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Practical outdoor structures

Spring is fast approaching and if you haven't yet got started on any outdoor projects you had planned, now is the time to do it. Whether you have an existing patio you want to update, or add on a new patio, you'll be inspired by these beautiful outdoor spaces.


Today's outdoor areas are more than just a walk in the garden. They are just as much a part of house design as any room in the home. Small or large, gardens are being utilized for extending outdoor living spaces - and with our beautiful climate, why not?

In townhouses and smaller homes, gardens offer the ideal solution for adding onto the floor plan. You can install a deck, patio or entertainment area even in a compact garden with careful planning, and on a limited budget.

Shop around for the best and most affordable options for your lifestyle choice.

A patio or entertainment area doesn't have to be enclosed, but with the addition of a roof cover, or walls, you can extend the use of a space all year round.

When it comes to roofing options for a patio or entertainment area, you have a wide selection of materials to choose from:

  • Adding a sloped, tiled roof is probably the most labour intensive from a do-it-yourself point of view. You can cut down on labour by buying ready-made roof trusses to fit.
  • A wood framework or lattice, mounted on timber, concrete or brick supports, allows you to select from a range of alternatives for covering up. Fibreglass or IBR sheets, and natural materials such as grass and thatch, are all suitable for topping off a patio or entertainment area - and you can choose the one that fits in with your budget.
  • Fibreglass panels are the most inexpensive materials for topping off a patio or garden room, but do require regular cleaning to keep them looking good. You will also find that over time, the sheeting becomes brittle and a strong wind can result in sheets tearing loose.
  • Bamboo roofing options look good, but they are also fairly expensive. However, if treated before installation, bamboo is a long-lasting, durable solution.
  • A fabric covering, while the most inexpensive, is not as long-lasting and will require replacement sooner than other choices.

An extension or addition to the existing property might be the most expensive option, but it offers the most return on investment. It also allows a seamless transition from one area to another.

If you are considering adding on an outdoor entertainment area, consider the benefits of fitting frameless glass doors or leaving one wall entirely open.

Having previously mentioned that a wood framework can be topped off with IBR sheeting, bear in mind that while affordable, you may find this to be the least practical option. Noise levels during rainstorms can deafen you, and IBR is known for conducting heat - making it uncomfortable during the summer months. For this reason it is sometimes a wise choice to look at fitting insulating panels - or installing a false ceiling - underneath the IBR sheeting.

Whatever structure you decide as the best option, do your research on the pros and cons before you install.