We look at how to create extra living zones for your family.
Put up a pergola
Pergolas are usually open-sided and open-roofed, providing a framework for climbing plants rather than protection from the weather, although it’s possible to find roofed version. For further weather protection, have automatic or manually operated louvres installed, or a retractable shadecloth system.
Extend the roofline
A covered structure linked to the house will extend your indoor living zone, and is also the most cost-effective place to include an outdoor kitchen, as services don’t need to be run too far. However, ensure any outdoor kitchen materials, appliances and other inclusions are outdoor-rated, for safety as well as longevity.
Rev up a tropical-style retreat
Perfect by the pool, a Bali hut is a great way to get that holiday feeling everyday. Typically walled on three sides, with tropical styling and a distinctive thatched roof, it’s largely weatherproof and will provide cool shade on hot summer days.
Go shady with a gazebo
Generally a roofed, open-sided structure, a gazebo is usually set away from the house and can become a drawcard to lure people into the garden. This traditional garden building is perfect for an older-style home, and can be a cunning way to disguise a backyard water tank.
Plan a cabana
A cabana – another poolside favourite – can be as small as a covered area that might host a shower, a fridge and a bar, to a fully stocked pool house could also serve as guest quarters or a teenager’s retreat. Furnish with an eye on the practicalities, such as outdoor rugs to cope with a succession of wet feet.
Build a home for granny
Granny flats have seen a huge increase in popularity recently – not only as a space for nan, but as a teenage retreat, guest accommodation, or a place for adult children to live. As with any separate structure, it makes sense to co-ordinate with the look of your existing home. Check local regulations to see if you can let it out commercially, as restrictions apply.
Do I need a DA for that?
As a rule of thumb, the more significant the structure, the more likely you are to require approval. A freestanding structure of less than 10 square metres, that’s not close to a boundary, will probably not need planning permission; a pergola, patio or deck that’s attached to an existing house will, as will a granny flat. Granny flats can’t be on a separate ownership or title, and cannot be sold independently of the main dwelling. Your builder will be able to advise which council approvals are necessary for your particular structure.