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Defining Spaces in Your Backyard

Designing an outdoor area can be just as important as your home’s interior, but what’s the best way to go about defining spaces in your backyard?

When building a new home, landscaping is often left until last, and can sometimes be rushed or neglected if the budget blows out on the build.

But a well-designed backyard offers a year-round outdoor living and entertainment area that deserves your attention and appreciation during the planning stages.

From pathways to pergolas, it’s best to plan your entire outdoor area before you break ground.

Take the overall size of the space into consideration and identify any areas you will use for special features. This could include a swimming pool, vegetable garden or entertainment area.

The most successful landscape designs make use of zoning to provide designated areas, coming together in harmony to create an attractive and functional outdoor space.

The possibilities are endless, but we have put together some of our top tips to help with defining spaces in your backyard.

Zones

Dividing your backyard into zones is an effective way to create interest and spaciousness.

Small trees, hedges and greenery can be used to create borders, without interrupting the cohesion of your backyard or blocking your views.

Decorative concrete floating stairs, walls and dividers can provide functional structure, while creating a pleasing aesthetic for your divided zones.

Geostone’s decorative concrete range can be used as a landscaping material in any outdoor area, including driveways, entertainment areas and pool surrounds, and can even extend to polished concrete flooring for a seamless indoor-outdoor flow.

 

Levels

Individual zones can be created with the introduction of multiple levels across the backyard. With the use of stairs and retaining walls, you can elevate an area for an entertainment zone, or dig down for an intimate sunken lounge and fire pit.

Geostone’s polished and honed concrete, coloured concrete and exposed aggregate products are suitable for constructing any shape or space, requiring little maintenance while offering a weather resistant surface ideal for the great outdoors.

 

Paths

Pathways can be used to connect each of your zones, guiding visitors through your backyard while protecting lawns and gardens.

Decorating with trees and greenery can provide a colourful accent to your pathways, creating a natural tone for the whole backyard. Make use of trellises or walls to bring the greenery upward, framing the pathway to provide a level of structure and order.

Decorative concrete is a popular construction material for pathways. Geostone Exposed Aggregate combines coloured concrete with natural stones sourced from your local region to provide an attractive, functional and slip resistant ground surface.

 

Decks

Outdoor rooms and enclosed decks allow for year-round entertaining, and can be used to showcase views of the best features of your backyard.

For an enclosed area that remains connected to your home, beautifying the deck or creating a sunroom is an effective way of defining a welcoming indoor-outdoor space.

Exposed aggregate and honed concrete are suitable solutions for creating an outdoor deck of any size, including wrap-around decks surrounding your entire home.

Consider placing an outdoor chaise lounge on the deck for a more relaxed feel. If you’re working with a narrow space, try some longer outdoor seating, or an all-weather daybed along the external wall.


Patios

Patios lead from the outside of your home into the greater yard area, offering flexible functionality and a platform for additional features.

Creating weatherproof outdoor areas is an important consideration when designing a patio you can use all year round.

Keeping the patio open and welcoming is key for a multi-purpose area, so it’s best not to overcrowd the space with too much furniture.

Instead, make key pieces stand out by keeping to a uniform visual style.

Compliment concrete and stone with wooden furniture or metal accents to create a coordinated aesthetic, and try including some greenery with pot plants or a vertical garden.

 

Entertainment Area

The inclusion of an outdoor kitchen can increase property value, providing year-round entertainment for families and guests alike.

Outdoor ovens and barbecues are an excellent way to cater to large crowds, offering a relaxed alternative to cooking indoors on a warm summer evening.

Geostone’s polished concrete range can be precisely moulded and shaped to an exquisite finish for both indoor and outdoor benchtops and dining tables.

While placement and elevation are necessary decisions for all outdoor areas, the specifics of the design are equally important.

Depending on the size of the area you are working with, a large dining table and chairs can give your space a sense of grandeur, and create an inviting ambience for guests.

 

Pools

The backyard swimming pool is synonymous with the Great Australian Dream.

When installing or refurbishing a swimming pool, style, safety and functionality are key factors to consider.

Geostone decorative concrete provides the look of luxury for pool surrounds and water features, with a range of exposed aggregate, honed and polished finishes to choose from.

As well as the aesthetic appeal, decorative concrete offers a slip resistant surface ideal for wet areas, and seamless flow to other zones of your outdoor space.

Backyard spaces are most successful when planned with a clear vision in mind for the use of the space and your lifestyle, and designed with respect for the style of your home and surrounding area.

With so many options to consider, you can see why defining spaces in your backyard can be just as exciting as designing the inside of your home.

For more information, tips and tricks, take a look at our other Geostone articles.

8 Ways to Maximise Space at Your Place

As Australian houses continue getting smaller, homeowners are looking for new and creative ways to maximise space.

