They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but with Australia’s beautiful weather and outdoor lifestyle, an outdoor room might just be the space that really captures the heart. This area that bridges the divide between interior and exterior can be an alfresco with a barbeque or pizza oven one moment, and transform into a relaxation destination the next. And with shrinking block sizes, the trend for outdoor rooms is a modern solution for modern homes.
With so many opportunities to enjoy an outdoor room, it’s important to consider how multiple functions can work together in one cohesive style says architect and James Hardie ambassador, Joe Snell: “Traditional design often dictated that we use a garden to present the home like a trophy, surrounding it and emphasising the outside from the interior. Conversely, popular modern design.
embraces open plan living that bridges the divide between the surrounds and the home, embracing a more outdoor lifestyle by creating an extended, cohesive space.” Here, Joe sets out some important considerations for making not just an outdoor room, but a destination that will feel like a real oasis in your home.
Start with the look
To achieve a modern outdoor space, it’s important to understand the look of your home; a controlled zen garden will fit perfectly with the minimalist elements of a Scandi barn look, while a natural style planting would be better suited to a mid-century modern aesthetic as the movement was built on embracing and connecting to nature. A modern coastal look encourages native coastal plants, possibly with a hammock between some palms. It’s also important to consider the history of your look, a modern Scandinavian barn usually won’t suit a tropical garden for example. Once you know the style of your home, begin to incorporate this look into your exterior beginning with the façade, for example, Linea Weatherboards create a relaxed vibe with a simple shadow line that adds texture that’s reminiscent of beach huts and Hamptons homes, making it a perfect backdrop to a modern coastal garden.
By creating continuity across your interior and exterior, you’re able to blur the lines between the two spaces, making the transition less jarring. To do this, it’s important to have one idea that’s brought together with consistent motifs and colour choices.
Less is more
All modern home trends share common themes that need to be adhered to in the garden to create a cohesive and continuous design story. Chief among these is the focus on form and materials over finery and ornamentation. Every aspect of your garden should be planned with purpose. If it’s not necessary to the core theme of the home, take it out. This is especially true of pools, which often end up working against the design of the space than forming part of it. Don’t just stick your pool in the middle of your garden taking up valuable backyard cricket space. Instead bring it closer to the house if not into it! Remember pools are much more than just for swimming, they’re an important landscape design element. A good guideline here is to align the shape and dimensions of the pool to that of the all or part of the building to create a balance of form.
Know your zones
As with the interior, you need to know your space. If you’re building a new property, visit the site throughout the day and take note of the prevailing winds and where there are opportunities for shade. Take a look at the views you want to capture and note the lay of the land. With this information in mind, think about the life you want to create and lay out your exterior space to facilitate that vision. You may decide to put up a screen to shield against an afternoon southerly, or put a children’s sand pit under a tree that provides shade during the middle of the day. Decking can be a great way to differentiate areas. Use it to create an alfresco or pergola area that ties to your internal flooring or rear façade.