During a renovation project, the outdoor area is often last to be thought of. But with the right exterior space design and extension, you can have a space that you are proud of and want to spend time in.
From entertaining to relaxing to how to keep things tidy, if you are looking at renovating your home, don’t forget about the exterior of the home and the outdoor area!
The Perfect Entertaining Area
Entertaining friends and family with a summer barbeque, drinks or a games night is a favourite pastime for many, but without the right environment to do it in, you may find yourself always as a guest rather than a host.
Even if your outdoor space is small, you can create an entertaining area that is both comfortable and functional. A patio that extends from main interior living space is often the most obvious choice to enjoy indoor/outdoor flow, but depending on the layout of your home, it may make more sense to build an entertaining area in another part of your garden. If ground space is at a premium, or your property lacks natural sunlight at a lower level, a deck may be a better option to consider.
The perfect entertaining area is one that can be used for a variety of social occasions and should be functional enough to use in different seasons.
So you can use your outdoor space for entertaining throughout the year and at different times of the day, there are a number of key features to work into the exterior space design and extension.
An outdoor kitchen or BBQ area
One problem that many hosts face is not being able to spend enough time with their guests while they prepare meals indoors. Being able to cook outside takes away this problem and leaves your home free of extra cooking smells. A built-in barbeque should be your first priority, then you can consider adding other features such as a fridge, sink, benchtops and storage cupboards so that you can have everything you need outside.
Shade or roofing
To protect yourself from the harsh summer sun, wind and rain, and to enjoy your outdoor space year-round, it is vital to incorporate some sort of shade cover. This may be in the form of retractable blinds, shade sails that can be repositioned as the sun moves, or permanent roofing that extends from your home to cover part of the entertaining area. Either way, you’re going to need to think about this while designing your home extension.
Being able to use your entertaining area during the cooler months will require some form of heating. Fire pits have grown in popularity as they can be used also for toasting marshmallows, or you may prefer a fireplace built into a wall with big comfy chairs to relax on. Alternatively, outdoor heaters can be secured to the exterior of your home, or portable heaters can be moved around as needed.
Appropriate lighting should be considered if you are planning on using your entertaining area day and night. This could be anything from pendant lighting to fairy lights draped around trees, depending on the mood and atmosphere you want to achieve.
Durable furniture – and enough of it
Your entertaining area needs to have enough seating for your family and guests that you anticipate on having over to your home. This could be a combination of an outdoor dining table and chairs, stools, benches and comfy couches or love seats. You’ll also need to factor in tables for drinks and serving meals. Since the furniture is going to be kept outside, durable materials and fabrics must be chosen so that you are able to enjoy it for many years to come.
A Place to Relax
To be able to enjoy the fresh air and have a change of scene from your indoor living areas, consider how your outdoor area can be made more relaxing and a place that you want to spend time in.
A relaxing space can be achieved in many ways depending on your tastes and lifestyle. Some ideas to consider include:
Cosy seating areas
There are numerous options when it comes to cosy seating for you to sit and read a book, catch up with friends or simply sit back and relax. Hammocks are always a firm favourite and hanging chairs also provide that swing-like sensation while curled up inside. You can build a pergola with cushioned seats around a fire pit or add lounges and sun sails in the corners of your garden.
An oasis to bathe in
One part of your outdoor space can be claimed as a bathing and rejuvenating area. A bath surrounded by gorgeous plants and mood lighting can be a great way to unwind after a busy day. You can also install a wine fridge to make it even more relaxing.
A corner for reading
If you want a private place that you can escape from the family, a reading corner is worth considering.
Install a water feature
Water features create a calming and soothing effect, so installing a pond, fountain or birdbath near to one of your cosy seating areas will add to the overall relaxation effect of your outdoor area.
Keeping Things Tidy
If you look outside and feel that there are certain necessary items that decrease the aesthetics of your property, there are ways to essentially hide them to improve the overall look.
Rubbish bins, AC units and water tanks are all something that we need to keep outside, but they can be disguised or even hidden so that there is no eyesore to worry about.
There are different ways to go about hiding these kinds of items.
Since rubbish bins need to be easily accessible, you will need to consider how you will get to them. A small fence that blocks the view from the majority of angles can work well or a screen that can be moved as needed.
AC units also need to be accessible, but this is less frequent throughout the year. Again, fencing, clever plant design or a small hedge may solve this problem.
A storage area can be created in an unused part of your outdoor area with a gate that is only accessed by your family. This area can hold AC units, water tanks and rubbish bins, as well as other outdoor items such as bikes, your lawnmower and gardening tools.
To keep your energy costs down, reduce your impact on the environment and increase the value of your home, consider opting for sustainable features and eco-friendly materials.
- Rather than relying solely on mains water supply, a rainwater tank gives you access to fresh treated water.
- Solar panels make use of sunlight to power your home throughout the year, and they are able to gather energy even on cloudy days. You can use solar panels as your sole source of energy, or for one part of your home.
- In your exterior space design and extension, opt for eco-friendly materials that have been sourced responsibly. These materials create less strain on our natural resources and reduce the amount of toxins and chemicals that you family is exposed to.
Exterior Space Design and Extension Top Tips
Although we’ve given you plenty to think about already, there are a few extra points to consider when planning your exterior space design and extension.
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