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How to Create a Healthy Home Habitat

Creating a welcoming and healthy environment in your home is easier to achieve than you might think; and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

That sparkling clean display home look may not be realistic for busy households. But a home that nurtures the comfort, lifestyle and wellbeing of you and your family isn’t out of reach.

A space that’s quick and easy to clean, well ventilated and drenched in natural sunlight will help to effortlessly create that fresh and welcoming atmosphere. Our experts have put together some other ways to help you have a healthy home habitat.

 

Low Maintenance

A key component of sustaining a healthy home is effective cleaning and maintenance. And the largest surface that needs regular cleaning in any home is the floor.

Geostone’s polished decorative concrete is durable, easy to clean, and perfect for pets, making it an ideal flooring solution for family homes.

Our concrete experts recommend regularly sweeping and mopping your concrete floors, which is all you need to keep the surface clean. Waxing your floors can also protect the sealer against dirt, stains and abrasions, which reduces the need for strenuous cleaning.

A common myth about concrete floors is that they are prone to cracking, but taking simple preventative measures at the time of installation, such as effective site preparation and construction supervision, will help prevent concrete cracking.

 

Family Friendly 

Health and safety are top concerns for young families, and cleanliness is key for creating a child-friendly home.

Polished decorative concrete is a sleek and solid surface, which can make it less likely to trigger allergic reactions unlike carpets, which may harbour dust mites and other allergens.

This is a particularly important consideration for people living with allergies and those sensitive to dust mites and household allergens.

This also extends to maintaining a pet-friendly home, as decorative concrete won’t harbour any fur, fleas or mites. As well as being scratch resistant, concrete floors are also non-toxic, so you can rest easy sharing your home with furry friends.

Decorative concrete is also naturally slip resistant, meaning it may reduce the chance of slips and trips, so it’s a great option for flooring in wet areas such as bathrooms or laundries.

 

Heating and Cooling

Air-conditioning and heating can dry out the air in a home, or create uncomfortable conditions by being too hold or too cold.

Decorative concrete floors can keep a home naturally warm in winter and cool in summer, with the power of thermal mass. 

Thermal mass refers to a material’s ability to absorb, store and release energy from sunlight exposure, which keeps homes comfortable all year round.

As electricity prices continue to rise, Geostone’s decorative concrete range can help to maximise the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling. 

 

Airflow

Ensuring your home has sufficient ventilation and airflow is vital for a healthy home environment.

Embracing open plan living is one way to maximise space and improve airflow, along with the strategic planning of windows and natural sunlight.

This not only creates a more welcoming and appealing home, but can help to control condensation, dust and mould.

Every floor plan is designed uniquely, but expanding the kitchen, dining and living spaces is popular for improving overall functionality and creating a sense of openness throughout the home. 

Geostone’s decorative concrete range works effortlessly to create a seamless flow between these spaces, reflecting your style while delivering a sense of cohesion between each room.

Identifying clutter and clearing out spaces around your home can also help make your living space feel less cramped. Cluttered homes can create a negative energy and be overwhelming to maintain, but the reward for keeping everything clean and tidy is a clean, pleasant and peaceful environment.

 

Plants

Decorating your home and garden with a mix of greenery is a great way to liven up your living space.

From edible gardens to classic flower patches, any addition of foliage can help create a healthy garden oasis. And with lattices and vertical green walls, you don’t have to miss out on creating a garden if you’re working with a small space.

Consider bringing the outdoors in by adding some pot plants, hanging pots or vases inside your home. Threading a range of greenery into the interior of your home can help unite your space, while providing pops of colour and a naturally fresh appeal.

 

For more information and inspiration for decorative concrete and design, visit the Geostone blog archive.

Geostone 101 – Creating beautiful outdoor areas with concrete 

Holcim’s range of Geostone decorative concrete offers an endless array of applications, with exclusive regional colour and stone selections unique to each local area. 

We have created this two-part mini-series to answer frequently asked questions about Geostone decorative concrete for both indoors and out. 

In Part 2, we explore popular outdoor applications for Geostone decorative concrete, from traditional paths and driveways, to entertainment areas and pool surrounds.

