How often is the laundry located on the east or even worse the south side of the house? The Architect having absolutely no thought for the owner, but rather he or her focused entirely on the look.

The owner, invariably the woman, is then left to having to lug the laundry around to a position where the clothes can dry, often ending up making the clothes line a feature in the landscape. “Oh but you can just lift out the clothes line” said the architect, unfortunately it rarely happens and you get used to the vastly impractical eyesore of the Hills in the best view

Landscape designers often make the same sort fundamental mistakes. Not long ago I visited a garden that the owner had recently purchased with the house. The relatively new garden, a magnificent replica of a French palace garden, designed by a one of Melbourne celebrity designers, had hundreds of metres of manicured Box hedge and topiaries. But as the new owner explained “There’s nowhere to put a bloody table and chair!”

Far too often when house hunting the prospective owners will be duped into purchasing a new home, by not realising that the undersized furniture in the Alfresco area was designed to make the space appear larger than what it actually was. The result is that they end up with a space that is fundamentally too small to be practical.

Having a decent sized external entertainment space is essential, giving thought to how many people you are likely to entertain at any one time will to a degree govern the size of the space.

Covering is also important. Can you attach blinds, heaters, down light etc.? Will it look like an extension of the house or a shed tacked onto the side? You want the space to be functional as well as attractive. It does not cost much more to create roofing or louvers that are attractive as well as providing a space you can use year round to maximise your investment

If you have three bedrooms or more it is likely that the house is built or will be sold to people with children, so consideration for not only the clothes line and entertaining space is important but a space sufficient for a trampoline or play equipment. If a trampoline, then it will kill the lawn underneath so artificial turf is important. No play space and the house is not as saleable.

Materials used are critical, like the turf, hard and soft surfaces access widths and surfaces. The garden could be considered as a pile of cash. Where am I going to put my recourse to get the best effect? At the outset you want to be clear on all the components so you can juggle them around and allocate what goes where and or in what stages. The failure to plan is a plan to fail.

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