As you can imagine this is a topic close to my heart. So often our friends will come to visit us out here in the country, especially at the moment with our house being built (which you can read all about our build journey here). But the number one thing we hear all the time is “I wish I could live out here!”. Which of course my answer is “You can!”…. but we’ll talk more on that another time.
The second top thing I hear people say is that they wish they could bring a piece of that good ole country lifestyle back home with them to the city. Which of course you can also do too! But I’m probably a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to the topic as I think you should all just pack your bags and go and find yourselves a little slice of country paradise. So I thought it best I bring in someone a little more ‘sympathetic’ to the cause, shall we say.
I’d like to introduce you to Laura from Sage Passive Building. Laura runs an awesome business guiding people in the right direction when it comes to planning, renovating or building a home that is suited to our climate here in Australia. Something as you’ll know already, that I’m quite passionate about. I only wish I had found someone like Laura a few years ago to make the planning of our sustainable home that much easier, instead I ran around looking for answers and information myself, which wasn’t always easy!
Laura is also just the person to talk to about bringing a slice of that country lifestyle home with you to suburbia having lived in a rural area herself. So without further ado……
How To Bring A Little Country To Your Home
– Laura Saillard of Sage Passive Buildings
Do you have fond memories of country style living? Whether it be from your own childhood home, or from visiting relatives, it can be hard to shake the feeling that you get from being in the country.
When you think about the country what images pop into your head? What memories come up and what senses are invoked?
For me the country makes me think of the smell of horses and leather. I think of wide open spaces and the smell of campfires. It makes me crave jacket potato’s cooked in the open fire followed by toasted marshmallows.
To me the country has a closer connection with nature, both plants and animals. I think of farms, growing your own vegetables, chooks and sheep. I also think of kangaroo’s.
Where I grew up was suburbia wrapped in a country style blanket. It was a growing region that was still speckled with farmland, most of which is now gone. I learnt to ride horses when I was about 8 years old on a property that is now a subdivision covered in houses.
As these regional areas get busier and busier it can be hard to find these pockets of country. I believe this is why the farm stay has become such a popular holiday option for so many families that have found themselves in the suburbs or city. The country offers a bit of relief for those of us who rely on cities and towns for work.
But have you thought of bringing a bit of the country home with you as well? Now I’m not talking about roadside produce, although that is pretty amazing, I’m talking about the type of country living that can happen in a suburban sized block.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR GARDEN
I think the first step in bringing a little country style living to your home has to be some sort of veggie patch. Think outside the box with your veggies and fruit trees, you don’t need a dedicated raised garden bed for planting vegetables. Plant them in your existing garden beds in between your other plants. Grow them in pots on your balcony. Or what about herbs planted in a vertical garden to really optimize your space.
Do the same with your fruit trees. Buy dwarf varieties and scatter them in your garden beds or grow them in pots. There are so many options now and some great varieties that you can get from your local nursery so that you’ll always be able to have fresh fruit on hand.
KEEP SOME HAPPY CHICKENS
It is becoming very popular and quite common in the suburbs to keep your own chickens. Fence off a corner of the yard for their coop and let them roam free while you are home. Chickens are great at eating the bugs and your left overs, and they give you lots of healthy fresh eggs as well. But they can be a bit messy though so keep this in mind.
If you want to go all out, get a rooster as well! But remember to check with your local council first just in case they have any restrictions. Just think! You may never have to buy eggs again and what a fantastic learning experience it would be for children.
BRING THE COUNTRY INSIDE
If you are building a home or even renovating your existing home, and you want to give it more of a country feel there are a few things you can do to bring that feeling and the memories of the country inside.
Country style homes embrace timber. When I think of country homes I think of timber floors, wood paneling and timber doors and windows. Timber doors and windows have the added benefit of being better insulating than the cheaper aluminium windows too.
If you want to bring a touch of country charm into your house you can’t go past a stained glass feature window. If you don’t want to go for the stained glass window you could always opt for a stained glass pendant light.
A Fire Place
The nights are often cold in the country so my memories are filled with a good book, a hot chocolate and a warm fireplace. You really can’t go past the ambiance a fire place brings to a home. Plus if you can get your hands on wood easily enough then think of all that free heating you’ll get!
There are restrictions in some council areas in using tank water for drinking so you will need to check out if this is a possibility for your house. The fact that there are regulations against using tank water for all applications in your home always makes me question the logic of council regulations as there are people all across Australia who rely on tank water solely for everything on their property. Why can’t people in the suburbs or city do the same? Is the rain more polluted there?
But even if you can’t drink it, a small tank on the side of your house to be used to water the garden can be an invaluable tool and save you money in the long run.
Do you have more ideas?
These are my top tips for bringing country living to the ‘burbs. I would love to hear your feedback and any other suggestions I may have left out.