Holiday 365 Days a Year with Bali Huts

If you’ve ever been to Bali, then you would know just how relaxing and soothing it is to lie down on a day bed under an exotic Bali hut.

Thousands of Australian’s a year are looking to bring a little bit of Bali into their own backyard, by turning it into a tropical oasis.

If you are looking to transform your backyard into a Bali oasis, here’s some tips:

 Tropical Planting

For you gardens, a combination of the following:

  • Palm trees in wider open areas, make sure you have space to have a palm tree because they grow to be quite big.
  • Colourful fragrant flowers throughout the garden in limestone and clay pots.
  • Use bamboo in planter boxes as surrounding/screening features

Teak and Bamboo

  • Try using teak or bamboo furniture that is stained rather than painted, add colour to the furniture using colourful throw cushions.
  • Use Bamboo Panels to screen parts of your backyard for some extra privacy.

 Bali Huts – the Tropical Gazebo

Install a bali hut, with their solid timber structures and thatched roofing, this will make the biggest difference to your backyard “bali transformation”. In particular, get one with a deck for the ultimate tropical feel. Aarons Outdoor has a huge range of DIY and fully-installed bali huts, with or without decking included.

Bali Hut in a Pool Area

 Finishing Touches

  • Install a water feature or a pond, this should preferably be away from your gazebo area as water feature can attract mosquitos in the summer.
  • Path lighting like tiki torches can be a great addition especially when you are having guests over in the evening.

There you have it, you could be on holiday 365 days a year with just a few simple design tweaks of your backyard.

 

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TRANSFORM YOUR GARDEN

Immediately transform your garden space

Transform your garden into a relaxing escape with garden features and ornaments. Impress friends and family by turning your entertaining area into a peaceful outdoor setting, filled with tranquil water features or contemporary statues. Your new garden will show off your appreciation and dedication to taste and quality.

Whether you are after a tropical rainforest, beach resort or country retreat look, Aarons Outdoor is able to create any look with our fantastic range available. We are constantly receiving new arrivals from around the world, with garden features that incorporate different cultural aspects and keep up with the latest trends in garden renovations.

Vacant spaces and unattractive areas can immediately be transformed, to become the feature of your garden in no time at all. Simply find the perfect piece to complement your home or create a central theme throughout your garden. No matter what size your yard or budget is, we can help you find the perfect solution.

Aarons specialises in products that have high quality and attention to detail, offering peace-of-mind and satisfaction you may not find anywhere else. All garden features are designed to suit the Australian climate and can withstand heavy sun and rain without fading, warping or deteriorating.

 

CERAMIC AND TERRACOTTA POTS

Create a stand-out feature in your outdoor setting.  Aarons has a large range of garden pots, large feature pots, medium size pots and small pots ideal for balconies and in amongst your garden.  Our pots are available in a variety of finishes, from very decorative pots to very simple designs to suit your gardens needs.

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BUDDHA SCULPTURES

Tranquil Buddha statues bring Zen-like presence and serenity. It will capture your interest with intricate detail and Asian-inspired design. An excellent addition to your outdoor area, place in a quiet garden or flower bed where he can meditate, undisturbed and allow him to strengthen the serenity of your outdoor space.

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STEEL STRUCTURES

Our magnificent sculptures demand attention, handmade from recycled steel.  The pieces are one-offs and will not be seen in any other garden. They are constructed using recycled mechanical parts, chains, nuts, bolts and a variety of other steel materials. The intricacies can only be completely appreciated in person. These pieces are exclusive to Aarons Outdoor and will not be four anywhere else.

Our range includes;

Da Vinci Horse Sea Horse and Fish Rhino
Elephant Eagle Ant
Predator Harley Motorbike Rooster
Guitar Saxophone Train

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DRIFTWOOD SCULPTURES

Handcrafted  timber statue collection made from smoothed timber pieces. With their unusual design qualities, the driftwood timber statues are guaranteed to be a striking and distinctive feature to your garden or entertainment area. The timber fades over time to create a gorgeous silver driftwood look.