 

What is Geostone? 

Geostone is a decorative concrete range by Holcim with options in exposed aggregate, polished and honed concrete, and coloured concrete.

Geostone combines the integrity of concrete with the uniqueness of Australian stone to create the perfect solution for contemporary yet classic driveways, pathways and pool surrounds, as well as indoor and outdoor applications.

The range is designed to assist the homeowner, architect, designer and builder to create spaces that are both functional and beautiful. 

Geostone’s aggregates are sourced from the local area of each supply region, and blended with decorative concrete available in a wide range of colours.

 

How can Geostone be used Outdoors?

Driveways

They say first impressions last – which is why one of the most popular uses for Geostone decorative concrete is the driveway

Exposed aggregate is the material of choice for most driveway projects, allowing homeowners to select a colour and stone combination to suit the style and colour scheme of their home.

Geostone also gives you the option to restore or build a new driveway, with benefits for both methods depending on your circumstances.

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. 

When it comes to cost, it will largely depend on the size, shape and location of the project, with seasonal changes and weather conditions that might influence the best time to renovate your driveway.

If compiling a checklist for renovating your driveway, ensure it adds street appeal to the exterior of your home, and make sure its durable enough to stand the test of time.

 

Pathways

Geostone doesn’t have to end at the driveway. 

You can use Geostone decorative concrete to create a welcoming flow with pathways extending from the streetfront connecting to other areas of your home and garden. 

Geostone’s exposed aggregate and honed decorative concrete are perfect for creating safe walking surfaces.

Pathways can be stylish and practical at the same time, so think of them as a continuation of everything you love about the outdoor space. 

 

Entertainment Areas 

Designing the perfect outdoor entertainment area involves a combination of planning, zoning, connecting and decorating everything to create a unified look. 

And it all starts from the ground up.

Geostone decorative concrete allows you to create attractive concrete patios, which are safe, durable and can add value to your home. 

You can choose a colour, pattern or texture that complements the surrounding area for a completed look and stylish flow.

Outdoor areas are exposed to the elements, but weatherproofing your outdoor area can be easily achieved with Geostone’s exposed aggregate, coloured concrete, and honed concrete.

For entertaining guests, you might also consider creating an outdoor kitchen, providing a great opportunity for unique concrete applications that you may not have thought of, like a concrete benchtop or sink.

 

Pool Surrounds 

The seamlessness of a concrete pool deck is hard to beat, as it can be versatile, durable, and most importantly slip resistant.

Geostone’s decorative concrete is comfortable underfoot, and can be applied to pool areas as exposed aggregate for a textured finish, or honed concrete for a smooth and slick surface.

 

Gardens

Concrete is one landscaping material that has stood the test of time. And Geostone’s range of decorative concrete makes it beautiful.

From custom steps to retaining walls and garden beds, Geostone can be used to transform any outdoor area. If you’re limited on space, think vertically, with green garden walls that not only look great, but can serve a functional purpose through privacy screening or noise reduction.

Plants, flowers and edible gardens can really liven up your outdoor area, complemented with neutral coloured Geostone garden beds, pots and other decorations to tie the space together.

 

Understanding the Geostone Process

So you think you’d like Geostone for your project, but you’re not sure where to start?

We’ve put together this handy guide to help.

1. Choose your Geostone finish

Firstly, select from Geostone’s Exposed Aggregate, Polished Concrete, Honed Concrete or Coloured Concrete options, which are unique to each region.

2. View the range available in your area 

You can use the Regional Selector on our website to view the range of mixes and colours available in your local area, all from the comfort and convenience of your home.

3. Visit your nearest display centre 

To see samples in person or to speak to one of our colour consultants, visit your nearest Geostone display centre, where you can discover the Geostone range.

4. Find an approved installer and finisher in your region

Once you’ve chosen your preferred Geostone mix, you can use our website to find an approved installer and finisher in your local area. Installers will first work to prepare the project site, then lay, spread and compact the concrete, while finishers prepare the concrete to your chosen finish.

