It’s a known fact; Aussies love the outdoors, particularly when it comes to everyday living and entertaining. Its one of the main reasons why architecture has seen such a shift towards open plan living, large voids and indoor/outdoor spaces. When creating an outdoor room it is important to consider exactly what it is you would like to achieve with the space – this might seem like common sense, but an unplanned area can run into issues down the track.
1. Your room must be functional and usable all year.
The majority of homes are now designed to take full advantage of the best aspects available, whether it be beautiful views, protection from the afternoon sun or capturing cooling breezes. In most instances though, an outdoor area will require some level of shade, privacy or protection throughout the day to be best utilised.
Factors to consider:
What is your key issue?
- Sun, heat, glare, rain, wind, insects, leaves or neighbours?
What little touches will make the space more comfortable throughout the year?
- Fan, lighting or heating?
What do you want to achieve with the area?
- Allow sunlight through occasionally?
- See the stars at night, but be protected from rain if required?
- Capture cool breezes and create ventilation?
- Protect from the sun, but maintain views?
- Insulate and regulate internal temperatures?
2. Your room must have a sense of privacy and enclosure.
A well-designed outdoor area will have a sense of enclosure and clearly defined boundaries. In most instances the space will utilise an existing wall (or several) and extend outwards. Another option is to design a free-standing solution separated from the home. The latter is a popular choice for larger backyards and pool areas.
- Consider flexible solutions like blinds that offer protection and privacy but maintains views.
- Try limiting the number of ‘true’ walls by utilising straight drop blinds or sliding glass doors.
- Define the boundaries of the area using other elements such as landscaping.
3. Your room must complement existing structures.
Matching materials and colours can be difficult, but it’s the essential element in giving flow and consistency to a new outdoor room. If you cannot get a perfect match consider feature options that might complement the existing structure. For example, you could add timber or contrasting coloured aluminium to a rendered or brick home.
It is also important to choose materials that are suitable for the environment. Material choice is very important, especially if you live in a coastal area, high wind zone or storm prone region. Make sure you carefully check over all the components and ensure they are suitable for your location and are not going to easily be damaged or deteriorate over time.
As a guide you should always choose:
- Extruded aluminium rather than steel – it is much stronger and resistant to hail
- UV treated plastics – less prone to crack, fade and deteriorate over time
- Treated timber
- 316 marine grade stainless steel
- UV treated & tear resistant fabrics
- Welded frames rather than screwed or pop riveted
There are a lot of factors and decisions to be made when planning a new outdoor room. Locate a dealer near you to talk it over.