For anyone looking for design ideas or inspiration there is a starting point that we always use that helps get the ball rolling. That is the functional analysis, or the way you want to use your garden.

You might have some ideas about the style or theme, contemporary and sleek, cottage, natural etc but it’s a good idea to make your garden practical so that after the novelty of a shiny new garden wears off, it is still convenient to use and provides you with some sort of amenity.

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Case in point, this small backyard in Sydney in it’s former state provided the owner with little temptation to venture outside. It’s long and narrow shape resembles a passage way rather than a resting place. It has an awkward step down with the sliding door track presenting a trip hazard. And it’s obviously bare.

To make the most of this space we have reverse or remedy it’s less endearing features and make it convenient to use. 

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The best solution in this situation here was to install a timber deck. Timber decks look great but here it also eliminates the step at the back door making it far more accessible.

With the addition of a pergola which is essentially a ceiling you have in effect an outdoor room which creates sense of intimacy and privacy. Add some screening and a few plants and the overall effect is a far more alluring space that is convenient to use and will remain so, adding value to the home in dollar terms as well as quality of life for the owner.

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With the functional aspect of your garden covered you can work on the styling, the plant selection, colour scheme etc. My number one tip, make it functional.