10 Creative Uses For Screening in Your Garden

There are myriad uses for screening that will provide privacy and points of interest around your garden and add value to your home.

Screening can be both decorative and practical and can be something as simple as well-placed plants through to carved and engraved metal or timber decorative screens.

Whether you want privacy, to hide something ugly, or simply to renovate, here are 10 creative ways you can use screens for privacy or decorative purposes.

screening with NewTechWood timber

Fencing. Fencing comes in a variety of styles, from dainty white pickets through to tall concrete barricades. With slat fencing, you can place your screening panels vertically or horizontally for a modern, stylish look, and still be protected from passing eyes while enjoying air flow.

Creative Gates. Who said gates couldn’t be fun and still be secure? Try using a decorative metal screen, which will serve the same purpose but provide an unusual and attractive point of interest.  With so many styles to choose from you can match any garden theme.

screening in the gardenGarden Art. Decorative screens can also be purely ornamental and support special garden themes. Think of the visual impact the new decorative screens make when used as art on fencing or exterior walls.  Think of tropical plants and bamboo reed screens with water features for that touch of Bali. Think of white trellis screening, the perfect touch for a lovely English garden with archways and climbing scented roses.  Or maybe you like something more avant-garde.

 

Two-Storey Privacy. With second storeys becoming more popular, there is that uncomfortable awareness that neighbours can see everything you do from their elevated position. A decorative, cleverly placed screen can provide an attractive and effective shield against this unwanted attention. You will need to place the screen closer to your outdoor sitting area than the fence line.  The closer it is to you, the less they will be able to see you.  Try matching your roof and wall screening for a modern look.

screening at the top of a fence to increase height

Increase Fence Height. Need to raise the height of your fence? Consider decorative screens, or lattice, which you can leave bare or cover with vines, which will also add attractive greenery as well as extra height for privacy.

Hide Ugly Fencing. Don’t know what to do with your ugly old grey super six fence?  You can paint it, but you can also cover it with reed or bamboo screening and create an exotic forest or tropical ambience in your outdoor area.  Likewise, many an ugly fence panel has been covered with a decorative screen which comes in a variety of colours and patterns to suit all landscapes.

Vertical Garden Screening. You can use a vertical garden, like Atlantis Gro-Wall, to screen off ugly fences and walls, and this is also useful if you have limited space to have a garden.

overhead screen using NewTechWoodOverhead Shelter. Sometimes, you don’t want a completely covered patio. Sometimes you want to let some sunshine through but maintain some protection. At the cheaper end of the scale is traditional shade cloth, but for a more stylish solution, try screening boards. If you don’t like the idea of regular maintenance, try a composite product, like NewTechWood composite screen. Being fully capped to protect the core, these boards will last the test of time and are UV, moisture, white ant, rotting, warping, mould resistant and zero maintenance – they never need oiling, sealing or painting.

External Pergola Privacy. Provide privacy for your external Bali hut or pergola. You can install clear al fresco plastic blinds which will keep out the wind and rain but won’t protect from prying eyes.  Other options include reed or bamboo blinds, or if you’d prefer something permanent, try timber, reed or bamboo “walls”, or lattice screening. You can also use cladding. NewTechWood composite cladding is maintenance free and has the stylish look of natural timber. Decorative metal screens will also provide stylish privacy while still allowing airflow.Facade screening

Façade. Want a decorative screen that allows for privacy, air flow, and doesn’t require plant life for good looks? There is a growing trend to use Atlantis heavy duty plastic Façade.   Façade can be used to grow creepers and vines vertically up walls and fences, but some people like to use it just as it is for a modern, edgy look which goes well with an industrial-look architectural style. Façade gives you the option.

Don’t forget to check with your local council or body corporate, as applicable, before undertaking any expensive, major works as many have rules regarding fence heights and similar modifications that may affect your plans.

Want more screening ideas? Contact us for great ways to incorporate NewTechWood no maintenance composite screening into your garden or home improvement project.

