23 Nov Indoors Outdoors – Creating A Garden For Outdoor Living
Looking to create an seamless indoor outdoor living experience? Take a look at our garden design and landscaping tips for integrating your home and your garden.
As more people entertain at home and household spaces become multi-functional, the garden has become an extension of the living space – an opportunity to enjoy domestic functions alfresco. How can you use your garden to enhance your home and create a natural flow between indoors and out? We look at ways to use your garden for outdoor living.
A great choice of landscaping materials which compliment the age, style and colours of this lovely property
Seek Design Inspiration From Your Property
Look to the architectural style of the house. Use it to inspire a garden style that complements and enhances the building to which it is attached. Consider the age, character, construction materials and colours to source ideas.
Another valuable pointer, when designing the layout of your garden, is to follow the lines of the house. Are the lines straight and grid-like? Or are they curved such as arches and eyebrow windows?
Use the spacing of windows and doors to achieve sympathetic proportions for garden features and to give a sense of rhythm. Try similar materials inside and out, such as floor tiles that match the patio pavers. Or garden furniture in a similar colour and style to your indoor furnishings.
Frame Your View
From which windows do you view your garden the most? Both upstairs and downstairs, consider what you would really like to see when you gaze upon your garden from a favourite armchair or the kitchen sink.
The layout and spatial arrangement of the garden should spring from this list. Sculptural focal points or evergreen planting will give an all year round view. Or you may prefer seasonal change through strategic placement of plants and vistas.
Think too about which features you need to see from indoors and which you’d prefer to screen. For example, you may want to be able to watch children at play whilst you prepare their tea. But you probably won’t want to see the wheelie bins or the compost heap. Maybe you’d also like to create a ‘secret’ seating area that can’t be seen from the house? Somewhere that you can retreat to when you need a bit of peace and quiet.
You can also frame views within the garden. Use hedges, archways, tall plants, screens etc to create an inviting vista from your outdoor dining area. An important aspect of indoor outdoor living is to create a garden that is a joy to spend time in.
Work Inside Out
It might be obvious to think of bringing nature indoors, by way of house plants and perhaps creative indoor planting (space permitting!). But bringing the indoors out is becoming more feasible as traditionally ‘indoor’ furnishings are increasingly designed for use out of doors.
Create shelter with a stylish pergola that doubles as an outdoor room. Or work from home in a beautifully designed garden office that blends into the landscape of the garden.
Firepits are no longer the reserve of the wealthy and outdoor kitchens are an exciting upgrade to the simple barbecue.
Positioning dining areas adjacent to the kitchen makes practical sense and creates a seamless flow from indoors out.
Creative ways to beat bad weather or dark evenings mean the garden can really earn its keep. Think how lighting can bring unity between the house and garden. I like to think of a garden as a stage set, designed for function but also for aesthetics.
A well thought out garden lighting scheme extends garden use after dark but also gives a sense of drama, either to view from afar or inviting you out. Instead of drawing the curtains on blackness, uplit features are enhanced, and strung lights in trees and hedges give a feeling of depth. Overhead canopies or fully-opening external doors also go some way to preventing bad weather from spoiling the fun.
Why not plan to include outdoor features such as a cinema screen, a bar, a darts board or even table games? A beautifully lit pergola makes (almost) anything possible.
An intimate seating area, just right for Sunday morning coffee on a sunny day.
Create Garden Rooms For More Intimate Spaces
Outdoor living is all about being able to do everyday things outside. Eating, drinking, exercising, working, relaxing, entertaining, cooking, watching films, playing garmes, reading….the list is endless
If you have a larger garden create more intimate spaces to accommodate different activities. Use low walls, pergolas, screens, planting or differing ground surfaces to delineate the ‘zones’. You will be recreating the feeling of being indoors (kitchen,living room, office etc) but with the sky above you. When you have a variety of garden rooms, or zones, you have the best of both worlds.
And now for the golden rule
Glamorous images of rooms with totally flush levels extending out into the garden may get you excited, but always remember the golden rule… stay below the DPC (damp proof course)! A patio should always be constructed a minimum of 150mm below interior floor level to avoid problems with damp and subsequent void insurance claims. Now go and enjoy your garden room!
Need inspiration for your outdoor living garden? Take a look at our portfolio page where you’ll find lots of landscaping ideas.