Our range includes;

Elephant Horse

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HARDWOOD SCULPTURES

Unique wooden sculptures with a farm style theme for any indoor or outdoor space. They will add personality and character to any backyard or patio. The garden bridge invites guests to explore the secrets of your garden, made from reclaimed timber.

Our range includes;

Rooster Pig Garden Bridge

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Take some time to browse our garden features or contact our friendly staff who can help you find exactly what you have in mind.

 

 

Imaginative Cubby House Decorating Designs for Outdoor Kids Play

As you know, cubby houses are a great tool for imaginative outdoor play.  This article will give you inspiration for Cubby House designs that give your cubby house personality and encourage storytelling play.

Cubby house decoration ideas:

The Gypsy Caravan

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This cubby house decorating idea involves lots of bright colours!  Choose a cubby house with a long and narrow profile to emulate a gypsy caravan.  The best cubby house for the Gypsy

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Caravan cubby design is the Mansion Cubby house from Aarons Outdoor Living.  Be sure to

purchase it in the natural finish because we’re going to paint it!  Purchase your cubby house in a “Package B” or “Package C” to give it the height it needs to look like a gypsy caravan cubby house.

Once you’ve got your cubby house, choose an eclectic mix of bright colours.  Use gold as your base colour for a classy feel or choose your childs favourite colour for a more personal touch.

Next, what caravan is complete without wheels!!  Here’s where your gypsy caravan cubby house comes to life!  You can source old wagon wheels from antique stores to attach to your cubby house but if your up to it, paint your wheels onto the side of your cubby house with black or brown paint.

Add the final touches to your cubby house by decorating the interior with patchwork and some of your child’s artwork.  the more colours the merrior!  Lots of cushions are NOT negotiable.c4cde7d42af0824d7dad70a90368e813 il_570xN_204636960 The gypsy caravan Eclectic Gipsyland on Flickr Gypsy Caravan Interior 2 6a00e5538c318888340133ec48f945970b interieur hyper-couleure 553b63743bcbf017806e7c24265ad979 370c9039ae7f33de2f5d7230a9574ffe

Happy travels Gypsy’s!

The Wizard Of Oz House

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A wizard of Oz house could draw inspiration from the cyclone damaged house (pictured) or perhaps a glistening emerald castle is more your style.  Whichever way you design your Ozy house, I this a sparkley key is a must!

The cubby styles that will suit this theme are either the Mansion or the Castle in a Package A or B.

I love the play house idea of having some stockings and red sparkle shoes poking out from underneath the cubby house.  For a cyclone hit house look, visit a tip shop and pick up some old weather boards.  Nail these every which way on the outside of the cubby house.  This is the best way to achieve the cubby design without losing the integrity of the house.   Some flowers in the flower box that comes with your cubby and away you go!
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Pirate Ship

  • Turn your outdoor cubby house into an adventure on the seas by building a pirate ship theme cubby house for your kids. Opt for a longer, rectangular body of the house, rather than a square, to emulate the shape of a pirate ship. Cut out circular holes for portholes and raise a pirate flag at the top. You can even build a slide that is like a plank for all the little pirates to slide down.

Castle

  • A castle cubby house turns the outdoor play area into an imaginative world of royalty and dragon fighting for both boys and girls. Build your cubby house and then paint it blue, pink or white, or add color shingles to get a castle look. Add a tower or two to the top of the castle. You can even dig a moat around it or install blue outdoor playground flooring to represent the moat.

Superhero

  • Another idea for your kid’s cubby house is to build a superhero’s house. Decorate the house with posters and memorabilia from your child’s favorite superhero. Include a place to hang up superhero costumes and a slide or pole to slide down when your little superhero has to leave quickly to save the day. Inside, you can install a pretend telephone so important government officials can easily call the superhero at home.