While property prices remain high and the cost of living increases, the average home size has shrunk to a 22-year low.

Skilled homeowners are now working with architects, designers and builders to make the most of what little space they have. The trend has also been inspired by the minimalist movement increasing the appeal of spaciousness and open-plan design.

If you’re feeling cramped and crowded, this article explores eight ways to maximise space at your place.

 

  1. Embrace Open-Plan Living

An open-plan layout effortlessly creates space and the feeling of spaciousness in your home.

The most common open-plan layout combines the kitchen, living and dining areas into a single zone. This can be achieved at the initial design stage, or by removing non load-bearing walls in a renovation.

Open plan living can extend to other areas of the home too, such as resort-inspired bedrooms with open ensuites and sunken spas, or external kitchens to increase indoor-outdoor flow.

 

  1. Build Up with a Loft

Rooms with high ceilings allow for building vertically – and adding a loft is an effective space-saving solution for expanding floor space, without the cost of extending the entire house.

You could choose to add another bedroom, or create a dedicated office space floating above the living area.

The integration of a loft pairs perfectly with the industrial look, maximising the space you have, while creating aesthetic architectural appeal.

 

  1. Replace Doors with Sliding Walls

While the look of open-plan living might be popular, wide open spaces are not always practical.

Family homes and shared households often require a greater level of privacy than lofts and apartments, creating the need for a different construction technique.

Sliding walls or ceiling to floor doors provide the privacy of permanent walls, with the flexibility to open them up, creating space, natural light and air-flow throughout the home.

Further decorative features can be added through the selection of materials, which can range from timber and glass through to textured room dividers.

 

  1. Get Crafty with Shelving & Storage

Even the smallest of homes can feel airy and bright with the right storage solutions.

When everything has its place, there is a sense of order and cleanliness, which makes a home more inviting and comfortable to live in.

But even the largest of homes can feel cramped if they become cluttered and wardrobes and drawers start spilling over.

If your biggest space challenge is finding room to put belongings, you might first want to start with decluttering your home.

Using floor to ceiling shelving is a great way to show off those prized possessions and book collections, while a hidden storage solution, such as under-staircase cabinetry, provides the perfect space for storing bulky items.

 

  1. Smooth Lines with Minimalist Flooring

The eye is naturally drawn to the smooth and straight lines of minimalist style.

The shiny and sleek finish of polished concrete floors creates a lengthening and unifying effect which has made it a popular option for flooring in modern and minimalist-style homes.

Polished concrete reflects light, creating a more airy and lively ambience in the home.

And it is suitable for every room of the house, including wet areas, meaning the polished concrete floor can be extended throughout the property to tie the look together.

 

  1. Let the Light Shine In

You can almost feel the walls close in around you inside dark homes with limited natural light.

Large windows and external glass doors allow sunlight into the home, while providing views and improved air flow to create the feeling of more space.

Ensuring adequate natural light can also provide the practical benefits of preventing mould and mildew, and is crucial to the thermal mass effects of polished concrete floors.

Polished concrete floors help to keep homes comfortable all year round with the storage and release of heat, or thermal energy. This process is most efficient when the concrete receives maximum sunlight exposure during the cooler months, not obstructed by curtains or rugs.

 

  1. Living & Dining Outside

A traditional house extension usually involves knocking out walls and increasing the square footage. But your outdoor space provides room for growth, without heavy construction.

Creating an outdoor room is an increasingly popular way to make the most of your outdoor area, while encouraging occupants and visitors to spend time outside, too.

Outdoor kitchens are a great way to extend the living and dining area of your home, creating an open-plan design that seamlessly extends from the indoors.

Combining polished concrete floors with decorative concrete foundations for patios and outdoor areas is the perfect way to increase indoor-outdoor flow and maximise the space available in your home.

 

  1. Create Outdoor Areas with Landscaping

Looking out over an open backyard can make your property feel smaller and less visually appealing.

A popular landscaping approach is to create multiple outdoor areas or zones with the use of landscaping techniques to create split levels, structure and guided form.

Decorative concrete can be used to create functional landscape elements from driveways and retaining walls to polished concrete benchtops. Concrete garden beds and pathways can help tame your garden, while concrete pool decks create a seamless contemporary finish and transform your backyard pool into a statement piece.

For more design inspiration using decorative concrete in your home and backyard, explore the other articles in the Geostone Blog.

Decorative Concrete vs. Pavers

Concrete and pavers are two of the most commonly used materials for landscaping outdoor areas.

Determining the most suitable solution for your project will depend on many factors, so it’s important to consider all of the options before rushing in.

Aside from colours and cost, you will also want to consider the texture of the material, durability, local climate and weather conditions, and how you intend to use the space.

You might also like to think about how these needs could change in five to ten years, durability of the material and resale appeal should you choose to sell your home.

