Creative Al Fresco Living

PRINT_IMG_1420Here in sunny Queensland, we are blessed with one of Australia’s best climates.  Despite being past the official halfway point of the summer season, our little corner of the earth will continue to be spoilt with months of balmy temperatures and clear night skies still ahead. While the soaring uptake of air-conditioning over the past decade has done its bit to keep Queenslanders comfortable in the humidity, nothing quite beats relaxing over a meal outdoors and catching a legendary afternoon breeze.

Queenslanders have a love affair with all things al fresco; open-plan living and bi-fold glass doors opening to verandas are modern Queensland home essentials. Good contemporary design places an emphasis on a seamless integration of the indoor and outdoor, and Queenslander cottages and houses have always worked brilliantly in the unique climate and lifestyle we enjoy.

Despite the classic Queenslander proving an enduring housing icon, these days, more and more Queenslanders are choosing to live in apartments, doing away with the quintessential timber deck tacked onto the back of timber homes. With more Queenslanders than ever living solo within apartments, there’s been a real trend towards finding creative outdoor solutions in smaller spaces with limited outdoor access.

All over the Brisbane and beyond, rooftop gardens are popping up on large complexes to give high-rise apartment dwellers a little patch of open sky to enjoy.  These gardens are appearing on existing and new developments, established by like-minded body corporate groups who are thinking vertical in their quest for entertainment space and al fresco dining.

In blocks of all shapes and sizes, you’ll find many an apartment dweller who has taken a creative approach to balcony gardening, even in the most petite of spaces. Most balcony gardens are easy on the budget and low on time commitment: hardware stores offer vertical garden beds that slot easily into balcony railings for around $60-$100. If you’re a budding chef as well as garden enthusiast, try your hand at growing herbs on your little patch of balcony.

Communal gardens are another creative way to enjoy our climate and the recent push towards consuming locally grown vegetable goodies. Brisbane has a range of communal gardens across the greater city area. Council websites will list the ones in your neighbourhood, and provide information on visiting, volunteering your time and getting in on the communal garden action.

Regardless of whether you own your Queensland home or you are renting, creating a little outdoor oasis is definitely possible on minimal budget and with minimal fuss. With Brisbane boasting the country’s second highest tally of sunny days annually – second only to Perth – you’d be crazy not to make the most living in the Sunshine State.