5. Request a quote 

To request a quote or learn more about Geostone, send your project details and postcode to our team. When you are ready to proceed with your project, the Geostone team will help to finalise your order and can assist with arranging trades for installation and finishing.

Read Geostone 101 Part 1 for information about the indoor applications of Geostone. 

Geostone 101 – What you need to know about indoor decorative concrete

Holcim’s range of Geostone decorative concrete offers an endless array of applications, with exclusive regional colour and stone selections unique to each local area. 

We have created this two-part mini-series to answer frequently asked questions about Geostone decorative concrete for both indoors and out. 

In Part 1, we explore popular indoor uses for polished and honed Geostone decorative concrete, and explain the Geostone process.

 

What is Geostone? 

Geostone is a decorative concrete range that combines the integrity of concrete with the uniqueness of Australian stone to create the perfect solution for contemporary yet classic driveways, pathways and pool surrounds, as well as indoor and outdoor spaces.

The range is designed to assist the homeowner, architect, designer and builder to create spaces that are both functional and beautiful. 

With options in exposed aggregate, polished and honed concrete, and coloured concrete, Geostone’s aggregates are sourced from the local area of each supply region, and blended with decorative concrete in a wide and varied colour palette.

 

How can Geostone be used indoors? 

Flooring

Geostone’s polished and honed concrete range is a popular choice for indoor flooring. With colour and stone selections to suit any interior, Geostone polished and honed concrete offers functionality and style with an easy to clean and durable surface.

Geostone can be laid as a foundational house slab, or potentially poured over an existing surface. Before deciding on the stone and colour combination that’s right for you, take some time to consider designing your floor plan. 

Bathrooms

It is often assumed concrete floors are slippery when wet, but Geostone concrete floors can be prepared with a slip-resistant finish that makes them both safe and comfortable under foot.

Moisture prevention is imperative when installing Geostone in bathrooms and other wet areas. The concrete must be properly waterproofed to prevent water transfer and water retention in the sub floor and wall joints.

A grout-free polished concrete floor also offers easy maintenance, requiring only mopping to keep it clean and dry. Concrete floors are generally quick to install, provide beautiful visual appeal, and are highly durable and versatile, which may lead to greater returns on investment, and even increased resale value of a home in the long run.

Laundries 

Modern laundries call for a sleek minimalist design, and easy-to-clean surface areas. Like bathrooms, laundries are another wet area perfectly suited to concrete flooring.

Not only will decorative concrete bring life and colour to your bathroom, ensuite or laundry, it can also absorb and release thermal energy, keeping the temperature of your home comfortable all year round.

Kitchens 

Polished concrete floors can be a cost-effective flooring solution for any kitchen space. Geostone polished and honed concrete is available in a range of colours and natural stone selections to complement your home’s colour scheme.

And Geostone isn’t limited to just the floor. One of the applications you might not have thought of is the ability to create custom benchtops for the kitchen, laundry or bathroom.

Geostone polished concrete can be shaped and styled to your specifications, before being polished to reveal a stunning modern sheen. Finding the perfect look for your place is easy to achieve, while waterproof features ensure longevity, minimising repair and maintenance costs.

Living Areas 

The living room is often a central hub for activity. Whether you’re entertaining guests or needing a family-friendly space, Geostone decorative concrete is designed to stand the test of time.

The sleek lines of polished concrete allow you to maximise your living space, while the durability and functionality makes it the perfect flooring solution for children and pets, being naturally allergy-friendly, skid and scratch resistant, and easy to clean. 

 

Understanding the Geostone Process

So you think you’d like Geostone for your project, but you’re not sure where to start?

We’ve put together this handy guide to help.

1.Choose your Geostone finish

Firstly, select from Geostone’s Exposed Aggregate, Polished Concrete, Honed Concrete or Coloured Concrete options, which are unique to each region.

2. View the range available in your area 

From the comfort and convenience of your home you can use the Regional Selector on our website, which displays the range of mixes and colours available in your local area.

3. Visit your nearest display centre 

If you would like to see samples in person or to speak to one of our colour consultants, you can visit your nearest Geostone display centre, where you can discover the Geostone range.