Our experts have compiled some of the latest facts and figures of decorative concrete to help with your selection.

Versatility

Decorative concrete lends itself to a range of colours, textures, finishes and forms. While pavers are generally limited to square and rectangular shapes, decorative concrete is poured in liquid form, meaning it can be more easily moulded into rounded, curved and organic shapes.

Geostone decorative concrete is available in Exposed Aggregate, Coloured Concrete, and Honed and Polished Concrete, providing a range of finishes, colours and natural stone selections to choose from.

Best of all, the range is always unique to your local region, so you’re sure to find a material suited to your home and the natural surrounds of your area.

Surface Diversity

Pavers are most often found in pathways and patios, whereas the versatility of decorative concrete provides an endless array of applications.

Exposed Aggregate, Coloured Concrete and Polished and Honed finishes can be mixed and matched to create everything from outdoor kitchens and benchtops to retaining walls, pool surrounds, driveways, paths and patios. While inside, polished concrete is a popular flooring solution.

Installation

All landscaping requires a degree of preparation. For example, installing pavers often requires excavation, grading, sub-base compaction, laying geotextile fabric, base preparation and compaction. And that is all before the physical process of laying each of the pavers. If pavers need to be cut to size, this will also slow down the installation process.

When using decorative concrete, entire slabs can be poured and levelled in a matter of hours.

Your approved Geostone installer will then finish the concrete to your chosen texture, whether that’s exposing the aggregate, honing, polishing or applying an outdoor concrete sealant. Additionally, there is also the potential for pouring concrete over an existing surface, which could save you time and money in the landscaping process.

Climate Adaptability

Using pavers not suited to your local climate and weather conditions could result in cracks and broken and lifted pavers. All landscaping materials need to allow for movement and shifting over time, but those that are prone to lifting and breaking are more likely to need replacing. Concrete has thermal mass capabilities, which allows it to absorb and release extreme temperatures without cracking. And with the right preparation and drainage, decorative concrete is able to stand up to most conditions Mother Nature throws at it.

Resale Value

Outdoor landscaping is the one project that is often left to last. Kitchen and bathroom renovations regularly blow the budget. While for new builds, landscaping is not always  included in the builder’s fee, so if not the homeowners take a wait and see approach.

Yet a property valuer will often determine the price range of your home before they walk in the door, which highlights the importance of prioritising the outside appearance and functionality of the property.

Research suggests neutral colours, natural materials like stone, and low maintenance requirements are all attractive incentives for buyers, and could increase the resale value of your home.

Surface Finish

The joins between pavers are susceptible to invasion by weeds as well as mould and moss growth, which can create hazards. Concrete can be laid in larger sections between control joints, providing more functional space and reducing troublesome weeds.

The larger surface area also makes decorative concrete easy to clean, and helps to avoid those unsightly stains that can quickly age an outdoor area.  

Cost

The cost of pavers varies greatly depending on the size, material and brand of the paver, as well as your project area. The price of Geostone’s decorative concrete varies according to your region, product and colour selection, so we invite you to submit your project details for a free quote. Be sure to include your preferred Geostone product, project area, and postcode.

These are just some of the factors to consider when choosing between pavers and concrete for your next landscaping project.

If you’re looking for more inspiration for decorative concrete inside or outside your home, you might like to explore the Geostone concrete range available in your area. And visit our Blog for more articles and ideas.

Concrete v Tiles

Concrete and tiles are two of the most popular flooring options for contemporary homes.

Whether you’re building or renovating, you might find yourself comparing the benefits of a polished concrete floor with traditional floor tiles.

While the colour scheme could be the first consideration to spring to mind, there are many other factors that contribute to choosing the perfect flooring for your home.

It’s important to think about your lifestyle, your household’s needs, and the ways you intend to use the space.

Also think about how those needs might change five and ten years from now.

To help with your selection, our experts have compiled some of the latest information on polished concrete flooring, from aesthetics and installation, to cleaning and durability.

Speed

Time is money when building or renovating. Tiles first require a solid foundation like a concrete slab. And the process of tiling is known for being time-consuming and tedious. Polished concrete floors are poured in liquid form, and entire house slabs can be completed in a matter of hours. Once set, the concrete finisher hones and polishes the concrete to your requested finish. Finishing the floor faster also allows you to continue on with the other areas of your build and renovations, so you can be enjoying your new space sooner.

Grout Free

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges with tiles is the effort required to keep the grout free of mould, dirt and stains. In even the most meticulously kept homes, grout will eventually discolour, and sometimes crack and need replacing. This can result in floors looking dirty or aged, even when they’re freshly cleaned. Polished concrete floors offer a single, solid and flat surface that doesn’t require grout to hold it in place, making it easy to clean, while retaining that long-lasting sheen. And being waterproof and resistant to mould makes polished concrete ideal for wet areas.

