The Block’s Rachel Carr shares her top tips for creating a relaxing holiday vibe in your own backyard | Exclusive
You know that feeling of utter relaxation that you get when you’re a couple of days into a holiday?
The adrenaline of first day fever and the pure excitement of being there has worn off, and you are just sinking in to that beautiful state of relaxation where the worries of the world are put on hold for a few more days and everything just feels a little slower and calmer?
That’s the feeling I was aiming for when we designed our outdoor living space. We spent about three months prior to going on The Block renovating our pool area.
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Weekends in our house are now spent with the kids in the pool, friends around a barbecue and watching those blue skies fade into dusk while we sip our favourite drinks and relax the days away.
Whether your outdoor area consists of an inner-city living balcony, a suburban backyard or a country acreage, making the most of your space can really let you feel like you are on holidays in your own home.
Here are a few simple tips to get you there:
Surround yourself with greenery
It’s basic really. Outdoors is green trees and blue skies. So surround yourself with it and make sure the starting layer of your outdoor living design is green.
My go-to for years has been a green wall. It’s the absolute lowest of maintenance with the utmost impact. And whether you opt for the real deal or fabulously faux (like me) it can really turn any space into the calmest oasis.
The best thing about a green wall is they can be as easy as you like them to be. You can purchase the faux walls pre-made and all you need to do is hang and enjoy, or if you’re feeling a little more crafty, you can create your own!
If you’re opting for a real green wall, I love star jasmine. It’s super low maintenance, fast growing and the smell it gives off when it’s in bloom is absolutely divine. Visit your local garden centre to get the best advice for your space.
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Adding in your colours
Once you’ve laid the foundations of your living space with glorious greenery, now is the time to style with décor and furniture in the colours of your dream holiday destination.
I took my inspiration from the beautiful boutique hotels of the Mediterranean and kept my colour palette quite neutral, but if your ideal vacation is Bali then add some pops of red or purple, or it could be the bright pinks and fuchsias of Hawaii that call to you.
Colour can be added depending on your space and budget. Whether you are filling a space with big ticket items like an outdoor lounge setting, or simply adding a cushion to your current seating area, choose shades that can transport your mind to your ideal holiday destination.
READ MORE: How to bring a touch of The Hamptons into your home
Light it up
I have an obsession with lighting that will make plenty of appearances in my articles for 9Honey living. I truly believe that the right lighting sets the tone and emotion of a space.
For me, the most simple yet effective outdoor lighting is fairy lights or twinkle lights, and they look even better if you can team these with your greenery. My green wall is draped in a sheer curtain of fairy lights and there is something so magical about seeing them switch on when the day starts turning to night.
If your space doesn’t allow for a green wall, even the smallest of plants can come alive with some battery operated twinkle lights, which are also saviours in areas with no outdoor power points.
If you’re on the other end of the scale and have gardens galore, what is more beautiful than having them lit up of an evening? A really useful hack is that most of your local Beacon lighting stores offer complimentary lighting plans with an experienced consultant, so it really takes the guess work out of all of it for you.
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