The early 1990s marked the beginning of the end for large backyards. In the book The Life and Death of the Australian Backyard, Tony Hall, Adjunct Professor within the Urban Research Program at Griffith University, says that big backyards, long considered an iconic feature of the Australian suburb, quickly started disappearing around this time. “Houses with large backyards ceased to be built. Whatever the size of lot, the dwelling now covers most of its developable area,” says Hall, adding that diminishing backyards is a reflection of changing lifestyles and longer working hours.
MODERNISING THE OUTDOOR SPACE
Homeowners are finding innovative ways to make the very most of smaller backyards. Urban contemporary design and environmentally friendly, economically sound refurbishment practices allow us to add beauty, comfort and functionality to our outdoor spaces; sometimes those nooks and corridors about the house that we took for granted and hardly ever used. When the same ceiling and flooring material continues past the wall-to-ceiling sliders of the living room into the alfresco party zone, then the impression is of an uninterrupted, expansive space – it gives the feeling of a continuous flow from indoors to outside. One example is using the same pairing of hardwood and polished concrete floors, inside and outside. This reinforces the sensibility that the home’s exterior patio for barbecues and the indoor dining area are one and the same.
DECORATIVE CONCRETE FOR OUTDOOR AREAS
Outdoor living areas have markedly advanced from the days of a Hill’s Hoist in the backyard and a lean-to veranda hovering over a giant white concrete slab. Today’s decorative concrete floors are a high quality, economically viable and sturdy flooring solution. Your home’s patio, veranda or that special zone reserved for alfresco dining, are wonderful spaces to introduce beautiful concrete. A polished concrete surface needs next to no maintenance, doesn’t harbour bugs and ants, and there’s no problem with weeds. Finely finished decorative concrete lets you bring to your outdoor entertainment areas the gleam and refinement of indoor class. Concrete floors for indoor outdoor flow.
UNIQUE FLOORING SOLUTIONS
Polished and honed concrete floors are solid, safe surfaces that look modern and upmarket. Concrete lends itself to a range of compositions and finishing techniques. Highly customisable, it allows you to create exposed aggregates in which the raw concrete is mixed with the same natural materials found about your home. The end result is a themed surface that is uniquely you. Differing abrasive finishing treatments of the concrete allow you to mix and match tones and vary the textured surface just enough to suggest transition between spaces. For instance, a highly polished grey floor in the dining area that neatly adjoins the patio’s slightly darker grey surface – this is made of a finely honed concrete which has a solid-grip and a smooth matt finish.
NO TRACK HAZARDS
A polished concrete floor at the same level with the inside floor allows for a recessed track for sliding doors to be installed – thereby not only removing the trip hazard that many sliding door thresholds have, but also helping to give the impression of a singular, even and unblemished floor surface.
Some people fall in love with decorative concrete for the look alone, yet there are many advantages concrete floors provide. It’s sturdy, durable and compared with high-end floor coverings like ceramic tile and slate, decorative concrete is an economically viable alternative.
Polished concrete floors are elegant; they enrich and enliven the home and they can be used to bring a sense of cohesion to all your living spaces. Decorative concrete flooring is easy to clean and maintain, is dust and mite free and pet friendly too.
 “The Life and Death of the Australian Backyard” – Tony Hall, Adjunct Professor Urban Research Program Griffith University – CSIRO Publish 2010