How to Create a Comfortable Outdoor Space

The exterior design of your home should be about comfort and relaxation.  At the end of a long day; or the beginning of a relaxed one; you want a space where you can reach a state of meditation by inhaling fresh air and spending time with loved ones.

Before starting to decorate your space, there are a few things you must plan. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

What elements to use to make the outdoor area feel like an extension of your home?

Think of this as another empty room in your home that you want to design.

To get the ‘home-is-where-the-heart-is’ feeling,  while sitting on your patio, think about a few key elements that will transform it into a personal and welcoming space.

According to award winning artist and designer, Pablo Solomon, there are 5 key-elements to consider for good landscaping: Balance, proportion, colour, textures, and shape. When you take these elements into consideration, it gives you a clear idea of your design and you will most likely end up with many new ideas.

Think of interesting lighting – your outdoor lighting deserves to be just as sassy as indoor.  What colour schemes and textures are you going to use for furniture and decor? Think of all the embellishments that normally decorate your inside spaces. Use the same theme that already features in your home by extending it to the outside.

What elements to consider when starting out with your space?

Firstly, it is very important to know exactly what you want to do with your outdoor space. Would you like to have a peaceful little reading corner, or would you prefer an area where you can entertain your friends?  Maybe somewhere to sit outside to have dinner during summer times?

The rule is to not just start. After creating a realistic budget, start considering the size of your space, the activities you envision having there, the weather conditions throughout the year and the desired focal point of this area.

Ideal flooring to use

When deciding about your preferred flooring, think practically, but also pick flooring that will intertwine with the rest of your decor and design.

Natural stone tiles are one of the most popular options for exterior flooring and the possibilities are endless – think slasto, terracotta, marble, sandstone, or granite. Honestly, the list goes on.

Bricks, concrete, and wood decking are also amongst the “popular kids”. Although you now know all the basic options, try not to turn a blind eye to ideas such as artificial grass, outdoor carpets and rubber floor rolls. Keep in mind that all the above, have their limitations and benefits that have to be considered when making a final decision on a crucial element such as flooring.

How to zone your space

Fashioning your outdoor area into the most comfortable and stylish space, can get tricky when it’s a petite little spot. You definitely don’t want it to be so cluttered that you can’t move. That’s why it is important to combine different seating options, like ottomans, single benches, stools or hanging chairs.

Don’t underestimate the power of vertical garden options and pot plants to incorporate nature into your terrace. Big, bold plants are absolutely making a statement in 2019.  Pick different colour pots to play around with. You can also use similar looking pots with a variety of different plants in each one. 

When you have a large space to work with, try to divide it into sections to avoid ending up with a big square with too much useless space in the middle.

By incorporating similar colours, textures, and lighting elements throughout the decoration process, all the elements reach a certain flow and continuity.

Tips on adding a fire source

There is nothing that warms the atmosphere quite like a fire gleaming nearby. If you are working with quite a strict budget, a wood fire pit is the best option for you. Why’s that? There are no gas installation involved or the maintenance thereof.

Ask an expert to build one, make it a DIY project, or order one online! Make sure to pick the right size and style for your home.

If you are going for a more aesthetic look and you aren’t too phased about the warmth and the crackling sound of a traditional fire, a gas fire pit is probably the best option for you. This option is more costly, as gas and installation costs need to be considered.

A lot of gas-lit fires are best displayed in shapes such as rectangles and squares. Displaying gas-lit fires in rectangular shapes helps a lot when you don’t want the fire to be the centre of your gathering, but rather a decor element added for ambiance. However, if you do want to make this a focal point, it will look incredible.  With all the different options of fire pits on the market to consider, the practicality and your personal choice will be the final deciding factor.

Creating a focal point

A focal point is something that immediately draws the viewer’s attention to an object or space, without them even realising. This can be a piece of art, a statue, an accentuated wall, a statement piece of furniture, or whatever you want it to be.

