4 essential ways to give your outdoors a facelift for summer

Article by Homes to Love

By the time summer knocks on our door, we’re all going to want an outdoor living area worthy of welcoming it with open arms. Here’s how PlaceMakers can help make it happen

PlaceMakers outdoors paving

4 essential ways to give your outdoors a facelift for summer

There’s nothing more Kiwi than firing up the barbie on a summer afternoon and relishing in being outdoors.

But after hibernating inside over winter, you probably need to give your outdoor area a little facelift to make it a place to enjoy again. And like any good facelift, these changes will have guests thinking it looked this good all along.

PlaceMakers outdoors deck

1. Build a deck or update your existing deck  

There’s little incentive to head outside to enjoy long summer days and watch games of backyard cricket if there’s nowhere comfortable to sit and relax. Whether it’s small-scale or a feature, a deck is the first tuck in your outdoor facelift that will instantly give any area a fresh look. When planning for a new deck make sure you consider access, look and function.

What are your options? 

Pine: New Zealand’s Radiata pine is versatile, long-lasting and sustainable. It’s a timber that is easy to work with, lightweight and takes well to stains and paint. It’s available in three grades; merch, premium and premium quarter-sawn.

Hardwood: Hardwood decking offers a number of colour options. These can either be maintained to keep their colour with stains and oils, or left to weather and silver naturally.

Engineered timber: These types of timber are generally more expensive, but that’s because they have been modified to achieve better durability and stability than solid timber decking. Composite decking, for example, is made from recycled wood fibre and UV stable recycled plastic. It’s extremely durable, impervious to moisture and it’s relatively resistant to scratching, fading and mould.

Talk to an expert at PlaceMakers to find the best option available to you.


Bring an old deck back to life, by replacing damaged boards and securing loose screws. Maintenance will be different for each type of decking material, so before you get the water-blaster out, check in with these decking guides to ensure you’re using the best cleaning method for your deck. If water-blasting isn’t the best option, deck cleaning agents, such as Wattyl deck cleaner, will be the way to go.

Once you’ve removed all dirt and moss from your deck, it’s a great opportunity to re-stain. You’ll need at least two days of dry weather for best results (the wood on your deck must be dry before you start). Make sure you apply the stain in thin coats to prevent puddles. If you don’t, these puddles won’t soak into the wood and will cause the stain to flake off when dry.

PlaceMakers outdoor pergola

2. Install some shade

Thanks to New Zealand’s harsh sun, outdoor living isn’t comfortable without some shade to provide relief from the sizzling rays. Whether it’s a temporary structure or a permanent addition, a shade option is something every outdoor area needs. 

Lately, pergolas have taken centre stage in outdoor living trends. Structural and versatile, they are the best way to make your deck or courtyard look and feel like an outdoor room. Keep it green by planting climbers and vines at the base of your pergola; it might take a few years but eventually, you’ll have a canopy of greenery to shield you from the sun. But why wait for sweet honey-suckle to climb its way up the beams? If you want a stylish shade option now, translucent roofing is the way to go. It allows sunlight to filter through but also blocks out UV rays – so you can enjoy being outside in the sun, without surrendering to its effects. 

What are your options?

Glue laminated beams: This type of pergola beam is perfect for those looking to create an outdoor area that’s elegant and refined because they hold their shape and are easier to paint.

Hardwood: Chunky and rustic, these beams are the best option if you want to achieve a more natural look.

Translucent roofing: There are a few different options when it comes to translucent roofing. Ask about Suntuf Polycarbonate and Tufclad Ultra Polycarbonate roofing; both offer protection from UV rays and are available in a number of colour options. Clearvue roofing is a good option if you’d prefer a glass-like profile.

PlaceMakers outdoor paving

3. Get creative with paving

Whether you want to create separate zones, a substitute for a deck or a simple garden path, paving is a great way to dress up your garden. PlaceMakers have a wide range of pavers to choose from to create attractive layouts. Utilising different sizes and materials will add interest to your garden, but beware to avoid visual chaos. Light coloured pavers are perfect for shaded areas as they will brighten and warm up the space. And whilst it might be tempting to do the opposite in areas that receive a lot of sunlight and glare, remember that dark pavers will absorb heat, making their surface unbearably hot.

What are your options?

Natural sandstone and granite: Natural pavers are unique in both colour and texture. They’re ideal for courtyards, patios, steps and around freshwater pools. Natural stone is more expensive but brings a timeless quality and durability to your outdoor area and weathers beautifully in a natural environment.

Firth designer pavers: These are a range of dry cast pavers that are ideally suited for courtyards, patios and pathways. The Designer range has a high level honed finish and comes in a selected colour palette for a contemporary modern look. This range was created especially for consumers seeking a high-end look and feel.

Wetcast: Many of these pavers feature slip-resistant qualities, which makes them the ideal choice for patios, pool areas, paths, entrance ways and garden edging. Wetcast pavers come in a range of sizes, making them a great option if you want to create a pattern.


To give existing pavers an update, sprinkle a little bit of bicarbonate soda over the area and give it a brush. They will look as good as new. After cleaning, re-sand between the pavers with Paving Sand to prevent movement. 

PlaceMakers outdoors fence

4. Put up a fence

Besides giving your home major street appeal, a stylish fence is pretty satisfying to look at when you’re lounging in your garden. Not only will it provide a bit of privacy from nosey neighbours and protection from poorly-kicked soccer balls but it also helps to reduce outside noise and improve security for your property. Whether it’s the idealistic white picket fence or an architectural structure, a well-designed fence will add the finishing touch your outdoor area needs.

What are your options?

Standard timber fencing: Rough sawn palings, posts or laminata tongue and groove are an expensive option but these varieties will deliver on function and can be stained or painted for a fresh look.

Premium range: For those looking for a slightly more stylish option PlaceMakers also have a premium timber fencing range; with picket fence options and gauged or laminated posts and palings options.

Powder-coated aluminium: Is a strong and durable option. PlaceMakers have three styles available that also includes single and double gates.

Custom: From horizontal fences, A-lign systems and cedar palings, the options are only limited to your imagination.

Visit PlaceMakers or head to your local PlaceMakers to get all you need to give your outdoor area a facelift for summer.

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