Many of us choose to live in the countryside because of the natural beauty of our great trees, woodland, and country walks. The health benefits of spending time outdoors has been documented by many studies. Mental and physical health as well as stress reduction are all benefits of living outdoors. So it is not surprising that outdoor room requests for outdoor living spaces to be added to clients homes have increased over the last few years.
With seasons being less predictable, it is the perfect time to spruce up or create your outdoor room and living space. When planning your outdoor room and living space, establish zones or rooms for different activities such as cooking, dining al fresco, relaxing, entertaining, swimming, backyard games and sunset or sunrise viewing. The rooms can be defined by structures including porches, pergolas, and gazeboes; different paving materials; plants; and fences. A sense of discovery and surprise adds interest to the garden.
Essential components for sensory richness are: light, sound, smell, colors, movement, textures, and patterns. These can be created using: fire, water, plants, shade, paving, and light. Start by anticipating the experience you want to achieve. For example; a fire allows you to linger outside a bit longer on a cool evening. This can be something as simple as a fire pit or Coreten fireplace or as elaborate as an outdoor masonry fireplace.
Architect Garry Thomas likes to include a “sun pocket” in his designs. A sun pocket is a south facing sitting area with a masonry wall behind the seat. The masonry wall soaks up the sun’s warmth and blocks the cold north wind and creates a warm micro-climate which is a perfect place to sit on a cool afternoon and evening.
Bird baths are an easy way to add water to your landscape. Their benefits are not just for the birds. It is delightful to watch the birds preen when they bathe. Fountains add interest both visually and through sound. Devise an element of surprise by placing the fountain where it is not immediately seen but can be heard.
The Japanese Shishi-odoshi or “Scare the Deer” is something we all might want to add to our rural gardens. The bamboo fountain is on an off-centre pivot. The open end of the bamboo fills with water. When full, it tilts to empty the water and makes a loud thud against a rock when the bamboo returns to its original position. It repeats about every five minutes.
The final components for your outdoor living is the furniture, lighting and accessories. Comfort and durability are key. The options you have here is to buy in a bespoke range or build-in and incorporate into the design.
The essence of all outdoor room space is the ability to extend the living room or kitchen space – a truly wonderful way to enjoy inside / outside living.