These days outdoors living space is almost as important as the indoors. Your backyard is an extension of your home and should be treated with the same consideration. Whether you have a vast and sprawling lawn, a concrete patio or a tiny porch, it’s easier than you think to add character and beauty to it. Follow our expert tips and transform your outdoor space.
- Add a source of heat or light. People are drawn to sitting around a fire and it helps creates a sense of togetherness as well as comfort and warmth. Consider adding a firepit or fireplace to your outdoors living space. If you live somewhere very hot, an attractive outdoor light feature can have a similar effect.
- Create a focal point. Everyone likes to look at something pretty, so if you aren’t using a fire or light feature as your focal point, consider adding a water feature. If you don’t have the budget for that, rearranging your furniture to point at the best view – or simply a pretty flower arrangement – can have a similar effect. This works especially well on porches: you don’t need to have a large space to create an attractive environment.
- Keep comfort a main consideration. Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort; gone are the days of rough, worn benches and rickety tables. Today there are countless outdoor throws, chairs, cushions and fabrics that are durable but also provide a welcome sense of comfort and luxury.
- Consider how your furniture will weather. There’s no point purchasing a sleek white metal table if it will start to rust after a few months of rain. Choose furniture that will age gracefully: Australian House & Garden Editor Lisa Green recommends “aged metal finishes which will patina over time” or “hi-tech weather-proof synthetics that come in many sculptural forms”. Surfaces with natural variances in texture and tone also work well to disguise any discolouring.
- Harmonise with your home. You should think of your outdoor living space as an extension of your indoor home and not as a separate entity. If the style of your home is clean and minimal, try to echo that outside. Similarly, if you have a creative or bright colour scheme inside then having a minimalistic outdoors space may seem like a bit of an anti-climax. The materials and styles of your home should appear as if they flow effortlessly into your outdoors space.
- Create space from your outdoor kitchen. If you want to use your outdoor space for cookouts and barbecues, that’s great – but remember to think about aromas. As delicious as it may smell, you don’t want smoke from the grill drifting over to your home or permeating the fabric on your lovely outdoors chairs and decorative cushions.
- Choose the right plants. Selecting plants that will survive in your climate might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people buy exotic looking tropical plants and then are disappointed when they’ve wilted after a week. Choose native plants where possible – they also have the added bonus being excellent at attracting birds and butterflies and require less irrigation.