Hotel

  • A hotel theme is another unique idea for a cubby house design. Build a front desk inside for children to check other guests in. If space allows, build a separate hotel room or two inside so kids can pretend to stay there. The hotel rooms can be small; they just have to be large enough to fit one or two kids. You can put a small bed in each if space allows to enhance the theme. Get creative with your kids to come up with a name and paint it on the cubby house’s exterior.

 

Young Entrepreneur – Tips from and OUTDOOR products retailer

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Aaron Giddings Aarons Outdoor Living Managing Director and owner was asked to comment on his business strategy and to help budding entrepreneurs.

Scroll to the bottom for a list of hot hot tips!  Read through the article to hear the successes and the downfalls of Aarons business, Aarons Outdoor Living (Previously Aarons Outdoor Creations).

 

 

 

In The Black July
2009 edition
Out of the doghouse By Anthony Black

Aaron Giddings started out building kennels in his parents’ backyard, but 15 years on the manufacturer and retailer is well equipped to deal with hard times ahead. Experience counts for a lot when running a business in challenging economic times. The battles fought to survive and prosper in the past provide invaluable lessons in dealing with the present and mapping out the future. It’s in times like these that manufacturer and retailer Aaron Giddings is relying on his bank of knowledge, accumulated over the past 15 years, to keep customers spending in a contracting economy, while preparing for a recovery.

Giddings, 36, is the founder of a company that builds bungalows, cabins, workshops, garden sheds, tropical thatches, children’s cubby houses and forts, outdoor furniture and pet houses. His range of products are built in a giant Australian factory and transported to his own display sites and numerous retail stores scattered across Australia. Today his company Aaron’s Outdoor Creations turns over almost A$10 million a year and employs 48 staff and dozens of contractors. The business, as they say, grew from humble beginnings, it started life when he began building dog kennels out of 44-gallon drums in the backyard of his parents’ home.

With measured confidence, Giddings says his company is ready to deal with the economic slowdown. He devised plans to offset the ill-effects flowing from the global financial crisis almost 12 months ago when it became clear to him that Australia would not be spared. His objective is to sustain and possibly increase profits amid stiffer competition for fewer discretionary dollars in times of growing unemployment.

Giddings is a numbers man, and several times during our interview repeats the line, ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity.’  In the past year, he has put budgets under the microscope in a bid to cut costs.  One move saved the company A$150,000 when he decided not to renew a lease on a factory manufacturing his products.  He concluded that an existing factory had enough spare space going to waste, and it could be easily used, making the most of each expensive square metre.  Two factories was a luxury enjoyed in times of economic prosperity.

Several years ago, Giddings was operating five factories and employing 72 staff in what he says was a highly over-capitalised and inefficient business.  ‘You can always trim the fat,’ he says.  ‘Look a bit closer and I’m sure most businesses can always find some more.’  Well Giddings did, and he restructured his advertising budget not only to cut costs, but also to extract maximum value using the right media vehicles to carry his message.  Advertising, in good times, was just another business expense void of attention and scrutiny.  Not so now.  Giddings says he has drastically cut his telephone directory advertising spend by A$85,000 a year.  He still advertises, but television and a growing presence on the internet are better equipped to carry his ‘visual message’. These forms of media offer flexibility, in that the company message can be changed and updated very quickly.

Giddings says customers buying his products in kit form and assembling themselves can now follow video instructions burned on a disc.  ‘Yes, we are ready for a prolonged recession,’ Giddings says.  ‘We’re not going to ebb and flow with the recession; my strategy is to attack it, to be aggressive, to get satisfaction out of beating it like a disease.  Blaming the recession for softer sales and weaker performance would be the easy thing to do if my numbers decline going forward.  And that would be a genuine excuse.  But I don’t want to do that.  The real satisfaction would come from actually beating sales forecasts and growing profits and margins in a downturn.  If you can do that in tough times, business should only get better during a recovery, provided we guard against complacency.’

