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The great outdoors

28 May 2021
Modern patio next to swimming pool

A well-planned exterior setting can greatly extend your home. Make it an inviting, stylish area and you gain an outdoor living room.
Words Juliet Speedy

The days are slowly getting longer and it’s not long until we’ll be throwing open the French doors again to enjoy
New Zealand summer nights. There is no better way to make this a more enjoyable experience than to focus on creating an outdoor space that is as comfortable and inviting as your rooms are inside. Who doesn’t love relaxing on stylish outdoor furniture in front of an outdoor fire, drinking wine with friends while awaiting fresh pizza from your
outdoor oven?

Whether building new or upgrading, the first thing you need to do is think and plan how you’d like your outdoor space to function. Do you want it as an eating area, is it a peaceful reading nook where you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea, or do you want to create a whole outdoor living area? Of course you can make it all three of these things but, no matter what, careful thought and planning is required. An outdoor area is your living room of the garden and should feel both inviting and stylish.


Lighting is also crucial for when the sun goes down. Correct use of
lighting can have a subtle or dramatic impact on an outdoor space.
Think about whether you need good lighting on pathways or decks?
Do the children want to play sport on the lawn after dusk?
Use lighting to draw attention to one or two elements in your
outdoor space. Light beautiful trees from below, use ambient lighting
to gently light an entertainment area.
String lights create a magical feeling if you’re going for a more
bohemian, relaxed feel.




If you love to cook then an outdoor kitchen is a must. Add an
entire kitchen island with a built-in barbecue and/or pizza oven that
blends naturally into the design of the outdoor space. Include ample
bench space, storage and even a fridge to cut down on the trips
inside. Create a covered dining area with comfortable furniture to create
an ideal outdoor eating space.



Outdoor fire places and fire pits can transform an outdoor space into a stunning, modern area for entertaining guests. Add custom benches with comfortable cushions in your own taste.
Position the benches around a modern fire feature and you have an instant space for parties or family get-togethers.



If there are a lot of hard surfaces in your outdoor space, plants can bring everything together. They create a softer feel and are nature’s accessories to a home. Bright blooms and greens bring freshness to the area particularly if your outdoor space is set apart from the rest of the garden. Easy-to-grow foliage is a great way to create a tranquil space.




Good outdoor furniture brings comfort, function and style to your outdoor area. There are many different types of furniture to consider. It could be wicker furniture with ample cushions for a cosy deck or a functional but beautiful metal dining table and chairs. Choose furniture wisely and carefully making sure it fits with both your outdoor and indoor style. Opt for easy-care. All-weather forgiving materials will ensure the outdoor furniture will look wonderful for years. Go for natural tones of wood or black, white, beige or metal. For style longevity, and to avoid it dating, reserve bold colours for cushions and accent pieces. Invest in quality: cheap outdoor furniture quickly shows its value after a few stints of wet weather.





There is nothing better than the sound of flowing water and a water feature is a lovely element to add into any outdoor space. Waterfalls, ponds or fountains can be added to a backyard to create your own little paradise. Tailor it to your own needs, design and budget and make sure it co-exists naturally with the plants and flowers in your garden.


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