even if you haven’t formally met them before!

Looking for some screening inspiration? Head over to our privacy and weather screens gallery to see what can be done!

 

 

What To Look For In A Patio Builder

 

So you’ve decided to extend your home. You might have settled on covering your patio or deck to make it a truly useful and comfortable space, or maybe you’re looking at enclosing an outdoor area that’s already covered. Unless you’re a DIY master, you will likely need some help to make sure your home extension is fully functional and looks amazing.

With tradies and contractors notorious for leaving jobs half finished, arriving late every day, or making a mess of the site, it can be difficult to find a team that you really trust. Here are our top tips for finding a patio builder that you can count on, whether you’re located in Brisbane or live in a regional centre elsewhere around the country.

 

Reputation

Word of mouth is a valuable tool in the building industry, both for you as a customer and for businesses looking to expand their client base. It’s worth asking friends and family if they have had any experiences with specialised builders in your area, as they may be able to help you eliminate or shortlist any standouts.

 

Proof of skills

Every builder worth their salt should have some sort of portfolio showcasing previous work, so you can see what sort of projects they’ve taken on in the past. You can also look for online reviews and testimonials, so you know what to expect should you engage them for your job. It’s also worth asking if they have any industry awards or qualifications that set them apart from competitors.

This includes making sure they are a licenced operator – to check this, simply visit the Queensland Building and Construction Commission website and search for the company. You will be able to see if they hold any licences, what licences they hold, and what work they have completed, all of which will help you make an informed decision.

 

Design expertise

What do they offer as part of a standard service? Do they simply order a package and put it up for you? For a patio or extension that adds genuine value to your home, you should look for a business that provides not just construction as standard, but also custom design.

 

Material recommendations

While you’re probably not looking for an endless sales pitch, you also don’t want someone who builds with cheap materials as a default. Take the time to ask what materials they recommend, and what the specific benefits and drawbacks are.

 

Guarantees and warranties

Do they offer any sort of guarantee for their work? If they are confident in the quality of their workmanship, then there should always be some sort of system in place for the rare event of something going wrong, both for your peace of mind and for their own reputation.

When it comes to your home, you should always be cautious with alterations. Asking yourself the questions set out above is a great way to assess the quality of a building company, and time spent researching is never a waste. For more information on our work, practices and policies, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and experienced team.

 

Quick Checklist for Choosing Your Building Company

•  Positive reputation

•  Portfolio of work

•  Positive reviews

•  Customer testimonials

•  Design expertise

•  High-quality materials on offer

•  Guarantees and/or warranties on products and workmanship

 

Preparing Your Patio For Summer

 

What does your patio look like right now? Leaves, stacked furniture, maybe some dirt build-up? Winter doesn’t encourage us to get out and maintain our patio or yard, but whipping your outdoor spaces into shape for summer doesn’t have to be difficult – a few simple elements can have them clean and ready to enjoy.

 

Scrub it down

Clean everything! Even a thin layer of dirt can make your patio look dreary and unappealing (and leave a mark on your clothes!). Some water, a stiff broom and a little bit of work will have everything looking and feeling fresh and ready to go.

Reseal or stain if necessary

If your patio has any timber elements, check them for wear and damage like cracking or peeling. If necessary, reseal or reapply stain. This will keep your patio both protected from the summer sun (and summer storms) and have it looking its best. If you aren’t sure how to go about resealing or staining, check out our previous post for some handy tips.

Check furniture

Inspect your outdoor furniture for imperfections. This is especially important if it’s been sitting outside, exposed to the elements. Make sure chairs are still structurally sound and look for rips in any material. If you notice any significant damage, now is the time to replace your outdoor setting. Future guests will appreciate it!

Arrange your space

Once everything is clean and ready to be used, you can go about setting up the patio. Consider the flow of traffic, accessibility to features like the barbeque, and lighting. Don’t forget to think about styling – small details like outdoor placemats, or a shade umbrella if your patio isn’t covered, can make a big difference to both appearance and comfort.

Add the final touches

Summer means mozzies and heat. If you want the ultimate patio for your friends and family to enjoy, consider including a bug zapper, a fan and a cooler for drinks. If you’re working with a smaller space, consider wall-mounting elements like your barbeque, and think about trading in your full table setting for a bar or cocktail-style table. A little bit of planning can go a long way to making your patio perfect for the warmer months!

At Altec, we pride ourselves on being Brisbane's leading patio builders – for more information about our services or materials, get in touch with our friendly team.

 

Tips For Resealing Your Deck

 

Summer is just around the corner, which means entertaining season is creeping up as well! Over the cooler months, you may have let your deck be taken over by leaves and debris, but with clearer days here, it’s time to get on top of that. Resealing your deck is important for keeping it looking great as well as protecting the timber from the elements.

 

Here are our top tips for resealing your deck:

  1. 1. Clean it thoroughly

You can’t reseal your deck until it has been properly cleaned. This generally means using a pressure washer, but if you aren’t experienced with this, it can be worth getting a professional in. Bear in mind, if you don’t use the washer correctly, you may damage the wood.

  1. 2. Treat and/or repair any damaged areas

If you notice any cracks or splintered places on your deck, sand them before attempting anything else.

  1. 3. Select a quality sealant

Make sure you match your wood and sealant appropriately. If possible, it’s always worth consulting an expert when it comes to this.

 

When should you reseal your deck?

How often you need to reseal your deck can depend on a few factors. These may include:

  • •  What type of stain or sealant was used
  • •  How extreme the weather is
  • •  How exposed to the weather your deck is.

As a guide, you shouldn’t have to reseal your deck more than once per cycle of seasons (so once a year). This is generally the case for places with high temperatures, or if your deck is fully exposed to sunlight. With a quality sealant and some degree of weather protection, every 2-3 years will often suffice.

 

Checking your deck

It can be tricky to tell when your deck needs resealing. Pour water on it and see whether it beads or soaks in. If it soaks in, it may be time to reseal it – water getting into the wood can be a recipe for warping and damage. Alternatively, if you can see cracks and bubbles on the surface of the finish, this is a fairly safe indicator that it is time to reseal.

When it comes to protecting your deck, putting in a little bit of cash and elbow grease now really is worth the effort – it can save you having to invest in replacing your deck earlier than you would have to otherwise.

For any questions regarding deck maintenance or installation, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our friendly team can give you all the info you need to keep your deck looking sharp and protect it from the elements.

 

Altec are Brisbane's leading Patio & Carport Designers and Builders.

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