Aussies love the outdoors! And while sunshine and greenery play a huge role in our happiness levels, The Block courtyards showcase a host of other important features to include in your 10-out-of-10 space.
One couple making a big impact on the judges week after week are Jesse and Mel from Victoria, who reaped further praise with their glamorous, boutique-hotel style outdoor area.
Here's how to get their magazine-worthy outdoor entertaining space in your home.
Vertical space as a feature
The Oslo courtyards are challenging to work with – the useable footprint is small yet there is abundant vertical expanse. With such an unusual working area, the couples got creative by thinking up ways to ensure no square metre went to waste.
The result? Incorporating two contrasting materials to draw the eye towards the sky – colorbond wall panelling, which provided subtle vertical lines; and an incredible mosaic-tiled feature wall with over 105,000 tiles… that they laid themselves!
Large-scale tilework, especially on a sprawling vertical surface area, can gobsmack guests. The pair went with climbing vines as the feature artwork, adding an abstract form of greenery to the courtyard.
Additionally, they ensured their lighting layout (which also climbs the wall) highlights the tiles and looks magical at night.
Like Jesse and Mel, choosing to incorporate a BBQ in your entertaining area is guaranteed to attract high scores (whether it's from The Block judges, buyers or your own friends and family).
This feature isn't a fluffy extra but integral to a good entertaining space, and a Natural Gas fuelled BBQ is the ultimate seasoning. Not only does it ensure greener air (given it burns cleaner than other fuels), it also serves up flexible cooking that gives you plenty of control for chef like precision – and the added benefit of not having to worry about empty LPG bottles mid-cooking.
Jesse and Mel's in-built chic gas BBQ area, along with sleek bar fridge and full-size dining table, completes the picture of a high-end space that works to its maximum potential.
Subtle and unexpected design
Not everything needs to be as 'wow' as a two-storey mosaic-tile feature wall to have impact. Jesse and Mel's use of cantilevered seating with LED strip lighting is a perfect example of this.
Darren Palmer was also impressed to discover that the outdoor seating didn't touch the floor. "What you get is a sense of space visually that you can only achieve when you elevate things off the ground," he explained.
The clever elevation moves don't stop there – if you want to incorporate live greenery by way of a garden bed but lack the floor area, then don't be afraid to raise it up.
Instead of installing a plant bed on ground level, the height of Jesse and Mel's garden bed sits behind the seating area, keeping tight to the edge of the space.
A delighted Darren said, "You have the opportunity for plants but you haven't encroached on the footprint, so what we've got is a useable space that functions highly."
Natural Gas – Once you've got it, you'll get it.