Designing and incorporating an inviting and functional outdoor space in your new home or renovation can provide additional living and entertainment areas while creating a seamless flow between indoors and out. In this blog post, we will explore some tips and tricks to help you maximize your outdoor entertainment area, making it a pleasant and versatile space for year-round use.
Use Your Vertical Space
One aspect of garden design that is often overlooked is taking advantage of vertical space. The exterior walls of your house or garden can accommodate lush gardens, adding visual interest and a sense of space to your entertainment area.
Planting a vertical garden may require some initial setup time, but once established, it can be relatively low-maintenance. Vertical gardens allow you to free up ground space for furniture and storage. You can seek advice from TDL regarding suitable plants or even have them install a vertical garden as part of your landscape design.
Another way to maximize vertical space is by growing climbing plants on fixed or freestanding trellises. The material options for building trellises are vast, limited only by your imagination. For example, a trellis can be used to highlight a path or doorway, or you could incorporate a standalone arbor as a feature. Decorative trellises can either be a focal point themselves or act as a backdrop, allowing your plants to take center stage once they flourish.
Espalier, the technique of training trees to grow flat against a wall, is an effective way to have trees in your garden without sacrificing space. Evergreen and fruit trees are excellent choices for espalier.
Hanging baskets are another solution for utilizing vertical space. They provide a less permanent way to display your favorite seasonal plants or flowers.
Considerations: During the landscape planning stage, it’s important to consider irrigation and care requirements to ensure easy access to watering points.
Smart Storage Solutions
Outdoor storage is an important consideration when designing your entertainment area. Having a dedicated space to store furniture, play equipment and tools when not in use makes it simple to keep the space looking neat. In some situations, your furniture and storage can be integrated into one cohesive solution.
Multi-function furniture, such as storage benches and boxes that double as side tables, offer built-in storage solutions while saving space in both your outdoor and indoor living areas. These boxes are spacious enough to protect your cushions and outdoor accessories when not in use.
For larger storage needs, purpose-built garden storage boxes and cabinets attached to exterior walls can be an excellent alternative. These options are suitable for storing foldable furniture and shade umbrellas. Additionally, you can choose color-matched storage solutions to complement your existing furniture or blend in with the structure of the space.
Shelving can also be attached to exterior walls and fences, providing a display space for plants and ornaments. Opt for long-lasting materials such as iron for an industrial feel or treated timber for a natural or warm look.
Considerations: Forward planning for your storage needs ensures you have adequate storage options as your outdoor area evolves.
Lighting and Ambience
Mood lighting can transform any outdoor space, whether it’s a large-scale garden or a small patio. Therefore, it’s important to consider lighting early in the planning process to allow for the installation of electricity points.
Combining overhead and ground lighting creates a pleasant ambiance and makes your garden more inviting. If you have ornaments, water features, or feature trees, use spike spotlights or ground lights to highlight them. Bollard lights and step lights can be used to illuminate pathways and potential hazards. For more information on luxury light fittings, you can refer to additional resources.
When selecting lighting for your garden, consider the following types:
- Flood Lights
- Step Lights
- Bollard Lights
- String Lights
Considerations: If electricity points are not available, solar-powered lights can also create a soft and subtle glow.
Planting and Ornamentation
Plants play a vital role in enhancing your outdoor space. When deciding on the planting scheme, carefully consider the types of plants that are suitable for your space and lifestyle. If space is limited, opt for plants that don’t grow too rapidly or take up too much room. If you prefer low-maintenance options, an easy-care garden or a garden maintenance contract might be suitable. Consulting with a landscape designer will help you choose plants that best suit your needs.
Ornamentation, such as artwork or sculptures, can add depth and focal points to your outdoor space. They can be purely decorative or serve functional purposes, such as a birdbath.
If you are considering a fire pit and have limited space, incorporating a conversation pit that can double as a space for a portable fire pit allows you to utilize the area all year round.
The sound of trickling water from a water feature can enhance the ambience of your courtyard or patio area. There are various options to choose from, including natural ponds, water walls, waterfalls, rain curtains, scuppers, fountains, birdbaths, and free-standing urns. Select the water feature that suits your taste and available space.