Visual Appeal

Concrete-look tiles have grown in popularity as more homeowners embrace minimalist styling, earthy textures and natural materials. Instead of replicating the look of concrete, a polished concrete floor provides all the benefits of genuine concrete, while offering the visual appeal of a range of concrete colours and natural stone selections, with a smooth and polished finish.

Durable

Anyone with tile floors can attest to the frustration of a broken tile. Perhaps you dropped something in the kitchen, the kids were playing a little too rough, or time and movement have caused tiles to lift or crack. While broken tiles can be replaced, it’s not always possible to find a perfect match. And sometimes just one chipped tile requires multiple tiles to be replaced. Polished concrete floors are hardwearing, durable and require minimal maintenance, which is why polished concrete is a long-lasting and affordable flooring solution.

Versatile

Polished concrete is smooth as silk, and hard as rock. But it starts out in a liquid form, making it a highly versatile construction material. This versatility extends beyond colour and stone selections to include special features, and custom shapes and forms. Decorative concrete can also be extended outside the home, and is particularly popular outdoors as honed concrete or exposed concrete for driveways, patios, paths, outdoor entertaining areas and pool surrounds.

Climate adaptable

You might remember the childhood joy of laying on cold tiles during a hot summer’s day. But what about waking up to those same cold tiles on early winter mornings? Polished concrete floors offer the benefits of thermal mass, helping to keep your home cool in summer, and warm in winter. Concrete is capable of absorbing and storing heat from sunlight, and slowly releasing that warmth when the air temperature drops.

This process is reversed during warm weather, when concrete floors can help to absorb heat to maintain a comfortable temperature day and night.

Lifetime costs

Long-term costs and return on your investment are also important aspects to consider when choosing building materials for your home. Sometimes lower cost options can cost more in the long run, particularly if they require extra maintenance, or have a shorter lifespan.

While some building materials like polished concrete floors can not only hold their value, but increase the resale value of a home. This will be a vital consideration for anyone renovating for profit, or contemplating selling their home, even many years down the track.

These are just some of the factors to consider when choosing between tiles and concrete flooring for your home.

If you’re looking for more inspiration for polished concrete floors in your home, you might like to explore the Geostone polished concrete range available in your area, or visit our Blog for more articles and ideas.

Your Concrete Playground

Creating a Family-Friendly Backyard Kids Will Love

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the backyard could be considered the soul.

It’s the scene of celebrations, family gatherings and quiet contemplation. And for families, the backyard serves as the children’s own private playground.

Backyards should be both functional and inviting, and a safe and fun outdoor space is on the wishlist of every family-friendly home.

Geostone’s decorative concrete can be used in a variety of ways to define your outdoor space, and create a playground that is safe and suitable for the whole family.

Whether you’re looking to build a patio, create pathways or even construct a concrete playground, decorative concrete combines durability and functionality with beautiful colours and designs to suit every home.

 

Durable

One of the most important things to consider when designing a backyard is the durability of the materials you use. Landscaping is always a big task, so you’ll want your work to last.

Geostone decorative concrete is hard-wearing, low-maintenance, and weatherproof, making it the perfect solution for any area of your backyard.

The Geostone Exposed Aggregate, Coloured Concrete, and Honed Concrete options are all suitable for use outdoors, giving you plenty of options to choose from.

 

Functional

Decorative concrete is a popular material for driveways, garages, pathways, patios and pool surrounds, while polished concrete makes for a perfect indoor flooring solution.

Concrete also has a long list of outdoor uses you might not have thought of, such as steps, retaining walls, garden beds, sand pits, children’s play areas, and even furniture including dining tables and benches.

With so many potential applications for decorative concrete, what you choose to create in your concrete playground is only limited by your imagination.

 

Family-Friendly

Families want a backyard that can withstand the daily demands of children and pets, while accommodating the needs of the rest of the family.

Geostone’s decorative concrete is stain-resistant and when correctly prepared slip-resistant, making it a popular choice for families – even in wet areas.

Slip-resistant surfaces mean less accidents resulting in injuries, which is a prime concern for every family. While scrapes and bruises are always a part of growing up, Geostone’s honed and polished concrete offers a sleek, smoother surface, while even the exposed aggregate range feels comfortable underfoot.

The result is a truly family-friendly landscaping and flooring solution that both children and pets will love.

 

Defining your Space

While it’s important to accommodate children and pets, the grown-ups need an outdoor space they can enjoy too. That might incorporate a garage or workshop, a spa or swimming pool, or an adults-only sunken seating area with a fire pit.

Defining each area can make for a relaxed space to entertain guests, while still being able to keep an eye on little ones.

Consider how decorative concrete can be used to define your outdoor space, and help you achieve the perfect balance of fun, and functionality, for every member of the family.