 

 

 

Restaurant, Bar & Hotel Al Fresco Area Inspiration

Summer is right around the corner, and for Aussie restaurant, bar, café and hotel owners that means that more and more of your patrons will want to sit outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.

To give your customers a pleasant and satisfying experience, now is the time to get your outdoor area looking its best. Whether you operate a large restaurant, a small cafe, or a luxury hotel, you want to provide a relaxing environment that your guests will love. With a few tweaks to your al fresco area, it will offer a memorable experience that will have customers coming back again and again.

#1 Rule – Provide Ample Shade

It’s impossible to have a successful al fresco area in Australia without ample shade for patrons. And there are so many types of commercial shade umbrellas to choose from to suit the look you want to go for.

centre-pole-commercial-umbrellas

 

Centre pole umbrellas are great for dining areas as they can be stabilised in the centre of dining tables. Versions that tilt enable you to continuously block the sun as it moves across the sky throughout the day.

cantilever-commercial-umbrellas

For pool environments, rotating cantilever umbrellas work well, as they allow guests to adjust them to accommodate the moving sun.

cantilever-cafe-umbrellas

wall-mounted-commercial-umbrellas

Wall mounted and Cantilever umbrellas also work well for al fresco areas at the front of your property. As the pole is to the side of the umbrella, rather than the middle, you can place the pole at your front wall to shade the tables along the street without a pole getting in the way of diners or walkers on the path.

high-wind-resistant-commercial-umbrellas

High wind performance umbrellas are particularly useful in coastal areas where offshore winds can sometimes be quite strong – prevent your umbrellas catching a draft and tipping over on top of your guests!

Create Al Fresco Booths

UltraShield Composite Woven Screen using 10mm Fascia Board.

While an open plan outdoor dining area can work well, the same design rules applies to outdoor dining areas as for indoor. Open plan seating gives a casual café vibe, while breaking up the area with booths allows for a more intimate ‘grab a booth and settle in for the day’ scene – exactly what you want to keep the drinks orders flowing throughout the day.

Particularly for bigger groups and functions, people love having private alcoves where they feel they can have their own little al fresco area for their group. A simple way to create this is with timber screening panels – giving a rustic or modern look depending on the timber style you choose. They’re also easily moveable, so you can switch up the shape of the partitions with ease should you find your design isn’t working well or blocking wait-staff from quickly moving around the floor.

Alfresco using UltraShield decorative screening in Walnut.

You can also use screens to block off server areas from the view of guests, giving a more professional look.

Composite timber screens are a better choice than traditional wood as they require no maintenance – they’re rot-proof and UV resistant, so all they need is a quick wipe down every now and then to keep them looking clean. High-quality composites look just as good as the real thing too, mimicking the look and feel of real wood right down to the appearance of the grain, so you’ll still get that rustic look you’re after.

For your hotel pool, you can use composite screens to create private cabanas by the pool that your guests can rent for the day, allowing them to relax in privacy. You can also use screens to separate family areas from adults-only areas for guests without children.

Upgrade Your Poolside Decking

Deck intro image

There’s no better place for your hotel’s guests to enjoy the warm weather than lounging by the pool. However, that experience can quickly be ruined by splinters underfoot or uneven deck slats that result in stubbed toes. Now is the time to check your timber decking to ensure it’s safe for another season, and if it requires maintenance you might be better off switching to composite decking*.

Over time, timber can become damaged in wet environments, leading it to rot from the inside, out. In addition, wood can bend or warp as changes in the weather cause it to contract and expand. Regular exposure to the sun can also cause wood to crack and splinter, causing a safety hazard for your guests – not to mention the looming possibility of a liability lawsuit for you! With composite materials, you can avoid these problems, keep your deck looking great for many years to come, and provide your guests with a safe environment – all with little or no maintenance.

*Summer 2016 Decking Offer

At NewTechWood Australia we’re currently running an awesome decking offer to help you Get Deck Ready for the summer crowds – spend over $4,400 on decking and you’ll receive a $500 voucher towards one of those commercial shade umbrellas you see above! Check out the full details of the offer here!