4. Find an approved installer and finisher in your region

Once you’ve chosen your preferred Geostone mix, you can use our website to find an approved installer and finisher in your local area. Installers will first work to prepare the project site, then lay, spread and compact the concrete. Finishers prepare the concrete to your chosen finish.

5. Request a quote 

To request a quote or learn more about Geostone, send your project details and postcode to our team. When you are ready to proceed with your project, the Geostone team will help to finalise your order and can assist with arranging trades for installation and finishing.

Designing an Entertainer’s Dream

Designing an entertainer’s dream home can be a colourful and creative experience.

It’s a chance to design a space that reflects your personal style and celebrates your passion for entertaining friends and family – whether that’s with epic backyard barbecues, patio parties or fancy dining room dinners.

The possibilities extend far beyond renovating the kitchen or adding on an alfresco area. You could go big and bold, minimalist and understated, or somewhere in between.

To help you create the perfect space for your style, we’ve asked our experts for their top tips on designing an entertainer’s dream.     

 

Driveways and Paths

It might not be the first area that springs to mind when you think of entertaining, but the first impression of your home starts at the driveway and path to the front door. 

You can create a welcoming aesthetic with landscaping, gardening, curated greenery and florals, and driveway and pathway materials that complement your home’s colour scheme. Geostone’s Exposed Aggregate range is ideal for driveways and garden paths and is available in a range of colours and stone selections unique to each region and suited to a wide range of colour schemes while blending seamlessly with the natural surrounds.

 

Floors

Before deciding on your new two-door fridge or double oven combo, you’ll need to turn your eyes and thoughts to the floor.

Geostone’s Polished Concrete flooring is durable and ideal for spills, being easy to clean, resistant to stains, and requiring less maintenance over its lifetime compared to some other floor coverings. That means no restrictions on serving red wine or black coffee; your guests can enjoy their meals and drinks while you enjoy peace of mind.

Colour

Neutral and earthy tones are popular colour schemes for modern homes. But don’t be afraid of adding pops of colour to create a statement that wows your guests. Our Colour Consultants recommend finding a feature colour you love, then integrate it throughout your entertainment area in decor, appliances and surfaces such as bench tops and flooring.

 

Layout

The ideal entertainer’s home allows you to stay engaged with your guests while cooking for them. You might like to consider installing a concrete island bench top with forward facing cooktops. This will make the time you spend in the kitchen more of a social event, and won’t see you ducking back to the kitchen every few moments. 

It’s easy to keep the party going with an open plan kitchen and dining space, which allows for conversations to drift between multiple areas of the home and can create a better sense of unity.

 

Outdoor Kitchens

The great outdoors provides a perfect backdrop for entertaining guests, so why not have a kitchen outside too? When it comes to appliances, pizza ovens and barbecues are always a hit, making the showmanship of cooking all part of the entertainment. 

When installing appliances on a patio or deck, follow professional advice for placement and installation to allow for appropriate ventilation.

 

Alfresco Dining

Considering the comfort of your guests should take top priority when designing an outdoor dining space. If you have the room to move, you might like to create several seating areas such as a large dining table with a separate outdoor lounge. If you’re working with a smaller space, opt for a compact table and chair setting that’s suitable for both dining and relaxing, while accenting the area with plants and other greenery. 

Fire pits and sunken lounges away from the main dining space are also popular features for entertainment areas.

Landscaping

Those with polished concrete floors indoors can continue the home’s aesthetic outside with an elegant indoor-outdoor flow for continuity and cohesion. 

Geostone’s Exposed Aggregate, Coloured Concrete and Honed Concrete ranges are ideal for outdoor applications, designed specifically for outdoor use and built to last in most weather conditions.

 

Pool Surrounds

A swimming pool is a showcase feature of many Australian backyards and entertaining areas – so it shouldn’t be neglected. Stunning pool surrounds can be achieved with materials that compliment and enhance your home’s aesthetic. Geostone’s decorative concrete range is designed specifically to function in wet areas, so your pool area will remain slip-resistant and easy to clean, while maintaining great visual appeal for years to come.