 

Product Pairing

Natural building materials such as timber and stone create a dramatic contrast with decorative coloured concrete and exposed aggregate. When choosing the colour of your decorative concrete, think about the other materials you might use with or alongside it. Although you might not be thinking of selling in the near future, it pays to think about the kerbside appeal of your property now. Studies show a landscape upgrade can dramatically increase resale value, and fresh, neutral colours often maximise returns.

 

Choosing the Right Surface

As well as its practicality, decorative concrete is an aesthetically pleasing product that can be tailored to suit the colour scheme and style of any home. You can choose from a variety of coloured, exposed aggregate, or polished and honed concrete to make your outdoor space not only functional, but beautiful.

Coloured

Plain grey concrete is no longer your only option. The Geostone Coloured Concrete range offers a range of colours to choose from, which creates a rainbow of opportunities for crafting fun children’s play areas from concrete.

Choosing the best coloured concrete for your home might mean complementing or contrasting the existing colour scheme of your home, blending in with the natural surrounds, or finding a colour that really stands out.

 

Exposed

Exposed aggregate is a popular choice for a range of outdoor applications. Like all Geostone products, exposed concrete is durable and slip resistant. It features natural Australian stone aggregates exclusive to your local area, giving it a unique and personal touch.

The available colours and stone combinations vary depending on the region, so we recommend searching for your area on our Regional Selector to see the options available to you.

 

Polished and Honed

Polished or honed concrete is becoming increasingly popular for patios and pool surrounds, as well as dining tables and benchtops in outdoor kitchens.

The high-sheen sleek surface provides the ultimate in style, while offering the same durability, low maintenance and slip resistance of all Geostone products.

 

Designing Your Perfect Outdoor Room

Decorative concrete has long been used as a foundation for outdoor rooms and entertaining areas, so what makes it such a useful material to work with?

Outdoor rooms are more than just a balcony or patio. They work as an extension of your home, with the function of the indoors, in an outdoor environment.

A well-designed outdoor room should be useable all year-round, and may even replace the original kitchen or dining room as the new heart of your home.

It’s important to give consideration to the layout of the space and who will use it when deciding on the materials you use. Beyond the floor, decorative concrete is a versatile solution for creating multiple elements of any outdoor space.

To help you plan, we have compiled some expert tips for designing your dream outdoor room.

 

Position is Everything

One ‘must have’ for every outdoor room is the perfect position. Ideally, the space should get enough morning sun to keep it warm in winter, while having adequate shade in hot weather, and shelter from wind and rain.

Weatherproofing outdoor entertaining areas will ensure year-round use of your outdoor room, making it feel like a part of your home, rather than the backyard. Decorative concrete also gives you the flexibility to create an outdoor room of any shape or size.

 

Flooring

Outdoor flooring doesn’t have to be a plain concrete slab. Outdoor rooms lend themselves to an endless array of flooring options, including honed concrete, exposed aggregate, and coloured concrete.

Extending concrete floors from inside the home creates indoor-outdoor living flow, while providing a low maintenance and durable flooring solution.

Concrete floors also offer the added benefits of thermal mass, maintaining heat in the cooler months and dispersing it during hot weather.

 

Benches

Just like flooring, concrete benches are easy to clean and maintain, making decorative concrete an ideal material to use for a range of outdoor living features.

Polished concrete is increasingly being used to craft outdoor kitchens, dining tables and barbecue areas, providing fixed furniture with a seamless, high-quality finish.

 

Windows

Windows should be given careful consideration beyond the views they provide. Outdoor rooms also require both adequate ventilation and shelter, and windows should add to the overall functionality of the space. Depending on factors including your room size, orientation and climate, you will need to decide whether to use glass windows, sliding doors, transparent bistro blinds or an alternative solution.

 

Colours

The colours and textures used in your outdoor room can be a continuation of your home’s interior, or a complementary and contrasting design. Geostone decorative concrete is available in a range of colours and natural stone selections, offering a solution to suit every colour scheme. Combining decorative concrete and aggregate with other natural materials will create a contemporary space with timeless appeal.

 

Decor

Plants, pots and furniture can be used to further enhance the design of your outdoor room. Other decor items including mirrors, sculptures and artworks are also an opportunity to showcase your unique personality and style. And don’t be afraid to blend functionality and fashion – decorative concrete is a perfect construction material for feature walls.

 

Technology

You might choose to use your outdoor room as a dining room or reading room with low-tech needs. But homeowners are increasingly choosing to install large-screen televisions, projectors and sound systems in their outdoor room for the ultimate in entertaining spaces. Give consideration to the final layout before installing electrical appliances.

 

Plants

Bringing the outdoors in is taken to a whole new level in an outdoor room. From a few pops of colour to a vertical garden, or a complete greenhouse vibe, embracing nature is an easy way to liven up a room and add depth and character. Consider sunlight exposure, watering needs and ventilation, and discuss your plant selection with a local nursery or horticulturist to ensure your indoor garden thrives.

