How to create a stylish indoor outdoor living area

Modern deck area with canopy

There’s something very special about an indoor/outdoor space. They convey an air of exclusivity. An indoor space, whether it’s a kitchen, living room or bedroom, blending seamlessly with the outdoors can be seen as a luxury allowed only to those living in exotic locations with an exotic budget. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth and creating your very own indoor/outdoor slice of heaven may be easier than you think!

We’ve included a few tips below to help you create the perfect indoor/outdoor space for your home, so you can realise your al fresco dreams:

Function & features

Before getting into the design nitty-gritty, it’s vital to ask yourself a couple of very important questions.

Where will this space be? This may seem obvious, but it’s an important decision to make. In order to make your space as fluid as possible, you should choose a room that’s adjacent to your garden or balcony. This not only gives you a bigger area with which to play, but it means that you can take advantage of the natural décor that your garden gives you.

The second question you may want to consider before you start your project in earnest is for what you want this space to be used. If it’s an extension to your kitchen, then you may want to create a seamless kitchen-diner, where a meal can be prepared inside and then enjoyed on a large dining table al fresco. Or perhaps it’s a living room, so you’ll want to ensure all the electronics reside indoors whilst the outdoors provides an area for socialising and relaxing.

Whatever the room or the purpose, answering these questions will give your project focus and make many of the other decisions you need to take easier.

open plan kitchen diner with folding doors out to the garden

Doors & windows

Doors and windows are the interface between your indoor and outdoor spaces and so are key to creating a cohesive flow for your new room. Generally, the larger the window or door the better – as reducing the amount of solid wall will remove the feeling that you have a clearly defined separation between the two areas.

If your budget allows, floor to ceiling bi-folding or accordion doors are often the best option. Opening these essentially allows you to remove one side of the room and facilitates a more natural transition between the indoor and outdoor space. Of course, sliding doors or French windows can also produce this effect but may not have quite the same wow-factor.

If your room is on the corner of your house then you may also want to consider corner windows. This creates an uninterrupted view outside, even when the doors are shut, making the internal room feel part of outside.

Modern grey sitting room

Flooring & design

To create the illusion that the outside and inside areas are one and the same, it’s important to create a cohesive design throughout both spaces. The most effective way to do this is via the flooring.

Choose a floor that can be laid throughout both the inside and outside areas, making sure that your chosen style is weather resistant. Or, if you don’t want the exact same flooring, try to find two styles that complement each other. For example, paving stones come in a variety of styles and can marry well to interior wooden floors. Likewise, decking, with the lines running away from the house, can create an illusion of continued space from interior to exterior.

This same continuity of design should also be applied to your choice of décor. Decorating both areas in the same styles, i.e. colour palettes, furniture and soft furnishings will create the impression of one unified space.

Greenery is also a useful tool when linking spaces. Similar plants can be used on both the inside and outside. During the bitter winter months, this will help create the illusion of being outside even when the doors and windows are firmly shut.

Dark brown patio seating with turquoise cushions

Usability

To ensure that your new slice of paradise is practical all year round, you may want to consider some options which overcome some of the natural challenges that the outdoors present.

Ensure that the outside area is covered, so that the space can be used come rain or shine. You can invest in a sturdy, solid roof structure or go for a simpler (and cheaper) canopy.

You may also want to think about a specially designed fire pit or similar – this could provide a focal point for the outdoor space and help keep it useable for social situations even during colder months.

In association with Quickslide

 

Get their look: Vibrant patio garden

Pink vibrant patio gardencredit

This vibrant patio garden may be pink, but don’t think it’s all girlie – there’s a fabulous BBQ installed which would please the most manly of grill masters!

The design makes great use of limited space with numerous spots to sit and separate cooking and dining areas. Again, space is used to the maximum by incorporating the vertical in the planting scheme.

To complete the look, the garden is almost completely white-washed to expand and bounce light around the enclosure. The pink of the seating is picked up in the choice of flowering plants.

  1. Handmade patchwork cushion
  2. Pink floral print cushion cover
  3. The Original Chaise indoor/outdoor beanbag
  4. Gardman Hampton candle lanterns (55cm tall)
  5. Napoleon LE 485 BBQ with side burner
  6. Re-Trouvé outdoor chair by Patricia Urquiola
  7. Re-Trouvé outdoor dining table by Patricia Urquiola

Get their look: Vibrant patio garden | H is for Home

5 Tips for getting your garden ready for summer

back and side gardencredit

During the winter months, many British gardens can find themselves neglected and look a tad melancholy. Most plants have died back, there have been months of long, dark, cold days where few people feel like venturing out into the garden. There are lots of things you could do in the coming weeks to help get your garden ready for summer.

Raking up leaves in a gardencredit

1. Have a spring clean

Spring is the best time to tackle a bit of garden maintenance. Sweep up, take a bucket of soapy water to garden furniture, check that gates and fences are upright and secure. Does anything need a lick of paint or wood preservative? Is the guttering full of autumn leaves? Is the barbecue rusty?

Garden with wild flower meadowcredit

2. Sow annuals and bulbs

Nothing makes a garden more attractive than colourful, scented, flowering plants. For a quick and easy fix, you can sow annual native wild flower seeds; corncockles and corn marigolds, poppies and buttercups. Bulbs are the gift that keep on giving; they’re low maintenance and the flowers come back year after year. We planted some dolly tubs with mixed bulbs about 18 months ago and they’ve been providing colour and beauty to our garden once again since January this year. We can’t recommend them highly enough.

