In Australia, we are lucky enough to be able to enjoy our outdoor spaces almost year round, even in southern climates with the addition of a stylish outdoor heater for the cooler months. Sometimes, however, outdoor living has its down sides – from rainy weather, to blazing sun and of course, bugs and mosquitos. Your outdoor space will require furnishing with durable outdoor furniture but you need to decide which pieces would be most suitable: a dining setting, comfortable outdoor sofa or loungers by the pool.
Here are 10 tips to ensure your outdoor area is more comfortable and you can make the most of your outdoor living space.
- 1. Ask yourself what you want the purpose of your outdoor area to be.
Start by deciding how you want to use your outdoor space? Is it to be a quiet retreat or a place for entertaining family and friends? Does it need a pergola or roof for protection from the elements? Would a decorative screen provide more privacy?
Picture yourself using the space. Will you be retreating there quietly with a book on a comfortable lounge chair, hanging around with friends or cooking up a storm on the barbecue or in the pizza oven? What seating will you require and how much? What style of outdoor furniture would suit your garden the best: aluminium, teak or colourful contemporary designs?
2. Keep it cosy.
Keeping a collection of cosy throws near your outdoor space is a thoughtful idea for keeping your guests warm on chillier winter evenings. Outdoor heating such as a fire pit, bioethanol heater or outdoor gas heater can add to your comfort and enjoyment as well and create a wonderful ambient atmosphere.
3. Decorate with outdoor fabrics.
Colourful fabrics add vibrancy and warmth to any outdoor space. If your outdoor room is fully exposed to the elements, you will need to ensure your outdoor cushions and furniture is upholstered in top quality outdoor fabrics.
We recommend 100% solution-dyed acrylic or olefin fibre; extremely resistant to fading in the sunlight, water and general atmospheric agents. Light fastness is 7/8 on the 8 scale – Perfect for garden furniture and all sun rooms. Sunbrella is one of the most highly regarded manufacturers for outdoor fabrics.
Outdoor fabrics are now available in a huge range of designs from bold stripes to elegant neutral designs. A great way to incorporate bright colours into your outdoor area is using small decorative throw cushions, this will allow you to switch up the colour scheme from season to season.
4. Store and protect cushions to ensure long life.
Outdoor cushions are designed to withstand a little bit of rain but when the sun comes out after a downpour, you don’t want to be sitting on saturated cushions. A solution is to include a water safe cushion box that you can throw cushions into at the first hint of a storm. Larger cushions can be brought inside during the cooler months, or for peace of mind, fitted protective covers can be purchased to keep cushions clean and dry!
- 5. Use running water to mask unwanted noise.
If noise from neighbouring homes is a problem for you and prevents you from enjoying your outdoor space to the full, consider installing a small fountain or other running water features to gently mask the sounds and give your space a peaceful feel.
- 6. Install outdoor speakers.
Instead of running water, you could consider installing outdoor speakers and playing soft music to camouflage noise that impinges on peaceful enjoyment of your outdoor space. You can also find compact wireless speakers at quite an affordable price.
7. Provide some shade.
In mid-summer the blazing sun can turn your outdoor space into an unpleasantly hot oven. There are lots of different ways to add shade when needed from umbrellas, to sail cloths, lattice, a pergola. Planting an attractive shade tree is also an option if you have the space for it to grow.
- 8. Be ready for outdoor dining.
Motivate yourself to dine outdoors more often by having everything on hand. Keep a beautiful set of dining items in a dedicated basket or shelf inside so they are ready to go when you are. Some items to include could be:
- – Unbreakable plastic or melamine glasses, bowls and plates
- – Colourful napkins
- – Candles or lanterns, and a lighter
- – Food covers
- – Outdoor serving utensils
- – A corkscrew and bottle opener
- – Ice bucket
- 10. Think about your lighting.
Let your outdoor room come alive at night with atmospheric lighting. These days it’s possible to create wonderful effects with candles, fairy lights and funky LED lighting. You can even get outdoor furniture, plant pots and sculptures with in-built LED lighting, or LED light balls to float in your pool. Outdoor feature lighting placed strategically in other areas of your garden can create magical and mysterious effects for a glowing night out.
The more thought and consideration you put into the choices for your outdoor furniture and accessories, the more you, your family and your friends will enjoy it by day or night and all year round.