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9 Tips To Creating An Outdoor Room You'll Love

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


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1) Consider the main purpose

Think about the main reason for an outdoor room. Are you wanting to spend more time dining outside, or perhaps an outdoor cinema, or maybe just a sunbathing spot for a lazy Sunday? Knowing the purpose will help you determine the size and section of your yard that you wish to convert and will also help you decide the type of furniture needed.

Outdoor chair and table surrounded by plants

2) Consider the size, outlook, and orientation of the space

Before you start adding furniture items to your Pinterest board, think about where the sun falls in the different seasons and at different times of the day, as this should be a guiding factor in how you set up your space.

If you have a large outdoor area available, you may wish to create different spaces within, such as a lounge under a tree and an outdoor cinema against the brick wall.

Birds-eye view of a manicured lawn, pathway and decking

3) Create a floor

Flooring always helps to define the parameters of a room. You could lay outdoor pavers or perhaps wooden decking. A cheaper but attractive option could be garden gravel or crushed shells. Just section off the “floor” with a boundary, lay down some weed mat, and then fill with your preferred option.

If your outdoor space leads straight out from the house, think about making the transition as seamless as possible. This could be by way of floor tiles or even artificial grass. Try to use something where you can walk in and out of the house barefoot. If you use timber flooring inside and wish to continue this outside, be sure to keep the direction of the timber consistent, as this will make the two areas flow quite seamlessly.

Backyard patio with outdoor furniture, plants and grassy patch

4) Landscaping

Once the groundwork is finished, you will want to consider adding greenery to the space. Rosemary bushes grow quite tall and thick and provide good privacy, as do hydrangeas. Hanging planters around the area can also help to create a more defined feel to the “room”.

Rattan couch with cushions on a timber deck surrounded by plants

5) Add a ceiling and walls

If full sunshine is what you’re after, go ahead and skip this step. But, if your outdoor space will be used for long lunches or an afternoon nap, then you will want to explore options for shading the area. The easiest and most affordable option is to build your new space underneath existing trees.

If you don’t have trees in your backyard, then you may want to consider a patio umbrella, which is reasonably inexpensive and come in a range of sizes and colours. You may prefer a permanent structure such as a pergola or trellis, which can be purchased from your local Bunnings or Mitre 10. To soften and add a more natural effect to the structure, string up a climbing plant such as ivy or wisteria across tight wires.

Tall plantings help to define your “room” and add privacy. If tall bushes or trees are a little outside the budget, you could use planter boxes or barrels and fill them with long grasses or big, leafy plants (your creativity is the limit here!).

Outdoor furniture in front of a rock wall and a black gazebo overhead

6) Create a focal point

This could be a statement piece of furniture such as an outdoor daybed, a water feature, or a piece of art. Work around your budget and be sure to choose something that reflects your personal style.

Outdoor fountain

7) Furnish

The outdoor room needs to reflect what is indoors. This means plenty of seating, cushions, and enough tables to hold food, drinks, books etc. Again, let the purpose of the space define how you furnish, but be sure to choose furniture that can withstand all sorts of weather.

Rattan is currently making a comeback and is a good option for maintaining indoor-outdoor flow. It is hard-wearing enough to stay outside yet is also used indoors.

Be sure to add dimension and comfort by adding layers. By this, we mean different textures in cushions, blankets, rugs, etc. Again, try to create the feeling that the outdoor room is an extension of the inside of the house, by maintaining consistency with patterns and colours.

Patio with outdoor lounge set, rug, and a swing chair

8) Warmth

Big chunky blankets are a sure way of providing warmth, but if your budget allows, you may want to consider a firepit or even better, an outdoor fireplace. This is one surefire way (see what I did there?) of being able to make the most of your outdoor space, even in the cooler months!

Outdoor fireplace with two adirondack chairs in front

9) Lighting

Last but certainly not least! The right lighting adds atmosphere to any environment and extends the use of the space into the evening.

Different types of lighting create certain moods. For example, lanterns or battery-operated tealight candles can be placed strategically around the room for a beachy feel. Festoon lights add a party vibe and fairy lights give the impression of elegance. Of course, you could always opt for a mix of lighting!

If you have a bigger budget, consider installing sconces on a nearby wall or in the pavers - or for a glam effect, hang a chandelier! Low-voltage outdoor lights can also be installed into the landscape for a warm, inviting glow.

Outdoor lounge set with a gazebo and fairy lights over it

Are you ready to tackle your own outdoor room? Talk to Wellington builders Orkney Group Limited if you would like some help with design and architecture services, painting and decorating, construction or even roofing and waterproofing!

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