Whether you have a big backyard or a pint-sized patio, these clever tips will help you create an inviting and stylish outdoor space that you can comfortably enjoy year round
How to create the ultimate outdoor room that you can enjoy all year round
Outdoor living shouldn’t be restricted to the warmer months; with a bit of planning and clever styling you can have an outdoor space to enjoy all year round. Here are some smart ideas to help you create the ultimate outdoor room:
Extend your living out
Building a deck that sits flush with your living area is the best way to extend your space and create that ‘outdoor-room feel’. If you have the height, a deck that sits over multiple levels is a great way to break up the space. Make sure you double check with council, however, as a deck over 1.5 metres high will need consent. If your garden is an awkward shape, decking is a clever way to create the illusion of more room – run your decking boards horizontally if your space is narrow. Get creative and think beyond the basic rectangular shape. Talk to an expert about the style and design you want to achieve for your outdoor space and they’ll help you find the right colour, stain and finish.
Make it functional
Planning and measuring is an important step. It’s great to have a vision for your outdoor living but you need to make sure it will work comfortably in the space you have. Consider the orientation of your garden – where do you get the sun the longest? Do you have a spot that’s sheltered from the wind or do you need to create one? It’s important to ask yourself practical questions.
Choosing your outdoor furniture can be a big investment so you should have an idea of your measurements and layout before you hit the shops. The size of furniture can be quite deceptive when it’s on display in a store. So before you go and fall in love with that long ‘loungey’ couch make sure you’re equipped with the exact measurements of your space. Think about the placement of your furniture and be strict with your wish list – you don’t want your space to end up feeling too cluttered.
In the same way you would inside your home, creating “zones” outside will help make your space feel considered and deliberate. Start with a deck or paved courtyard to define your space. Check out our comprehensive landscaping guide here, for practical and stylish ideas. The general rule for an outdoor room is to have a wall or fence on three sides. Horizontal cedar fencing is right on trend, or if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option try a trellis, bamboo screen or a planter box. We especially love using pergolas as a focal point in outdoor spaces. For added privacy and to soften the look you can train a vine, like jasmine or bougainvillea, over it. If your deck or patio is on the small side, dressing up a corner with layers of plants, colour and accessories will help you achieve a feeling of depth.
Don’t limit your outdoor living to the summer months. A little forward planning will make it easy to enjoy your garden when the sun dips and temperature drops. Set yourself up with a portable outdoor heater for year round warmth – electric radiant and gas bottle heaters are popular choices. If you have the room, an outdoor fireplace is a cosy way to create a focal point.
PlaceMakers have a stylish range of gas fireplaces that will take your outdoor living to the next level. They also have a contemporary range of concrete woodburners that double as pizza ovens – yum! Having a stash of cosy blankets on hand is a budget-friendly way to keep warm in all weather conditions. We recommend matching them to your chosen feature colour for a cohesive look.
New Zealand weather can be pretty temperamental so any overhead cover you can add to your outdoor space will be well worth it. A shade sail is a great temporary option, otherwise clear polycarbonate roofing is cost-effective, easy to install and, most importantly, will give you cover without blocking any essential sunshine.
If you’re undertaking a major project, you should consider extending your roofline over your deck. This will achieve seamless indoor-outdoor living and will allow you to enjoy the space on a scorching hot day or rainy night. A set of sliding or bifold doors will also help to blur the boundaries between inside and out. Talk to an expert to figure out what option is right for your home.
Light it up
Lighting is an easy way to create ambience and boost the mood of your outdoor space. Festoon lights are right on trend and are the perfect way to create a festive feel if you’re having a party. Solar lights are our pick for effortless atmosphere. From little lanterns to long string lights, there are so many options available and the best bit is you don’t have to worry about power sockets. LEDs and downlights on steps, pergolas and round garden beds will add a special touch.
When you’re shopping for your outdoor space, keep in mind that pillows, squabs, furniture covers and BBQ utensils all need a place to live. If you outdoor area is not under cover you’ll need somewhere to store your soft furnishings. Bench seats that double as storage are a popular solution and most retailers will have a cover you can buy for your furniture sets. If your home is small and lacking in indoor storage it’s best to choose furniture that doesn’t need pillows to be comfortable and can be left in the elements.
Add the finishing touches to your outdoor room
- Add fun pillows or squabs.
- Hang a mirror to make your space feel bigger.
- Choose a couple of potted plants that vary in height and texture.
- Fill a pretty glass soap dispenser with sunblock.
- Keep side tables on hand if you need more table space.
- Use tea lights to add extra twinkle and pair with larger candle lanterns.
- For added greenery, try a vertical garden and fill with herbs.
- Remember to protect your deck with timber sealant.
Visit PlaceMakers.co.nz or head to your local PlaceMakers to start planning your own outdoor oasis.