Whether you entertain guests occasionally or often, consideration of the ways you plan to use the space will help you design a true entertainer’s dream.

For more information and inspiration about renovations, building and concrete installation, explore our article archive.

Mastering Your Kitchen Makeover

Most kitchen makeovers start with flicking through Instagram, Pinterest and home decorating magazines looking for inspiration.

But mastering your kitchen makeover takes a little more work than creating vision boards.

While the visual appeal of an Insta-worthy kitchen might make your heart skip a beat, it takes functional consideration and technical knowledge to design a successful and practical kitchen.

As the heart of the home, the kitchen should accommodate your lifestyle and be able to adapt to the changing needs of your household over time.

But before jumping into the latest trends, consider the elements of timeless design to create a kitchen that will last the distance. Geostone decorative concrete can help you to achieve a beautiful finish for any kitchen makeover, is championed for its versatility and functionality and is suited to an array of applications from benchtops to polished concrete flooring.

We’ve compiled this list of some of the key focus areas to consider when planning your kitchen makeover.

 

Flooring

Thoughts of kitchen renovations probably conjure up images of sparkling new appliances, elaborate double ovens and high-tech refrigerators. But the first element to consider when renovating your kitchen should be the floor.

Whether you’re saying goodbye to ‘delightful’ 1960s vinyl, replacing chipped tiles or ripping up old floorboards, you’re probably ready to welcome a contemporary flooring surface that will last the test of time. Polished concrete floors provide a hard-wearing solution combining modern sophistication and timeless style with practical benefits for all lifestyles.

Not only are they easy to clean, but polished concrete floors can be a cost-effective flooring solution too, by reducing the need for maintenance over their lifespan. Geostone Polished Concrete is available in a range of colours and natural stone selections exclusive to your local region, allowing you to tailor the look to suit your home.

 

Bars and Benchtops

One of the practical concrete applications you might not have thought of is the ability to create custom kitchen benchtops. Geostone Polished Concrete can be shaped and styled to suit any kitchen design, and polished to reveal a stunning modern sheen.

The kitchen is often the most expensive room of any home renovation, and if you’re renovating on a budget, polished concrete can be an economical material choice. Professionally sealed polished concrete is suitable for wet areas ensuring long lasting longevity in the kitchen, and minimising repair and maintenance costs.

 

Outdoor Kitchens

While there can be too many cooks in a kitchen, there can never be too many kitchens for a great cook.

Homeowners are increasingly adding on outdoor kitchens for entertaining friends and family, and Geostone decorative concrete works just as effectively outside as it does indoors.

You can continue the indoor kitchen aesthetic by using the same or a similar mix outside, creating a seamless transition of indoor-outdoor flow. Designing your dream outdoor room could include polished concrete picnic tables, benchtops, pizza ovens and sinks.

As far as appliances are concerned, you will need to consider positioning of barbeques and outdoors ovens to ensure appropriate ventilation, and seek professional installation of electricals and plumbing.

 

Optimising the Space

Whether you’re planning a complete kitchen makeover or refurbishing an outdoor entertaining area, you’ll first want to consider how you plan to use the space.

Modern kitchens are more frequently combined with living and dining areas to create an open plan design, achieving a welcoming space that brings a sense of cohesion. Optimising space in your kitchen could mean incorporating more storage or bench space, removing non weight-bearing walls to increase the floor area, or rearranging key features of the kitchen to improve workability and accessibility.

Outdoor kitchens provide even more room to move, organically extending the indoor living and dining area when connected to the indoor kitchen with glass sliding doors. The polished concrete of the indoors can be organically extended outside with an honed or exposed aggregate finish, ideal for everything from patios and pool surrounds to driveways and paths.

 

Calling in the Professionals

The kitchen is one of the most common settings of DIY disasters. One recent report found Monday is the busiest day for Australian tradespeople, spent fixing up botched DIY jobs from the weekend.

By knowing when not to DIY, you can potentially save time and money by calling in the professionals and doing the job right the first time, everytime. It also means you can focus on the next area of the renovations, and get back to work sooner on other areas of the home.