When creating a focal point, it is very important to know that you should only have one piece that is going to steal the show. As soon as you start incorporating a focal piece here and a focal piece there, it defeats the whole purpose of that one beautiful object that will catch your eye.

An accentuated wall, with a painting against it, a fire pit nearby and a green velvet couch next to a massive pot plant, might get a tad too cluttered. Instead, choose your element of preference, such as nature, art or a quirky print on a piece of furniture and stick to that. The secret to a focal point lies in the elegant simplicity surrounding it. Make it stand out. If you have a big canvas you want to hang on the wall,  keep the colour of the wall light and clean, or add some artificial lighting to make it stand out.

How to strategically shield the view

Let’s face it… Your home is supposed to be your safe place where you can do what you feel like. Home is the place where you don’t want to feel like being watched (this applies to both the inside and outside). Here are a few options you can consider when you want to create some privacy.

A fence or wall around the house is the most obvious way to create privacy . There are many materials and styles to choose from, but it is very important to make a spot-on pick, so that it blends in with the rest of your house’s design.

Just a friendly tip for the trend lovers – horizontal fences give any material used a modern, sleek look. Shelves are also a great idea if you want to incorporate nature, but don’t have enough time to take care of a proper garden. These shelves that are built into the horizontal slats, can be decorated with plants and flowers of your choice.

You want your fence to tone in with the rest of your house’s design and not scream for attention. Therefore, a dark coloured fence like black or a deep shade of charcoal, can be surprisingly complimenting to your landscape.

A pergola is a go-to option if you don’t want to hide away from the world, but you do feel like you want your own little corner with some shade for the hot days. The fantastic thing about pergolas are that you can grow training plants against them.

After growing your plants for a while, they will start to look like joyful children smiling at you daily. Happy plants make happy people! It will create an elegant and romantic feel, and also add the privacy you’ve been longing for.

Different seating options

We have been babbling about all the elements of outdoor spaces. But now is the time to get to the actual importance of sitting – the seating options. This is a crucial element to letting your space look welcoming to all who enters it.

Arm chairs and sofas are easy to move around and place them where you want to whenever you want to. The practical choice will be to have a fairly basic looking and -coloured chair. This way you can’t get too tired of them, because the pillows and upholstery can be changed regularly.

You also get beautiful, authentic looking chairs and sofas at vintage shops for the fraction of the price you’d pay for it in the shops. With this option you can paint and change pre-owned goods in the way you’d like.

Please don’t forget about hanging chairs! They look elegant, take up little space and get all humans as excited as a child at a theme park for the first time. There’s just that something about them.

The corner of your outside space is also a clever place for built-in seating. With a corner you actually save a lot of space. Put a nice coffee table with this built-in corner sofas, and you basically have a tiny living room.

Using stools is acceptable when you have high tables or a bar in your space. Be careful of how you use them, as they tend to easily look uncomfortable or impersonal.

Remember, the main thing doesn’t have to be the actual look of the chair, couch or sofa, but rather what you decide to create it with. (Floral prints are very 2019, by the way). Think mushroom coloured couches with beautiful floral printed throws, blankets or pillows.

Tips to create the perfect entertainment space

So you have your amazing outdoor space now, and all you need is some of your closest friends and family to come join in your joy! Making this extra special for yourself and your guests, will make this a memorable experience.

You can chop and change some of your furniture arrangements to create a more spacious area for everyone to move around.

Add things like an extra table to put drinks and ice buckets on. Fairy lights add elements of fantasy, festivity and always spices up the mood in a jiffy.  Whip out packs of cards, or board games and put them down in a little corner, so your guests know you thought about their entertainment for the night. 

Need we say snacks? Always important to offer your guests some appetizers. Put out a platter or three, depending on the number of guests of course. There is no need to go overboard though. The togetherness is the real deal of entertaining.

Just as you thought we were done discussing your little party, there’s one more extremely important element that you should never forget. Music. Music immediately relaxes people and create a groovy vibe. A portable speaker is definitely a must-have in your life. Make a playlist for the night, and see how everything just falls into place after you pressed play.