 

Lighting

Most outdoor rooms are designed to take advantage of natural daylight, but additional lighting is needed for entertaining at night. The options are endless from downlights to pendant lighting, solar lights for an eco-friendly option, or dimmable mood lighting to really enhance the ambience.

 

Designing your dream outdoor room should be an enjoyable and creative experience. The end result should be a reflection of your personality and lifestyle, and an inviting space to rest, relax and entertain friends and family.

For more design inspiration and information on using decorative concrete in your home, visit the Geostone blog archive.

How to declutter your home this weekend

The best way to declutter your home is to do it quickly, so why not get it done this weekend?

Whether you enjoy spring cleaning or you’ve been putting it off, the aim is to have your home looking clean and clear as quickly as possible.

The rising popularity of minimalism has put the declutter challenge in the spotlight. Even Oprah is known for her love of decluttering, and an advocate of a ‘less is more’ approach to the home environment.

It’s widely reported that a clear home means a clear mind, so it stands to reason that a cluttered home can wreak havoc on your emotions and productivity.

This study even found the cleanliness and order of a home could influence the level of the occupant’s stress hormone, cortisol. It found that women in particular experienced increased cortisol release and more depressed feelings if their home was cluttered, and when returning from work to long to-do lists at home.

If it’s been a while since your last big clean-up, it can certainly seem like a mammoth effort. But applying these simple proven strategies can help you declutter your home with ease in a single weekend.

So, let’s get started!

 

Get clear on why you’re clearing the clutter

According to the experts, physical clutter is a reflection of our mindset. Whether we let dishes pile up on the kitchen bench, bury the dining table under paperwork and junk mail, or fill the ‘spare room’ with boxes of things we never use, research suggests clutter is usually a result of fear, guilt, or both.

Humans are creatures of habit. So collecting material things can make us feel good, for a little while, and keeping them gives us the comfort of the familiar. We can become scared of letting belongings go because a) someone gave it to us, b) it cost a lot of money or c) we might need it ‘someday’.

Sound familiar?

So take a moment to reflect on why you want to declutter your home, and be aware of the negative feelings you have about the current state of disorder. The experts say this should help you change your behaviours, particularly once you experience the rewarding feeling of living in a clean, tidy and peaceful home.

 

Identify the problem areas

Now that you have some insight into potentially why your home is cluttered, take a look around to see what is making your home look messy.

It’s likely there are some key problem areas, while others aren’t so bad. Considering you’re short on time, focus on the worst areas first.

One study revealed almost 90% of Australian homes have at least one cluttered room, and the most commonly cluttered areas are the garage, kitchen and bedrooms.

Considering Australians buy on average 27 kilograms of new clothes each year, it’s quite likely the wardrobes are bursting at the seams.

And that means a lot of clothing we don’t wear, and probably never will.

 

Get started

There’s no time to waste, so don’t overthink it. Just take action.

Trash: Experts recommend you grab some boxes or bags and attack the rubbish first. If you’ve made the commitment to declutter your home, now is the time to be thorough. That box of recycled Christmas wrapping from five years ago that you might reuse one day… it’s probably time for it to go.

Sell or Donate: Keeping the environment in mind, reduce what you send to landfill by selling your unwanted goods or donating as much as you can. The best rule of thumb – if you haven’t worn it or used it in the past 12 months, you probably won’t use it or you don’t really need it. So if it’s still in good condition, sell it or donate it to charity.

Keep: Whether you’re spring cleaning or embracing minimalism, you don’t have to throw everything out. Just make sure every item has a dedicated home, and keep it there. While some people choose to remove all items from sight, you might prefer to keep photos, lamps and mementos on display, simply minus all the mess. There is no right or wrong here, it’s just about creating a space you love.

 

Review and improve the space

Decluttering your home can reveal a range of issues, from a lack of storage, to damaged or stained furniture, walls and floors. Sometimes this can even be the cause for allowing items to build up and cause clutter in the first place – in an attempt to hide the mess underneath.

Give each decluttered area a thorough clean and then determine what should be done to ensure the space stays decluttered permanently. This might mean giving walls a fresh coat of paint, installing new storage spaces, restoring damaged furniture, or replacing old and stained floor coverings with a new, durable and streamlined flooring option such as polished concrete.

By applying this strategy to the task at hand, it is possible to declutter your home in just one weekend. You will also be taking steps to ensure your home remains more organised and welcoming for longer, so you can regain control over your space and enjoy the peace and tranquility of your home.

For more inspiration and information about home renovations and design visit the Geostone blog archive.

Keeping Your Home Warm in Winter

There’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book in a cosy spot in front of the fireplace.

But for many of us, winter time often involves coming home to a cold dark house, firing up the heater and burrowing under a fortress of blankets.