Increase the Resale Value of Your Home

Looking for some ways to increase the resale value of your home so you can sell it this spring? September through November are the best months for putting your property on the market, with real estate professionals noticing as much as a 20 percent boost in home sales in Perth during this time. While the brighter weather and renewed energy of the season may make potential buyers see your home in a more attractive light, you’ll also need to put in some effort yourself to boost the value of your home.

From enhancing that all-important curb appeal to giving your interior a makeover, here are the tips that will impress potential buyers and increase the resale value of your property.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

You don’t have to paint your entire home if it’s going to break the bank, but painting rooms that are heavily trafficked (the kitchen and bathroom) or those that look scuffed could increase the value of your home by 1 to 3 percent. Also, your son’s forest green bedroom or the aqua colour in the guest bathroom could certainly benefit from a redo – bold and garish paint colours are almost never well-received by potential buyers. Opt instead for greys, off-whites, creams and other neutral colours.

Eliminate Clutter

Eliminate Clutter

You can boost the resale value of your home without spending a dollar. Spend a weekend cleaning out all the items that make your home look cluttered, busy and ‘lived in,’ like family photographs, small kitchen appliances, books, and toys. Declutter as much as possible, with the goal of creating an open, clean environment that a buyer could envision themselves living in. Also, do a thorough cleaning in all parts of your home or hire professional cleaning services. This will make your home so much brighter, roomier and more appealing to potential buyers!

Increase Curb Appeal

Increase curb appeal with cladding

Increasing your curb appeal is one of the most lucrative investments you can make into the resale value of your home. First impressions are important, and a stunning exterior brings a greater number of interested parties to your door to see the rest of the house.

But go a step further and increase your curb appeal with features that not only add to the aesthetics but are also of benefit to the property’s durability and security and you’re really onto a winner.

Adding timber cladding to the exterior walls not only gives a home a unique design, it also helps to keep the property better protected from the elements. This will add value to your property in the eyes of potential buyers, who want a home that can stand the test of time. Composite timber cladding offers the warmth and luxury of natural wood, combined with a superior level of protection and durability as it is UV and stain resistant, impervious to water and doesn’t rot with weathering. Also, there is ‘no maintenance required’ – three golden words that homebuyers love to hear!

UltraShield slat fencing in Teak, used for front fence.

Another great way to improve the curb appeal is to fence the front yard. Front yard fencing not only offers greater privacy and security, but it makes the front yard a usable space, rather than just a pretty lawn for show. When the front yard is fenced in, homeowners can use the space for kids or animals to safely play. Again, opting for composite timber fencing is a great choice as it gives that homey, welcoming timber aesthetic, but with none of the maintenance issues that comes with real timber.

Kitchen or Bathroom Upgrades

Make sure your kitchen and bathroom are in excellent condition when putting your home on the market this spring. These two rooms can modernise or date a home very quickly, so they are major selling points when done right. You certainly don’t need to do a complete remodel, but if, for example, the bathroom sink is cracked or a new kitchen countertop would turn the room from ‘needing work’ to ‘immediately liveable’, then consider it a small renovation project with a big return.

Make the most of the backyard

Make the most of your backyard with decking

With the warmer climate here in Perth, and Australia-wide, the backyard of people’s homes often become an extension of the living space once the sun comes out, so buyers are looking at the potential of the yard just as much as the living room.

Creating a decked outdoor entertaining space will quickly increase your home’s resale value and could be the feature that persuades them to make an offer. Composite timber decking will give you the best value for your investment – it’s fully capped for Ultra Protection against moisture, which means there is no risk of water damage or rot so it won’t need to be revarnished or replaced every few years.

Give your home some tender loving care and you’re likely to see a return on time and money invested. Making an effort to improve the look and feel of your home is especially important when the property market in Perth isn’t as robust as it once was. With a few simple DIY or renovation projects, you can increase the resale value of your home and help you to get your asking price.