Giddings is a salesman and to keep the numbers ticking over he has changed his sales and marketing strategy to deal with challenging times.  His fresh approach essentially involves adding optional extras to base products at an attractive price.  For instance, Giddings says a base model cubby house, without the optional extras of double doors, a skylight, two flower boxes and a letterbox, sells for an average price of A$1395.  But after repricing optional extras, as a result of better deals with his suppliers, Giddings now offers the cubby, including optional extras, for A$1400.  ‘This strategy is a response to the global recession,’ Giddings says.  ‘People are very wary about spending money, particularly on discretionary items.  Shoppers have to believe they are getting a good deal, or they will simply walk away.  For an extra A$5.00 at the point of sale, I’m offering A$190.00 value in optional extras.  Packaging the optional extras is a carrot to buy my product.  People feel satisfied if they believe they have bought a quality product at a bargain price.   Satisfied customers make a habit of returning, and repeat business is invaluable because you’re getting it free.  Satisfied customers also recommend you to others, again for free.

Word-of-mouth advertising should never be underestimated.’  Giddings says experience has taught him how to evaluate or ‘read’ customer behaviour, another invaluable sales tool.  ‘I study body language from the minute a customer walks in the door,’ Giddings says.  ‘I see what product is interesting a customer and ask if I can assist.  When a customer talks, he or she is volunteering information that I’m assessing.  If customers want to browse, I stay off them, but I don’t ignore them.  Some want you to make up their mind for them, while others just want a quick-fire solution to their nagging backyard problem.  Customers in a hurry need urgent attention … and they get it.  If a customer is aggressive, I make them feel superior without being subservient.  Aggressive customers like their egos massaged because it’s a control thing, they like to feel they’re in charge.  But aggressive customers also like a sales person to look them in the eye and to speak with authority.  Invariably, they buy my product.  ‘Placid or uncertain customers require a different sales approach.  I speak to them with a softer, reassuring voice.  They may want me to confirm they’re buying the right product.  But I don’t over-sell, or it will turn customers off.  Most customers don’t like pushy or overbearing sales people.  Sometimes customers may visit my display sites several times before they buy.  Or sometimes they don’t buy.’

With the sales pitch comes the passion for his business and products.  Giddings says it’s important that any sales person or employee be more than adequately equipped with product knowledge.  ‘Employees must know and understand their product, or they risk looking silly in front of the customer, and are unlikely to make a sale,’ Giddings says.  He says sales people and employees who genuinely believe in their products and services are much more likely to be successful.  Their enthusiasm is contagious.

Aaron’s outdoor creations sells about 2500 cubbies a year, 2500 pet houses, 500 sheds, 200 tropical thatches, 50 bungalows and countless pieces of outdoor furniture.  Giddings is self-taught; his story of initiative and persistence, sometimes in the face of adversity, can be considered an example of how dedication, commitment and making the most of opportunities can bring success.  He says his attitude has never wavered since starting his business at 21.  He recalls how it all began after returning from a 12-month stay in Japan.  Giddings learned Japanese for four years at Melbourne High School.  He wanted to be fluent so a 12-month scholarship took him to Nagoya where he learned more than the language.  He marvelled at the Japanese work ethic, which he promptly adopted.  ‘The Japanese work ethic is simply unbelievable in whatever field of endeavour people choose,’ Giddings says.  ‘Parents go to work early in the morning and arrive home late.  Children practise their sports before and after school.  They are proud people who want to succeed and they work long hours to achieve it.  Living in Japan was such a valuable experience.  I was young and wanted to see the world, Japan provided me with vision.’