For recommendations on where to source sculptures, planters, and ornamentation, including water features, you can refer to TDL’s suggestions.
Considerations: Water features require access to a water source via your irrigation system or mains connection. Discussing this with TDL during the planning stage will facilitate installation.
Outdoor Cooking & Alfresco Dining
Outdoor cooking and alfresco dining are an integral part of the Australian way of life. Your available outdoor space, budget, and lifestyle will determine the type of outdoor kitchen or dining area you can create.
For outdoor cooking, you can opt for a simple built-in BBQ and serving area or an elaborate catering kitchen equipped with a wood-fired pizza oven, prep area, fridge, and sink. Luxurious outdoor kitchenettes are often incorporated into new home designs, but it’s crucial to discuss your plans with a landscape designer to ensure maximum utilization of the available space. Consider the lighting and plant choices to enhance your entertainment area, especially if your kitchenette overlooks a pool.
If you prefer a standalone cooking area, numerous options are available depending on your budget and space constraints. A space-saving built-in BBQ and serving area might perfectly suit your outdoor lifestyle. Choose durable materials such as stainless steel, concrete, or polished bluestone for your BBQ and benchtops. Incorporating collapsible sunshades or umbrellas can provide shelter from the elements while allowing for good ventilation.
Outdoor dining furniture comes in various forms and styles. When selecting furniture, prioritize durability, especially regarding UV protection to withstand the Perth sunshine and ensure years of enjoyment. As discussed earlier, space-saving furniture options that stack or fold are practical for smaller areas. Removable cushions can add comfort and style to fixed furniture.
The placement of your outdoor dining furniture will depend on factors such as your paving, proximity to the outdoor kitchen or BBQ, available lighting, and space considerations. Working with a landscape designer will help maximize your alfresco area.
Considerations: For outdoor cooking and dining areas, it is important to consider gas and plumbing outlets early in the planning or home building process.
Screening for Privacy
Privacy is often a concern when designing an outdoor space. Whether you live in a densely populated area or have open surroundings, screening can help create an intimate and private atmosphere. Several options are available, ranging from well-placed plantings to more permanent structures such as walls or trellises. Evergreen plants, shrubs, and carefully positioned planter boxes can provide year-round screening. A pergola can also create an intimate and secluded area in your backyard.
Considerations: Privacy screening should be considered early in the planning process to allow for the appropriate positioning of plants, structures, and ornamentation.
Creative and Space-Saving Furniture Arrangements
If you have limited outdoor space, such as a small courtyard or patio, achieving a stylish and functional outdoor entertainment area is still possible. Utilizing modern space-saving furniture that folds, stacks, and incorporates storage can help you make the most of your available space.
When choosing outdoor furniture, opt for pieces that are comfortable, durable, and easy to move around. Consider using materials like High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker, aluminum, stainless steel, or teak. These materials are lightweight yet sturdy, allowing you to rearrange your furniture to suit different occasions or group sizes. Pair your furniture with easy-care cushions and upholstery fabrics designed to withstand the rain and sun throughout the year, providing a fresh and inviting look every time.
When selecting furniture, consider the surface of your courtyard or patio, as it may influence the type of furniture you can use. Additionally, you can refer to TDL’s favorite pavements for more information on suitable options.
Using Your Outdoor Area in all Seasons
Weather considerations are essential when designing a garden in Perth. To utilize your outdoor entertainment area during the hot summer months, consider adding retractable awnings or shade sails to protect yourself and your furniture from the harsh sun.
If space permits, constructing a purpose-built cabana or pergola can provide summer shade and shelter from winter wind and rain. Installing ceiling fans in cabanas and pergolas can provide airflow on sultry nights.
To extend the usability of your outdoor area during the cooler winter months, consider installing a fire pit or outdoor gas heater for alfresco dining and entertainment. However, it’s important to check with your local council before installing a fire pit, as regulations may vary.
Considerations: Always ensure compliance with local regulations regarding fire pits and lighting fires in your backyard.
If you’re inspired by these suggestions and are longing for more alfresco nights or enjoyable days by the pool, consider contacting TDL landscape design consultants to discuss your options. They can provide expert advice and assistance in creating your ideal outdoor entertainment area.