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Backyard saunas make a stylish comeback as homeowners embrace wellness trends

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Saunas are experiencing a resurgence in popularity as homeowners seek to incorporate wellness features like ice baths, Zen yoga spaces, and gyms into their garden designs, according to leading landscape design company Landart.

Matt Leacy, lead designer and co-founder of the award-winning firm, said clients are requesting creative sauna installations that blend seamlessly with their outdoor spaces.

“Gone are the days of the old clad timber sauna plonked in the middle of an outdoor space. We’ve even included glass saunas – that we think may just be an Australian first – in beautiful outdoor spaces we designed and installed in Bondi and Byron Bay,” Mr Leacy said.

The health benefits of saunas, a staple of Scandinavian culture, have long been recognised, and with innovation, they have evolved from the traditional wood-fired, timber-clad setup. Homeowners are embracing a wide range of materials and design considerations to create their perfect backyard sauna retreats, from sleek, prefabricated units to custom-built structures with thermally modified timber, fibreglass, acrylic, and glass.

“The benefits of regular sauna use extend beyond relaxation and includes improving circulation, detoxification, stress relief and exercise recovery. A backyard sauna gives people the option to enjoy these therapeutic benefits on their own terms, without the hassle of scheduling appointments or traveling to a spa. I have one client that swears by it for a hangover cure too,” Mr Leacy added.

Backyard saunas offer versatile usage options and can be designed to suit the planned use of homeowners, accommodating solo relaxation if space is limited as well as group post-workout recovery sessions.

Mr Leacy offers expert tips for creating a sauna sanctuary in your backyard, including considering intended use and location, choosing moisture-resistant materials, determining the appropriate size, adding personalised touches like mood lighting and music, and ensuring safety by adhering to local council regulations and installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

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“It’s vital that saunas are on a well-drained spot in your garden, and that that spot is also level. And if you’re going with newer technology, you will also need access to power and water,” he said.

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