Your Outdoor Living Area Part 2
An Outdoor Living Area is simply an extension of your home’s living space that allows you to enjoy Australia’s fabulous climate, in some cases for the whole year.
There are several basic elements that you need to consider when designing your Outdoor Living Space. Take a minute to visualise your family using your outdoor area next Summer. Think about how it will be used during the day, for evening meals, to entertain and so on.
Shade & Shelter
These would have to be the most important factors. In Summer, the glare of the sun can become very uncomfortable and direct sunlight that is intense during the middle hours of the day are actually a health hazard. There are many roofing alternatives, such as a continued roof line, opening and closing panels, a vine covered pergola and dozens in between. What is the look you are aiming for?
One really good suggestion is to make sure the outdoor surface areas are all weather resistant and can be hosed down for easy cleaning – that includes ceilings and electrical fittings.
Maximising the connection between indoor living and your outdoor living will expand and improve the quality of your home. Lots of fresh air and natural light are essential for health and well being. They feel good too!
To enjoy your area to the fullest, you need to be confident that your every move is not being watched by the neighbours or people walking by on the road. Have a look at who and what you can see from your chosen area and remember the view works the same both ways. Are you happy for the neighbours to watch you eating breakfast in your pjs?
Simple privacy solutions can be devised with landscaping or screens. Be careful that creating privacy doesn’t create a walled in space that you feel trapped in, part of the appeal of indoor/outdoor living is the connection with nature. Get creative!
It sounds obvious but think about the types of furniture and the placement, during your designing phase. The size and shape of your outdoor area may have an influence on where furniture can be placed. Most people seem to cater for casual and dining seating.
Heating & Cooling
Cooling in the warmer months is fairly important, no one will want to sit outside in a hot stuffy area. Start by thinking about insulation in the roof, ventilation that allows through breezes and a vent for trapped hot air at the ceiling level. You can always install ceiling fans and create your own artificial breezes.
Heating for the cooler months can turn your Outdoor Living Area into comfortable use throughout the year. That breeze you needed in Summer will need to be restricted, maybe with drop down café blinds, or a louvre window system. Another trendy addition is a fireplace or outdoor heater – they not only look smart but are effective in a closed space. A fireplace adds that camping feeling to your Outdoor Living Area – I can sit and watch flames and glowing logs anytime of the year!
Cooking & Access to Food Preparation Areas
If you have a great Outdoor Area it seems very likely that you will want to cook and eat there. Thinking through the stages of food preparation, usually in the kitchen, you may like to place your inside kitchen and barbecue close together, maybe with a pass through window or sliding door connecting the two. Next, the cooking area needs to be placed in a good position to use and for ventilation for the smoke. Some people even go all the way and install outdoor kitchens, you can build your own or purchase ready built ones from Bunnings. Clean up time can also be a challenge, leave a clear pathway to the kitchen sink.
Of all the advice I have read, working out your needs for your Outdoor Living Space at the time of planning and building seems to be the best one. If you are using a Custom Home Builder, they will have lots of suggestions and question to help guide your choices to make this area as good as possible. Thinking about the ways friends and relatives use their Outdoor Entertaining areas can also be very helpful.