By Michala Maly
It's no secret Aussies love the great outdoors and despite the high density population, Sydneysiders are no exception to this rule. From surfing on Bondi Beach to hiking nearby mountain ranges, you'll see people of all ages out and about. Although winter temperatures are quite cold in Sydney, people still go outdoors. Being outside is so important that backyards, regardless of size, are as much a part of the living space in homes as the kitchen, bedroom and bath. How do Sydneysiders use their backyards? The answer is, any number of ways. Here are a few examples.
GATHERING PLACE FOR FRIENDS
With nothing more required than a picnic table, yeti and some speakers for music, friends gather for drinks on the deck and enjoy each other's company for a relaxing unwind after a long work day.
Winter doesn't stop the fun either. That's when people haul the fire pit out of the storage shed and light it up. It's true that people sleep better and longer during the night if they've been outside for at least an hour in the late afternoon and evening. Maybe this helps explain the relaxed easy-going attitudes Australians are so well known for.
Whether for birthdays, anniversaries or an event milestone such as a job promotion or graduation, Sydneysiders manage to party in the backyard to celebrate. Relatives, friends and neighbours stream in and out like they're riding the East Australian Current. This is not to say the people of Sydney don't choose other venues for special occasions, but clearly, the backyard is the first choice for most.
Aussies also love their barbies and once again, city dwelling doesn't stop Sydneysiders from joining the fun. Why stand inside over a hot stove when you can chuck chops, snags or prawns on the barbie and enjoy a beer while it cooks?
GREEN THUMB CROWD
With the population of Sydney around 5 million, some are bound to have a green thumb. In fact, many do as evidenced by the number of backyard gardeners growing everything from vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers.
WHAT'S THAT NOISE? KIDS AT PLAY!
Backyards, no matter how small, are great for kids. They're contained and safe, close to watchful parents, yet outdoors where kids get fresh air, sunshine and exercise. Clever Sydney parents have designed sheds to be used as a playhouse on one side and storage for Dad's tools on the other, making everyone happy.
FURRY FAMILY MEMBERS
Pets need a place to hang out besides underfoot in the house and the backyard is perfect. Your neighbourhood may sound like the scene in 101 Dalmatians when the barking chain gets started but pets enjoy backyards as much as their humans. Some are fortunate enough to have doghouses that match the owner's home, complete with climate control and running water. If you think that is a little overboard, read on.
ALL OUT - KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES'
Many Sydneysiders put a great deal of effort into their backyards, even managing to make their garden shack an important part of the scenery. Some use them for extra living room, music or art studios, play spaces or a home office. Others instead use them to add a fun decorative theme to their backyards. Beach themes are popular but so are the antique store front or old roadside diner looks. It becomes quite a contest between friends and neighbours to one-up each other with backyard theming, all in the spirit of fun of course.
What makes your Sydney backyard special?