Collection of colourful garden plant potscredit

3. Re-pot plants that have outgrown their containers

Most plants are dormant in early spring, the ideal time to divide and re-pot plants that have become crowded and pot-bound. Whether you’re after a few new terracotta, metal or plastic containers, you can find a large range of pots, planters and window boxes online. Not only will you get more plants, you’ll be rewarded with stronger, healthier ones that will flower more profusely.

Patio garden with brazier and strings of lights and buntingcredit

4. Decorate

Decorating isn’t just for indoors. There are often large expanses of shabby wall or fence that could be livened up with paint or trellis. Perhaps you’ve got room for a shed, summer house or shepherd’s hut – somewhere to decamp on long hot days. Create a designated al fresco dining space. Put up strings of bunting and fairy lights. Consider sculptures and water features that can bring added interest and focal points to an outside space. Install a couple of gnomes if that’s more to your taste! 🙂

Butterflies on flowers in a gardencredit

5. Don’t forget the wildlife!

Visiting wildlife brings interest to a garden. It’s easy to entice them in – birds, insects, frogs and toads… even the odd hedgehog or two if you’re lucky! Make your garden a welcoming haven; provide food and water stations and places to shelter, nest and spawn. Nectar-rich flowers are loved by all sorts of critters. You’ll soon be rewarded with the buzz of bees, the song of blackbirds and robins, colourful finches and butterflies flitting about – and perhaps some fledglings to watch grow up.

10 Perfect plans for the smaller garden

'10 Perfect plans for the smaller garden' blog post banner

Small tropical gardencredit

Having a smaller garden may seem like a huge drawback with limited options but there are ways to spruce up your garden so that you can enjoy it no matter what size it is. Knowing how to decorate and plan for a small garden will ensure that no space goes to waste – these ten tips will help you to bring your garden to life regardless of its shape and size.

herbs growing in small terra cotta pots on a red brick wallcredit

  1. Growing Herbs

No matter how small your garden is, there will always be enough room to grow your own herbs. People grow them in their apartments, balconies, windowsills and patios. There are lots of different herbs you can easily grow, such as basil, parsley, coriander and thyme; all perfect for picking and adding to your cooking.

pond in a small garden credit

  1. Make a Pond

You can attract wildlife and nature into your garden by building a small pond. Choose an area that gets a lot of sunshine and try to keep the pond as clean as possible so that your creature friends can enjoy their new home.

stepped, grassed patiocredit

  1. Layered Steps

With limited space, there may not be enough room for steps that go outwards, which is why layered steps that go up instead are the perfect feature for a small garden. It will add a touch of sophistication to your garden and kids will love using the steps as stepping stones while they are outside playing.

vine covered pergolacredit

  1. Climbing Plants

If you can’t grow flowers and plants on the ground, then why not grow them up your walls and fences instead? Birds adore climbing plants such as ivy and may even choose to make a nest in yours.

Wooden compost binscredit

  1. Composting

According to nationalgardeningweek.org if you want your garden to be alive with wildlife, building a compost heap is a sure way to attract them whilst also enriching your soil.

Fairy lights in a small gardencredit

  1. Lighting

Add some light into your garden at night with outdoor lanterns and fairy lights. If you ever feel like having a party, turning the lights on outside will add a nice romantic ambience.

flowers in a small gardencredit

  1. Flowers

Flowers instantly brighten up our homes and gardens, which is why they are something of a garden necessity. Having a small garden doesn’t mean that you can’t have flowers. Use small pots and position them in a way that saves the most space. Flowering plants such as this great example are great at attracting wildlife such as butterflies and bees to your garden.

White modernist chairs in a small gardencredit

  1. Garden Furniture

Adding a small garden bench to your garden will provide you with a place to sit and enjoy the view. If you have enough space, you could also add a small table and a few extra garden chairs.

Moss-covered stone bird bathcredit

  1. Garden Ornaments

Adding a few ornaments can make your garden appear more welcoming and complete. There are thousands to choose from, including sculptures, stone bird baths, saddlestones etc.

White-painted walls in a small patiocredit

  1. Lighter Walls

According to UKTV, you can create the illusion of a larger garden by painting brick walls white. It is thought that by choosing lighter paving slabs and lighter exterior paint, you can make a small space seem bigger and more spacious.

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Monthly Mood Board: Al fresco summer

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'al fresco summer' mood board

For the past few weeks we’ve been enjoying a blissful al fresco summer – with no end in sight so far (touch wood!). We’ve been pottering in the garden, sitting outside to eat and working on laptops from our deckchairs.

We love a blue & green theme for the garden, it works really well with a backdrop of trees, plants and flowers and creates a restful outdoor vibe.

  1. Hardwood 2m garden parasol – light blue: £29.99, Homebase
  2. Romvi LED solar powered outdoor string lights with 20 lights, green & blue shades: £10, B&Q
  3. Lexon Maizy radio: £49, Ethical Superstore
  4. Century bench: £49.90, Butlers Online
  5. Florence table – green: £419.99, Crocus
  6. Amazonas Belize hanging chair: £37.15, Tesco
  7. KitchenCraft Bar Craft ‘Vino Curvo’ wine cooler: £13.40, Wayfair
  8. Coolmovers Meadow Lane acrylic stacking glasses – pack of 4: £6.77, Auravita
  9. Charcoal bucket BBQ: £9.99, Argos
  10. Tam Tam green plastic stool: £12, Habitat