Imagine if there was a way to keep your house warm, without electricity, even when you’re not home.

Not only would you save on energy costs, but your home would become a more inviting escape from the bitter cold outside.

And it can be achieved, with the thermal mass properties of concrete floors.

 

Heating with thermal mass

Concrete floors are often thought of as cold surfaces. But they can actually help with keeping your home warm in winter through the natural process of thermal mass.

Explained simply, concrete is capable of absorbing and storing heat from sunlight, and slowly releasing that warmth when the air temperature drops.

Importantly, this process is reversed during warm weather, when concrete floors can help to absorb heat from inside the home to maintain a comfortable temperature day and night.

Thermal mass can be aided by using ceiling fans on reverse cycle at low speeds during winter, which helps to push rising warm air back to the floor.

And while it may be tempting to use floor rugs and carpets in the winter months, they can impede the natural thermal mass process by covering the floor surface. So give careful consideration to the placement of rugs and other furnishings when planning your layout and interior design.

Polished and honed concrete floors also offer the added benefits of being hard-wearing, low-maintenance, easy to clean and ideal for families and pets. And they’re often a more cost effective flooring option than you realise.

 

Lighting

Thermal mass relies on direct contact with natural sunlight, so it’s always best to pair concrete floors with large windows and glass doors that allow sunlight to span over a wide surface area.

The windows should also have adequate coverings such as block-out curtains to help keep warmth in overnight, and reduce radiant heat during the warmer months.

Selecting the right lighting and lamps for your home can also add to the cozy atmosphere you’re trying to create.

Avoid cool white globes and instead opt for for warm white globes which cast an inviting ambient glow over the room.

When it comes to choosing warmer lighting for winter, feature light fittings such as hanging lights, pendants, chandeliers and wall sconces will add more drama and personality to a room than standard downlights or fluorescents.

If changing the overhead lighting isn’t in your budget, you can still add a more homely look with an assortment of floor lamps, table lamps, recessed lighting, battery-operated candles, and salt lamps.

And don’t be afraid to embrace the dimmer switch. This simple addition can have a big impact on the overall appearance of your space, providing you with mood lighting to suit your lifestyle all year round.

 

Soft furnishings

When you think about a warm and cosy living room, what do you imagine? Glass tables and vinyl couches? Or a deep colour palette, stained timber, exposed concrete, and plush soft-touch fabrics like vintage linen, smooth velvet, chunky knits and faux fur.

The visual and textural components of a room can significantly contribute to the sensory experience, and choosing the right materials will help to create that ever-popular Danish atmosphere known as the ‘hygge’ look.

Of course, completely renovating your home to suit the seasons is not very practical. But with strong foundations in place such as a polished concrete floor, you can change simple elements of the interior design such as cushions, throws, rugs, curtains and artworks, to celebrate the seasons and showcase your personal style.

The living room can be easily transformed into a warm oasis in winter with the use of fabric lounge suites or couch covers, throw rugs, cushions and lamps.

In the bedroom, opt for heavy doonas, soft pillows, plush throws and an assortment of cushions in a range of sizes and shades. Also be sure to replace any old electric blankets to reduce fire hazards.

 

Heating

If after trying everything above, your home still needs help with heating, consider the size of the area you need to warm before making a purchase.

You might want to consider an electric split system reverse cycle unit that can also be used as cooler in hot weather. Or for heating with an aesthetic appeal consider a wood fire or an electric fireplace.

When deciding on the best heating for your home, it’s a good idea to discuss the options with your flooring supplier and installer to ensure you have adequate heating for the space and materials in your home.

 

For more inspiration for your home inside and out, visit www.geostone.com.au

 

Tame Your Garden With Concrete

Gardens and outdoor areas can be a lot of work, but you can easily tame your garden with decorative concrete.

Regardless of how large or small the area, landscaping is an exciting makeover process that gives a sense of order and personalised style to your outdoor space.

One of the most effective materials for landscaping is concrete, which can be used to turn any backyard into a modern and inviting garden oasis.

Decorative concrete options such as coloured concrete and exposed aggregate with natural stone can be used in a wide variety of ways to add beauty and functionality, from paths and patios, to retaining walls and pool surrounds.

These are just some of the tips for using concrete to tame your garden, and create a low-maintenance and welcoming outdoor area.

Paths:

Concrete paths are one of the simplest ways to bring order to a garden and draw the eye to a linear passageway through the outdoor area.

Using decorative concrete gives any space a sense of individuality and structure.

You can select from a range of concrete colours and finishes to create landscaping that complements your home and the local surrounds.

The use of decorative concrete isn’t limited to the backyard. Coloured concrete and exposed aggregate are popular options for decorative concrete driveways too.

Plants and foliage:

Concrete planters and pots can be used to bring order and form to a garden, while creating a neutral and natural colour palette.

