When revamping your outdoor living space, you are filled with endless interior (or rather, exterior) design possibilities. Enough to make your head spin!
But before you start looking at all the possible solutions, allow us to recommend four features that designers use to transform outdoor living spaces with very little fuss. The end result won't just be a good-looking space... it'll be a place where you can spend time with the people you love hosting family barbeques, kid's birthday parties, game nights or even just relaxing at the end of a busy day.
So without further ado, here are our four no-fuss ways to upgrade your outdoor living space.
1. Use easy-to-grow outdoor plants
Plants are the low-hanging fruits of any outdoor space revamp (excuse the pun). The trick is to choose those that require minimum maintenance. Here are our top three least-fussy picks.
Succulents: They have a fun name and are among the lowest-maintenance potted plants. Watering them once a week and positioning them so they're out of direct sunlight will be enough to keep them alive and thriving for a long time. No green thumb needed.
Snapdragons: For a colourful statement, use snapdragons. These flowers come in many bright variations and will do a great job breaking up the monotony of green in an outdoor garden.
New Zealand iris: Evergreen and a New Zealand native, this type of iris will add a delicate touch of white to your floral arrangement.
2. Add style with a pergola
Pergolas have a long history going back to Egyptian and Roman times, which makes them feel effortlessly chic. In essence, a pergola is made of two or four posts, with a roof of open rafters, with or without vines on top. They provide sunshade during the summer and are a great way to make the outdoor space stand out.
Pergolas roofs can be free standing or attached to the home with different roof shapes. The two most common materials are classic cedar or more modern vinyl, to help withstand the harshest of weather conditions.
3. Bring the indoors outdoors
When you choose an outside space contiguous to the interior, it can literally become an extension of it - a place to be used all year round.
The next step would be to build on that. Depending on the amount of space, and the size of the budget, there are several upgrades you can do to recreate as much of the indoor space as possible: chairs and coffee tables, shelter, a modular sofa, heater, and even an outdoor kitchen. To make the space perfectly flawless, consider continuing with the same colour patterns and materials as the interior.
4. Add an outdoor umbrella
Outdoor umbrellas are a classic solution to shield your family from the sun while making a fun statement in the outdoor living space. Like pergolas, they have also came a long way, and not just in terms of colours and sizes.
Now you can choose frames made of wood or aluminium. The latter is often preferred as it's more durable yet lighter and easier to move around. Wooden poles and features, however, offer good resistance too and may fit better with the style of your outdoors.
Modern umbrella models mean you aren't limited to the traditional umbrella look... Many offer the ability to customise finish options, and can even do away with the central pole all together. To maximise your living space, look at options such as installing a wall-mounted or offset pole umbrella. Whatever your choice, however, always make sure that the canopy comes with a UV protection filter.
Outdoor and interior design can be a rabbit hole of endless combinations from the simplest to the most sophisticated ones, and for any budget. Before you get sucked into the addictive world of websites and magazines with design solutions, think about the beauty of keeping it simple.
Looking for more on how to improve your backyard? Here you have a useful guide on how to choose the best outdoor umbrella for your home.