If you need more support for mastering your kitchen makeover, contact the Geostone team for expert colour advice. For more information and inspiration about renovating and building with decorative concrete, visit our article archive.

Knowing When Not to DIY

DIY renovations can save time and money, but the key to a successful project is knowing when to call in the professionals.

Sometimes knowing when not to DIY can be even better for the budget. Having professionals take care of the work means you can rest easy knowing you won’t have to go back and do it again.

In fact Domain reports that Monday is the busiest day for Australian tradespeople, fixing up botched DIY jobs from the weekend.

If you’re renovating on a budget, there are plenty of ways to cut costs without compromising on quality.

Opting for hardwearing, low-maintenance and durable materials such as polished concrete floors, exposed aggregate driveways and honed concrete pool surrounds are just some of the ways you can save money in the long term.

So which areas do you do yourself, and what do you leave to the experts? To help you decide, we’ve compiled some tips on knowing when not to DIY.

 

Landscaping and Outdoors

Exposed aggregate is a popular material choice for driveways, paths and walkways, and requires professional installation techniques to ensure the right finish, and a long-lasting, durable surface.

If you’re planning to install and maintain a concrete driveway for example, getting it right the first time by hiring a professional installer, can prevent costly repairs and maintenance down the track.

If you’re planning on  pouring concrete over an existing surface, it’s also a job best left to the experts. It is possible, in some cases to save time and money, but you will need to weigh up the risks with your installer to determine if it will pay off in the long run.

Approved Geostone installers prepare the area where your Geostone concrete is to be placed and then lay, spread, compact and finish the concrete, which includes exposing the stone in exposed aggregate projects, or honing and polishing for a smooth finish.

Professional concrete preparations also include erection of formwork and the placing of steel reinforcement and control joints to help ensure your concrete remains sturdy and strong.

 

Electricals

Lighting is one of the most popular ways to refresh the look of your home during renovations.

While most people are capable of installing new light bulbs and light shades, all electrical installation work must be carried out by a licensed electrician in Australia.

Whether you’re needing extra power points or a new appliance installed, be sure to check the regulations in your state and seek professional services from a licensed electrical contractor.

 

Plumbing

Regulations regarding plumbing also vary between states, but in general, any works interacting with the installation of drinking water systems and sewer lines require a licensed plumber.

 

Choosing Colours

From paint and concrete colours to furniture and decor, choosing a colour scheme for your home is one of the most exciting aspects of any renovation.

But colour selection can also be overwhelming. Determining which colours work best together to complement your home and surrounds can be a job best left to the professionals.

The Geostone decorative concrete range is exclusive to each region, using natural stone and materials sourced from the local area. So who better to ask than a professional who knows the local product.

Visit a Geostone Display Centre near you to choose the perfect Geostone coloured concrete and stone selection for your project.

 

Flooring

Concrete flooring is a durable and hard-wearing floor surface that can reduce maintenance costs over its lifespan, which is why concrete flooring is a more affordable option than you might think.

But correct installation is crucial to ensure a long-lasting and crack-resistant finish.

Approved Geostone installers and finishers are recommended to hone and polish concrete floor surfaces to a professional standard.

 

Pool Surrounds

Installing pool surrounds may be another area to call in the professionals.

Decorative concrete is an economically viable choice for seamless swimming pool surrounds, and comes in a wide range of colours and textured finishes.

Geostone’s exposed aggregate mixes highlight the raw texture of natural stone on a skid-resistant surface, while an honed and sealed finish oozes luxury and contemporary style.

 

Display Centres

You can view the Geostone range available in your area anytime from the comfort of your home online.

But if you would prefer to see, touch and explore the range in person, a visit to a Geostone Display Centre can help you make the best selections for your project.

The Geostone Team can also put you in touch with installers, finishers and other professionals in your local region.

If you’re planning to DIY to save money on your renovations, you might be hesitant to invest in an installer.

While some renovation tasks can be safely done yourself, seeking the skills of the right professionals can save you money and time in the long run.

For more information and inspiration for your decorative concrete project, visit the Geostone article archive.

How to Design Your Ideal Outdoor Area

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.