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A modern lifestyle beyond the walls

By | November 25th 2010

By Hosea Omole

Modern lifestyles have given outdoor living a new lease of life. The outdoor is no longer just for lawns and beautiful flowers that you have to break your back to maintain. It is an extension of the home’s functional spaces in every way.

The primary consideration in designing a garden for outdoor living is to plan for comfort. You will need a large hard surface for holding tables, chairs and other furniture and fittings.

Here are the basics of setting up an outdoor living space.

Design for your lifestyle

When designing a garden for outdoor living, first consider exactly how you want to use the space. Do you want the space primarily for family use, for entertaining, or both? Do you and your family wish to spend hours outdoors sunning and barbecuing or lounging in the shade?

When entertaining, is your style a catered cocktail party or a picnic-like setup? How many people will you entertain?

After you consider exactly how you will be using the space, you will be better placed to plan a beautiful and functional outdoor living area.

Main outdoor room

Start thinking of your garden as an outdoor living room and plan it accordingly. Think of the area adjacent to the house as a room that makes the transition from the indoors to the outdoors. Create a large patio or deck there to define the main outdoor room — the area where you will be relaxing and entertaining.

Convenience and comfort are the mantra of outdoor living. To facilitate the former, you will need easy access from the house to this outdoor living space. It is, therefore, advisable to position it as close as possible to the door leading from the kitchen.

You don’t want to keep shuttling some ten or so metres between the outdoor living room and the kitchen. 

Choose a flooring material that complements the architecture of your home and lifestyle. The choice of wood, stone or brick for the hardscape finish determines the ambience you create. Wood seems the most casual and naturalistic, whereas brick and stone look more formal and elegant. Of course you are welcome to mix and match different materials.

Controlling sun and shade

Comfort is paramount in an on outdoor living space. Your goal will be to make your outdoor living area just as comfortable as the indoors. Fortunately we are blessed with relatively good climates in this part of the globe.

At the very least, include a large deciduous shade tree or two strategically placed near the main outdoor living area.

Because the trees are leafless in during the cold season in July and are full leaf when it’s hot, they help create a comfortable setting in either case. They allow the sun’s warmth to reach the outdoor room during the cold seasons when the rays feel good and they cast shade during the hot season when the coolness is welcome.

A well thought out gazebo, pergola or arbour is always a worthy addition in an outdoor living area too.

The writer is a landscape


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