With Covid-19, we are spending more time in our homes and gardens than ever before, and I felt that this week we should look at some ideas on how we can extend our living space outdoors by maximising our patios, balconies and gardens to their full potential.
Creating a usable, tranquil outdoor living area will not only add style and functionality to your home, but it can also increase its value. Here are some ideas on how you could best utilise your outdoor living space.
First, it is important to decide how you will use the new outdoor living space. Is it to sit and enjoy a morning coffee or would you prefer to have dinner in the evenings? The function of the room will partially dictate its location. South facing gardens tend to work best to maximise the sunlight.
If you want an area for a morning coffee, it's best to choose an east-facing aspect for maximum warmth. A balcony, deck or an area in your garden can be perfect. A small bistro style set is the ideal choice for a quaint coffee area.
Ensure you choose furniture that is weather resistant with performance fabrics for cushions. Wicker and rattan furniture is a great choice.
If you are planning alfresco dining, then consider the distance from your kitchen to the outdoor table. If you wish to use your outdoor dining area all summer, then you might like to consider building a pizza oven or a barbecue area. If you need to incorporate protection from the heat or rain, consider gazebos, awnings and pergolas where you can place your furnishings underneath.
My favourite thing to do in my outdoor living space is to relax in comfortable weather resistance sofas and soak up the sun.
There are lots of different style sofas on the market to include two-seater, three-seater and large corner sofas. Choose some stylish weather resistant scatter cushions to help create a unique look.
Consider a fire pit for heat, atmosphere and a great focal point. In addition, you could also add a home cinema outdoors as there many outdoor projectors that allow you to stream Netflix to enable you to watch your favourite movie amongst the stars.
If your outdoor space incorporates both a dining area and a living area consider zoning with the addition of an all-weather outdoor rug.
Our eco-friendly rugs offer a soft-textured experience underfoot and are water/mould resistant and easy to clean. Outdoor rugs can bring the feeling of having your living room in your garden and maximise space that otherwise might not be used.
Remember your outdoor living space should be an extension of your indoor living space, so choose your accessories wisely to ensure it compliments your interior schemes and connects both indoor and outdoor effortlessly.
Some accessories to consider are lanterns, potted plants and throws for additional warmth on those cooler evenings.
Additional lighting may be required for your outdoor space. String solar lights or battery-operated solar lights is a great choice, especially for the summer months when you can maximise the sunlight. Alternatively, uplighters can add atmospheric lighting to your space.
Every outdoor living space should have a great view. If yours does not then you can easily create one with a beautiful flower bed, fast-growing bamboo plants, some all-weather artwork or an outdoor fire.
If there is a topic that you would like covered in a future column, then please drop me an email with your suggestions.
Louise is a former winner of TV3’s Showhouse Showdown. Contact 086 3999926; email firstname.lastname@example.org; www.aspiredesign.ie.