6 Sustainable Building Tips to Coincide with Green Building Day 2016

With six months passed since the signing of the momentous Paris Agreement, embracing sustainability is becoming the wave of the future. Green Building Day in Perth is right around the corner on 23 June 2016, with many of the leading names in construction and environment coming together in Curtin University to discuss how the building sector must modernise practices in order to contribute to the ‘two degree world’ we’re aiming for.

So with that in mind we have put together six of our top sustainable building tips!

Use Sustainable Materials

Sustainable Composite Decking
Sustainable Composite Decking

The use of sustainable materials is important for the future of our resources.  While sustainably sourced timber is available, with the high level of construction projects going on around WA and Australia-wide, it is becoming more difficult to sustainably source timber in such large quantities, and thus more of the world’s forests are being pillaged.

Using composite timber building materials for things like flooring, decking, exterior wall cladding and fencing is a solution that not only matches the aesthetics of timber, but even brings enhanced benefits to the build.

Quality composite materials (such as Ultrashield, manufactured by NewTechWood) come unbelievably close to replicating the look and feel of real timber, even down to the texture and grooves of the wood grain. And they have the added benefit of being made from recycled materials using sustainable processes, including recycled timber shavings and plastic milk bottles. In addition, composite material are more durable than timber, do not rot and do not need maintenance – thus less replacement, less wastage and less chemical treatments needed – all further green positives.

Use a Rainwater Collection System

A rainwater harvesting system gathers up the water as it runs off the roof of your building and stores it for other uses. This collected water can then be reused in areas not meant for human consumption, like in toilets and for watering plants or lawns. This way, the building will not be wasting precious drinking water in areas where it is not needed.

Focus on Insulation

A large amount of the energy usage for a building comes from heating and cooling, accounting for about 50 percent of energy costs. Heat in the winter and cooling in the summer can easily escape through leaks around doors, windows and ducts, resulting in more energy being used to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Pay special attention to these areas throughout the construction process to ensure that they are properly sealed. Even a layer of insulating fibre in the roof can have a profound impact on the energy needed to heat and cool a home or building. Once the building is constructed, install thermostats and set the temperature as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is tolerable in the summer to avoid heavy energy usage.

Architects and planners should also keep passive heating and cooling in mind when laying the plans for a new build. This means taking into account the position of the sun in the mornings and afternoons around a new development, so they can position the layout of doors, windows and rooms to take advantage of the natural heat or cooling in an area. For example, for a building in an area that requires heating, positioning a large window or sliding door to face the morning sun would allow it to heat the hard floor, which would emit heat to the home for the remainder of the day. Conversely, in areas that tend to need more cooling, positioning windows away from the sun’s location at the hottest part of the day and using shade to your advantage will cut energy costs significantly.

Install Vertical Wall Gardens

Green Wall Vertical Garden
Gro Wall Vertical Garden from Urban Direct Wholesale

Speaking of insulation, it doesn’t have to be all hidden in the attic and wall cavities – some insulation can be a beautiful eco feature of a home or even a commercial build! We’re talking of course about vertical gardens, which serve as an excellent way to make use of an empty wall or an unused corner of your building.

Having live plants growing helps to purify the surrounding air and beautify your building. Green walls can even help you to meet the required national energy efficiency regulations and Green Ratings on building design. They can also can act as a thermal insulator for buildings, cooling in summer and retaining heat in winter.

Install Solar Panels

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Solar panels are one of the greatest investments you can make for your building. While they do come with a substantial initial installation cost, that cost is far outweighed by the energy savings over the life of the building.

Solar energy is clean and renewable, so you can freely use this energy source without worrying about harm to the environment. You may even be eligible to receive rebates from the government for installing energy-saving solar panels.

Recycle Construction Materials

Once a building is completed, you’ve got to do something with the waste and leftover materials. Recycling these materials prevents them from ending up in landfills and cluttering up our environment. If any of the materials are still usable, save them for a future building project, or sell them to another builder who has an immediate need for them.