Creating an outdoor room for all seasons
When building in Queensland, even the best homes are not complete without an exterior relaxation zone. Creating an outdoor room that extends and merges the interior beyond the boundaries of your house increases the practical living and entertaining areas and allows you to truly experience the outdoors year round. Somewhere to enjoy a drink in the sunshine, grill a steak with friends and take a dip on a sizzling Summer’s day. It’s not just a backyard, it’s a lifestyle and here are our top tips for creating yours.
Colours, materials and textures
The first step for achieving that seamless flow to the outdoors is to ensure your interior palette is referenced with the choices you make externally.
Mirror the use of colour and materials between both spaces. For example, if you have a tiled floor and there is a slip resistant version available then continue to extend the flow of your flooring for a continuous look. Or where you have timber paneling in your kitchen, you may choose to repeat a similar tone of timber on your alfresco ceiling. Even your style of furnishing or décor can be referenced both internally and externally create harmonious flow. Just ensure that whatever you select is well protected to increase longevity.
The layering of different textures like timber, stone, concrete and even bamboo cladding all add visual interest to your outdoor space. Metal wall art, screens and feature urns and can be used as design features and are best placed where you can also enjoy them from the indoors. Even the addition of an outdoor rug can soften your outdoor space and help to connect it to your indoor living zone.
Another great tip that is right on trend is to add more indoor plants. This is a great way to connect to the greenery used in your outdoor spaces. For both indoors and outdoors, low maintenance is the key when selecting plants and planning garden areas. Mass planting will give maximum impact and also works fantastically for vertical gardens where space is premium. Just ensure you water frequently by hand or install an irrigation system on a timer to help keep everything thriving. Outside where space permits soft landscaping like turf (real or maintenance free synthetic) will help breakup hard surfaces and give kids and pets somewhere to run and play safely.
Food tastes a whole lot better enjoyed the outdoors and is often a lot more fun for the younger members of the family, as the usual formalities of indoor dining can be relaxed. Your outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a built in BBQ or fancy as a fully functional kitchen depending on your preference and budget.
Outdoor kitchens must be well designed to maximize your enjoyment, as this will be a considerable investment and you don’t want to get it wrong. Think about the best position for your outdoor kitchen and how often you will use it. Do you have water and power connections? When building a new home think about the addition of capped off plumbing, gas and electrical points, as this will cost substantially less at construction stage than if you run these services in later.
You may also want to consider adding a sink, beverage refrigerator, cook top and extractor if near the house and possibly a small dishwashing drawer – great for all those greasy hotplates. A standalone kitchen means more time can be spent with family and friends, as you will not have to run back and forth inside.
Increasing popularity of wood fired ovens make them another item worth adding to your wish list. They can provide the versatility of cooking a gourmet pizza to roasts, bread and seafood while adding a chef-quality smokiness to your food that will have all your guests raving!
The Swimming Pool
Whether your preference is slick geometric or a softly curved shape, including water spouts can add gentle sound and movement to your space. This creates a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation as well as contributing to the overall ‘resort’ feeling. If the budget permits an outdoor shower and WC will be a practical addition and one you will always be grateful for, especially when entertaining large numbers of family and friends. Always remember a well-designed pool will add value to the home as well as keeping family and friends entertained for hours.
When including a pool, consider using large format textured pavers or tiles to the poolside as this will create a clean sophisticated look and make the area appear more spacious. Enhance this further by including as much frameless glass fencing as possible – this will also create a seamless flow between the entertaining areas and pool. And while continuing similar flooring will generally help to make an area seem larger, don’t be afraid to break it up a little with a smaller curved sun deck by the pool or a raised garden bed with a feature tree for shade.
The most important part of planning your outdoor room is being able to use it all year round. Installing an outside fireplace is ideal for when it turns chilly, but the welcoming glow of the fireplace is sure to encourage you to entertain regardless of the weather. You can build this into an existing wall or construct as a freestanding structure, either way it is sure to create a design focal point. Ensure you include some outdoor sofas in front to fully enjoy the experience. There are many options available including wood burning and gas, so visit a display showroom and speak to a professional to help find the right option for your outdoor space.
Lighting is an integral part of the outdoor zone. Ambience is essential as darkness falls, not only for safety but to create a moody atmosphere for entertaining. It can signify the end of the day and time to relax and unwind, and highlight the dining table and other key features in the garden such as pool, water features or sculptures. If possible, add a dimmer to the lighting over the dining table as this can create a more relaxing mood for entertaining.
Adding a floodlight to the base of a larger plant specimen can be a key design feature and can also cast interesting shapes in the garden. Long life LED lighting is becoming the popular option for garden lighting, as they are eco-friendly and come in sleek and stylish designs. LED’s also give greater flexibility, as they can be installed in almost any surface.
Planning is key for the success of your outdoor space so speak with your consultant to ensure that the provisions for your future needs are included before building begins. For more exciting outdoor inspiration visit a Stylemaster Homes display village this weekend.