Relaxing outdoors with family and friends on a warm summer night, listening to the crackling of the nearby outdoor firepit and dinner sizzling on the BBQ… Sorry, but you just can’t beat it.
It is also the reason why so many Britons are turning sections of their gardens into luxurious outdoor living spaces. As the trend of bringing the outdoors indoors gathers pace in the interior magazines, here at Lazy Susan we’re also seeing a big move towards bringing the indoors outdoors – and so was born the creation of what has been termed (probably by the Americans) as the outdoor room.
However, while the temperate climate of say the West Coast of America provides the opportunity to soak it up and appreciate it on a regular basis, here in the UK we have to snatch those opportunities on the rare weekends they come along.
Although saying all that, yet again, the Met office are predicting that 2011 will be the hottest summer ever recorded (ever!) and while things have started pretty well with a nice mild sunny spring, I’ll not hold my breath.
So while the outdoor room in the warm parts of the globe revolves around pretty much achieving full time outdoor living, in the most luxurious, comfortable and enjoyable manner possible with fully function kitchens, day beds etc, in the UK we need to tailor this a little more to our climate.
However, we can still integrate the indoors into our outdoor space and create an environment that I guarantee you’ll use significantly more than do currently.
Demand has grown in the UK, so has the demand for items to fuel the trend, and as such outdoor fireplaces, firepits, fixed gas BBQ’s, garden furniture and accessory manufacturers are developing a wide range of stylish, full-featured products that improve the comfort, convenience and pleasure of entertaining or relaxing outdoors, no matter how fresh the evening can get during the UK summer when the sun goes down.
A range of full-featured products
Today in the UK there is a plethora of product items available that can help extend a home’s outdoor living space, literally and visually – from gas BBQ’s and fireplaces in all shapes and sizes, to a variety of luxurious top-end garden furniture, lighting, heaters, gazebos and accessories that will help set a desirable and inviting ambience.
The main products you need to consider to create an indoor outdoor space are as follows, and of course there is no way most of us can accomodate all of them, its simply about picking the items that fir with how you currently or intend to use your garden:
Wood-burning and gas fireplaces, fire pits, bomas, chimineas, fire and fountain combinations, and tall-standing gas patio heaters, any one of these will provide all the warmth you’ll need
Gas BBQ grills, wood-fired ovens, outdoor refrigerators, dishwashers, sinks and food preparation areas are all available these days
Dining tables and chairs, bistro tables, couches, sofas, sun lounges, daybeds, coffee tables, end tables, hammocks and chaise lounges… Think comfort!
- Water features
Swimming pools (why not as long as its heated), hot tubs spas, waterfalls, wall-mounted, ponds and fountains will add to the ambiance
Summer houses, gazebos, sunrooms, awnings, screens, trellis, conservatories and deck umbrellas/parasols
Sound, sculptures, fences, pot plants, containers, wind chimes, lighting, outdoor rugs, outdoor cushions and/or candle holders
The fundamentals of an outdoor room
Creating a little indoor style outdoors with and outdoor room in the UK is relatively simple to be honest. For it to work, you want to combine a cooking and eating area, pulled with some form of heating. That could be an outdoor fireplace, chiminea or a gas patio heater.
At the top end of the scale, the American outdoor room could feature a full outdoor kitchen, but that’s not really something that would be needed in the UK. We simply don’t have the climate.
However, accessories such as lighting, garden rugs, outdoor furniture and accessories, can all be pulled together to create the desired visual effect. Cleaver landscaping or permanent structures such as an arbour or gazebo, can further enhance the room feel.
Successfully pulling together an outdoor room in the UK is less about the quantity of products used, and more about creating a design that is practical, comfortable and delivers that sense of enclosure. Making it feel like inside but outside.
There are so many options to help create stylish indoor style outdoors. However, the big question is can we have all achieve that gorgeous ‘magazine’ styling whilst still using durable, easy-to-care-for items that will stay looking good for many years to come. Or will it fade/weather and look naff after one British summer?
But now more than ever before, that gap between indoor and outdoor is being moved closer and closer. From outdoor furniture good enough to get invited inside, to lamps, cushions and rugs etc, specifically designed for use in the garden.
There’s just so many outdoor pieces that simply wouldn’t look out of place in your living room. And many people in the UK are beginning to find that perfect outdoor sofa. The garden furniture industry as a whole is making use of the latest technology, creating pieces that are built to last, to stand up to the elements, all while looking sexy!
Outdoor fabrics is another area where dramatic strides have been made… Companies such as Sunbrella and many other high-end outdoor fabric manufacturers are being praised for their wide selection of colours, styles and textures. But really good outdoor fabrics don’t come cheap mind, so be warned.