After Japan, Giddings, aged 20, deferred a commerce degree at the University of Melbourne to earn money.  He never finished his degree.  One of his first jobs was selling smoke detectors door-to-door when legislation made them compulsory.  The job paid the rent but it was boring.  He set his eyes on a neighbour’s dog kennel made from a 44-gallon drum, and Giddings’ business venture was born.  He would cut a hole in the top of the drum, turn it on its side and bolt it to timber legs.  He would carpet the inside, and the smart finished product included a corrugated iron gable roof.  He managed to salvage used drums (free of tar and oil), from council depots and car dealerships, mostly free.  After a slow start he sold his first dog kennel for A$90 from materials costing A$9.00.  Next, an advertisement in a publication specialising in buying and selling goods generated four consistent sales a week.  Then Giddings approached 50 nurseries and pet shops about stocking his kennels for a sales commission.  It was a win-win for Giddings and the retailers as demand for kennels grew stronger as winter approached.  He needed workers, a factory and a loan.  He managed to get an unsecured ANZ Bank loan for A$20,000 after almost every other financial institution had said no when examining his turn-over, product and prospects.  With the loan, he leased a small factory and started hiring the long-term unemployed under an Australian federal government program, the job start allowance.  The allowance covered 80 per cent of his wages bill, a timely, helping hand when establishing a new business.

Giddings says the first financial commitment his business met each month was the ANZ loan.  ‘I was determined never to miss a repayment because the last thing a new business needs is a bank on your back,’ Giddings says.  He says the business has never taken out another loan and is ‘totally debt free’.  Giddings was keen to build and diversify his business and he wanted another product to complement his dog kennel line, and to keep his workers busy.  He bought a newspaper advertisement to test if there was a market for children’s cubbies.  The response was immediate, with orders to build six cubbies a month before Christmas.  But he wasn’t prepared, and sold each cubby for $350.00, which didn’t cover the cost of materials.  He spent the next month, often working until 3am to meet orders, fully aware he wouldn’t make a profit.  The positive aspect was that he created a new business.  The lesson he learned is to cost a job properly before quoting a retail price.  And Giddings acknowledges he has made his fair share of mistakes along the way.  He says at one stage, the business grew too quickly and in different directions, which compromised product quality and service.

‘There was no checklist so we sent out product with parts missing,’ Giddings says.  ‘It didn’t take long before I had irate customers on the phone.  I was caught up in my own success and dropped the ball.  I hired employees prepared to work for low wages, but the mistake was I recruited too many unskilled people.  That’s entirely my fault because I was too busy to do the necessary checks before hiring staff.  I’ve learned that recruiting reliable, efficient, skilled and hard-working staff is one of the most valuable assets to a business.  I’m learning to delegate much more, although that’s difficult for a control freak.’  Giddings, who works 70 to 80 hours a week, plans on expanding the business in Australia and to other countries when the global economy improves.

To date, his hard work has been personally rewarding, he owns three residential properties in prestigious Melbourne and Sydney suburbs without a mortgage.  ‘Money is a by-product of running a successful business,’ Giddings says.

What can business’s learn from a young entrepreneur? – Aarons Giddings

  • Plan in advance to avoid nasty shocks.
  • Anticipate revenues, costs and profits for the next two years by putting budgets under the microscope.
  • Trim the fat.
  • Find efficiencies and cut unnecessary costs.
  • Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity.
  • Restructure company operations to get the most out of staff, plant, office and equipment.
  • Advertising. Use suitable media vehicles that can maximise exposure of products and services.
  • And do a better deal today.
  • Expenditure.
  • Demand value.
  • Do better deals with commercial and industrial landlords and product suppliers in times of fierce competition.
  • Package products and services for clients to make them feel they are getting top value for money.
  • Be prepared to spend more time talking or dealing with clients in these uncertain times. You’re on their side. Some want reassurance. Satisfied clients will do free word-of-mouth advertising.
  • Show measured business passion; it’s contagious. Be confident, but keep the ego in check.
  • Product and service knowledge. Ensure all new employees are fully trained in company products and services. Ignorance can be costly.
  • Be alert. Constantly look for new opportunities. They can come out of left field.

Reference: July 2009, volume 79:06, p.40

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