The Outdoor Room I Never Knew I Had

No I haven’t moved

No we didn’t put up another wall

What I did do after much umming and ahhing and toing and froing is buy the largest outdoor  mat I could find.

And its shown me that after all these years this ol house can still surprise the socks off me somedays.

So in the interests of general distraction from world events and just talking about normal homey things as I like to do I’ll tell you the tale

The mat buying  was a last ditch attempt to rescue my back verandah from  being the general shambles that its been for a very long time.

Now I’ve been trying for a nice comfy outdoor space for years.  Nothing posh – just a clean non dog hair infested spot to sit that doesn’t smell of dog wee.

Never quite got there and to be honest wasn’t sure my back verandah had it in it anymore.

While it might have  size going for it – its wide and runs the length of the back of the house  – it lacks just about everything else relating to style, function and beauty.  

The dogs have pretty much had the run of it. The chooks too if they squeeze under the fence and squeeze they do whenever they get a mind to. 

With a bit of elbow grease its cleaned up nice  for birthday parties and our Christmas Eve get together but on a day to day basis we pretty much haven’t used it – not for sitting and relaxing anyway.

We walk across it to get to the lawn and the clothesline. We store a lot of ugly things there, Curly likes to wee on it because he’s averse to walking the five steps  to the grass and Fifi has always claimed any comfy seats as her own.

Even the table and chairs placed smack in the middle of it rarely got used except for dumping things on as we went past. 

But never say never and one particular change headed me in the direction of trying to bring it back from the brink once again.

When  we put up this wall in our back room we no longer had a full view of the entire verandah like before. It slowly dawned on me then that maybe I could just fix up the part of the verandah that I could see directly from our back room. Make that the nice area and the other end tucked out of the way the business end. When overwhelmed by a space or task its always a good idea to break it down into smaller parts.

The good old fashioned power of zoning.

So whats always good when your creating a zone in a large area

A mat.

I looked online for the biggest one I could find.

I looked for inexpensive-ish. 

I looked for recycled plastic that could be hosed down and take all sorts of wear and tear. I have three recycled plastic mats that I use inside that work like a dream. Easy to clean. soft underfoot, inexpensive. 

Two black and white geometric ones were thrifted and the other from Kmart I use in the lounge room to cover our very scuffed floorboards.


I found this mat at

Now I’m the one always going on about small changes that make big differences but I didn’t even remotely guess at the difference it would make to my tragic verandah at the time.

As a trial though I bought the smallest one they had in the particular design I liked to see if the colour and quality matched up. All good so I ordered the big one. 

At this stage  I was still picturing in my head the mat and maybe a two seater lounge with two comfy single chairs arranged all pretty like in the pictures above. Then reality kicked in and I knew if I did anything like that the dogs would start lounging on it and that would be an end to me lounging on  it.

Instead we washed down the verandah, rolled out the mat, shoved our existing table and chairs onto it and was immediately flabbergasted at the almighty difference it instantly made to the look and feel of the verandah. 

Suddenly I had  myself  a bone fide pretty as a picture outdoor sitting area. The soft cushy mat underfoot , the colour made it like somewhere you’d actually want to sit. A cloth on the table, my old thrifted chairs and voila.

I’ve sat out there more in the last two months than I have in years. We all have. And  not a lounge chair in sight.  The dogs can’t get up on the dining chairs and with it being down one end of the verandah now instead of  the middle –   its out of the way of where we walk  to get to the garden and things don’t get dumped on it. Everyone including myself  has been from banned from starting any type of project on it.

A month or so along Curly still has a tendency to wee in close vicinity God love him so I’ve been experimenting with tree tree oil and other nice smells that are meant to put dogs off.


The verandah still has all its other issues – she still leaks like a sieve in heavy rain and hits about 50’000 degrees on a summers afternoons but nothing a few well placed umbrellas can’t sort out on most occasions. All in its a winner and a  bit like the great dividing wall –  I wonder now why I didn’t think of it years ago. 

You know I has no idea if the mat would work, let alone transform the space when I bought it. It felt a bit like using a bandaid when major surgery is required. But you just try these things in hopes they pan out  and sometimes one simple thing can redeem a space enough that you can see the  possibilities and not want weep every time you look at it.  

Its  not the outdoor area my dreams  but you know whats better than that perfectly appointed outdoor space of our dreams that we don’t have yet? It’s the far from perfect outdoor space we already have, that we use and enjoy because its  arranged with a bit of purpose and intention despite its limitations.

Totally awesome outdoor mat wont hurt either. 


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