Outdoor living spaces are pared down and more casual versions of what’s going on in our indoor living rooms, which may explain why many of us are drawn to that more relaxing, uncluttered space outside. If your finances allow it, a designer can plan and create an outdoor living space that looks as good—if not better—than your living room. Whether it’s the job of a professional or a DIY project, assess your outdoor space and think about what you’re doing before you buy any outdoor furniture and decor.
As extensions of your home, outdoor living spaces—backyards, terraces, pools, and even small balconies—are perfect for hosting friends and family, as well as your own serene getaway from the hustle and bustle of reality. Whether you want a restful haven, an entertainment hub, an elegant showpiece or a space with a holiday resort feel, it’s the furniture that sets the tone.
Choose flexible furniture
Indoors or outdoors, comfortable seating is key to any living space. When it comes to choosing furniture for your outdoor living space, how much space you have is the decider. If you’ve only got a small patio or deck, don’t overcrowd it with too much furniture or bulky sofas that are difficult to shift. Lightweight pieces that are easy to move around and can be stored away out of season are a better option. Modular furniture is also worth considering as individual sections can be arranged to suit your space. If you already understand your design color palette this will make selecting furniture easier.
Invest in a fireplace focal point
Extend your time outside beyond the summer months by adding an outdoor living space heat source – whether it’s a simple wood-burning fire pit, enclosed chimenea, or a more sophisticated gas or propane-fueled design. A blazing fire creates an instant atmosphere and is the perfect focal point. Make sure to place it a safe distance away from the house, fences, and any low branches.
Design a calm corner
Create a seating area in a quieter spot that’s away from the hustle and bustle of the house. Choose a part of the garden that has a lovely view or an area further along that will entice people down the garden. Lay paving or gravel as a solid base for seating and, to help define the area visually, consider adding a wooden pergola or gazebo. For extra coverage, add a fabric canopy or train greenery to climb up and over it.
Blur the boundaries between in and out
Adding a wall of greenery where indoors and outdoors meet is a clever way of merging the two, creating a seamless transition from inside to out. Plus, with bi-folds or French doors, your kitchen or living room will feel like part of the garden all year round. Position pots and planters close to the house, with a few floor-standing tubs and baskets just inside the doors to blur the lines and make the two spaces feel like one.
Relax outdoors, whatever the weather
Set up a seating area somewhere sheltered so you can enjoy the garden come rain or shine. A covered veranda is perfect, or consider extending your roof with a canopy to shade more of the patio area. Position seating facing outwards with no obstructions to your view and choose all-weather woods or weaves that’ll withstand slightly damper conditions.
Instal a built-in banquette
If you’ve only got a bijou plot or want to create a separate seating zone in a bigger garden, consider a built-in arrangement. It can be custom-designed to suit the style of your outdoor area and built to fit so that all available space is utilised. Timber is an inexpensive and practical option for banquette seating, and lift-up seats provide storage space for cushions and seat pads. Stain or paint the wood to match the garden fence.