If you’ve been looking at your backyard and thinking it needs some work, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the boundaries and by-laws of your strata scheme first. The last thing you’ll want is to be ordered to undo all of your hard work at your own expense – which could be a possibility if you carry out work on common property without prior approval!
The main thing you will need to check is where your property ends and common property begins, and how this applies to your outdoor areas. For some strata lots, common areas may include lawns, gardens, fencing and even balconies. For others, this may be included within your private lot. It’s worth reviewing your strata plan and asking your strata manager to determine exactly where the airspace of your lot extends to.
Making changes to your own outside property
If the area is yours then you should be able to make changes as you see fit, as long as they abide by the by-laws of your strata scheme and you have gained sufficient approval. You will need to gain owners corporation approval for any work above what is classed as a cosmetic change as well as any change that can be seen from the outside of your lot. The other thing to be aware of is minimising disruption to neighbours while you work. Even if you are entitled to complete any choice of renovations in your own garden or patio area, you will still need to take care to comply with any strata by-laws regarding noise, dust and disturbances. You can do this by giving your neighbours notice around the duration of your works and who they can call if they have any issues.
Seeking approval for work on common property
Carrying out any renovations to common property requires permission from your owners corporation via a resolution at a meeting. There are different levels of approval required for different types of renovations depending on the category the works fall into, including Cosmetic, Minor and Major renovations. You should always submit your request in writing to the Strata Manager first who will give you guidance on the type of renovation your proposal falls into.
Easy ways to improve outdoor areas
Of course, the safest and easiest way to transform your outdoor areas is with techniques that are completely movable and reversible. Pot plants, hanging baskets and lightweight water fountains can look great and be easily relocated if they are causing a problem. Remember that shade cloths, awnings and hammocks will need to adhere to any by-laws regarding balcony use and appearance. With a little foresight and an understanding of the correct processes for your strata scheme, you could soon be enjoying your updated outdoor area.