Textured concrete such as exposed aggregate can be used to decorate empty corners, or to create a focal point in a patio.

Vertical garden walls can be used in small gardens, courtyards and balconies, adding a natural decorative effect.

Using concrete in your garden can also help to control plant growth and minimise weeds, creating a low maintenance space while embracing plant life.

Decorative additions:

Decorative concrete features can be added to any garden or outdoor area, livening up the space while creating unity and flow.

Concrete sculptures and vases can be positioned to create an organised and welcoming look, while garden screens and water features help to section and divide a garden.

If space saving is a priority, then more streamlined or taller concrete ornaments can be used.

Overall, sectioning off and ordering your outdoor area helps to tame the garden, creating an inviting and peaceful space.

Patios and entertaining areas:

Enjoying the great outdoors is a big part of life in Australia. And most homeowners want an attractive outdoor area to entertain friends and family.

Decorative concrete can be used for everything from patios to swimming pool surrounds, allowing you to choose concrete colours and aggregates to complement your home.

There are many ways to further beautify a concrete patio including lighting, furniture and further landscaping. You could even consider a concrete bench seat with added cushions for a luxe earthy look.

Garden beds and borders:

Concrete can be used to create decorative borders or patterns.  Additionally, using concrete to create garden beds and borders provides greater weed resistance, reduced mosquito breeding, and a greater sense of style.

So, is there a limit to just how much of a garden should be remodelled with concrete? The balance is perfected by combining decorative concrete and stone with other natural materials and plenty of fresh natural greenery.

With such a wide selection of colours and finishes to choose from, decorative concrete is the perfect option for creating a unique garden that remains inviting and visually appealing for years to come.

For more information, tips and tricks on using decorative concrete indoors or out, visit the Geostone blog archive or contact us today.

Should You Restore or Build a New Driveway?

Whether you’re upgrading your home or buying an established house, restoring your driveway is probably on the to-do list.

Driveways come in many forms and materials, including pavers, bricks, concrete, asphalt, gravel or sometimes just good old fashioned compacted dirt.

If the existing driveway is aged and hasn’t been maintained, it’s likely you’re faced with stains, cracks, potholes, water damage or other signs of ageing that make the entrance to your home less than inviting.

So if you’re investing in renovating your home or upgrading the exterior, you’ll probably also want to renovate your driveway.

Should I restore or build a new driveway?

While it is possible to lay Geostone over an existing surface, a well-prepared foundation will always provide the longest lasting results for

your decorative concrete.

So removing the existing driveway and building a new driveway might be the most cost effective option in the long run.

If the foundations of the existing driveway are deemed appropriate by your service provider, it’s possible Geostone coloured concrete or exposed aggregate could be poured over the top to create a new driveway.

Either option will give you the ability to tailor the colour scheme of your driveway and landscaping to complement the rest of your home and natural surrounds of your local area.

Important factors to consider when restoring a driveway

As with any landscaping or home improvement project, there is a range of important factors to consider before embarking on your new driveway.

Going into your renovation with a defined budget, well thought-out plan and a clear vision of the finished project will make the process much easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

It is particularly important to communicate this plan clearly with your suppliers and service providers. If you’re installing a driveway as part of a bigger landscaping and renovation project, it is essential to coordinate the timing of the driveway construction with those too.

Budget: Budgeting may not be fun, but it is important. By determining a budget at the beginning of a project, and sticking to it, you can avoid spending too much on renovations. 

Timing: You probably don’t want to pour a brand new concrete driveway right before earthmoving equipment arrives to clear the backyard. If you need landscaping and pathways in other areas of the property, you could potentially save time and money by combining all of the projects together. Weather is also a factor when pouring concrete, so it’s important to consider the best time to renovate your driveway.

Longevity: When investing in home renovations, you want them to last. This is why you and your service providers should take steps to improve the lifespan of your new driveway, including measures to prevent concrete cracking.

Value: Whether you’re improving your home for your enjoyment, or preparing to list the house for sale, you’re probably interested in ways to add value to your home. Restoring your driveway using decorative concrete, is one way to increase resale value.

Colour: Did you know neutral colours are more likely to return higher value when you sell your home? Choosing the best coloured concrete for your home ensures you enjoy your space while you live there and reap the greatest benefits when it comes time to sell.

Sealing: Not all service providers include outdoor sealer as standard. Thoroughly finishing your decorative concrete including using an outdoor sealer, can help to extend the lifespan of your driveway.

Atmosphere: Ultimately your driveway is the introduction to your home, making it a really significant restoration project. Our resident architect Peter Colquhoun shares his insights into creating the perfect welcome home.

Be sure to check out our Driveway Installation Tips  and visit our blog archive for more decorative concrete inspiration and ideas.

Contact us today for a personalised quote or more information about Geostone.