Connect your indoor and outdoor space
Want a seamless link between your home and garden? Laurie Davidson looks at the latest ways to enjoy your indoor and outdoor areas all year round
Having a room that’s connected to the garden has become a popular choice with homes today, allowing us to enjoy our indoor and outdoor space during the summer and gain beautiful views and a connection to nature in the colder months. But how to get that connection right?
Whatever the size of your plot, there are a number of ways to tie these two areas together – even if you have a small terrace or a compact garden – and it doesn’t always have to mean a costly sum, either. If you’re considering knocking through to create an open-plan space, extending or adding an additional garden room, read on to find out how you can link your indoors and out, the key points to consider and what’s new for 2020…
Let in the light
The most obvious choice for linking your indoor and outdoor space is to frame your garden view with beautifully large windows or doors that can be opened to allow plenty of sunshine and fresh air in. Whether it’s from a living or dining space, a kitchen, or an open-plan room, the idea is to have the indoor and outdoor space as one seamless space, separated only by a sheet of glass, so it’s worth considering this if you’re planning a room renovation or extension. What view do you want to see every day? How can you best frame it? And what type of doors and windows will suit your property?
We’ve seen bi-folds surge in popularity in the last few years, with the trend to fold them right back and have your home open to the exterior. However, there’s a new contender, with traditional-look Crittall-style windows and doors staging a comeback – and not just on period properties, either. Sliding doors are worth considering if you don’t necessarily want the whole of your space open to the garden, and as they have less mullions than bi-folds you’ll have more of an uninterrupted view when they’re closed. To create a truly seamless look, why not invest in large frameless windows, where your view won’t be interrupted by any frames or handles, which in turn helps create the illusion of a larger garden?
The walls aren’t the only way to add in light either – making the sky a part of your interior view by introducing a skylight, either flat or pitched in shape, will instantly help lighten a dark room and can often be achieved under permitted development.
Consider a conservatory or garden roomConservatories are ideal for allowing you to enjoy the outside in comfort all year round, and although the traditional glass structures are still going strong, we’ve also seen more modern designs being introduced of late. Garden rooms, in general, are popping up so that homeowners can enjoy the garden outlook while dining or lounging, and offer the chance to play around with materials to reflect those in the surrounding outdoor space and even within their home. When starting your design, you’ll need to choose from self-cleaning or solar-tinted glass. It’s worth remembering that although polycarbonate is more budget-friendly, it creates a more muted light and is a noisier option when it rains.
Use the same flooring inside and out and your eye will not only be drawn out to your exterior space, but it’s also a way of making them feel part of the same decoration – less separate and uninterrupted, so to speak. Remember that your outdoor flooring will have a different set of requirements – for example, it’s susceptible to the elements so will need to be slightly hardier, as well as frost and slip-proof. Luckily, many companies these days are catering for that, with the same tiles in options for indoor and outdoor spaces. This year, we predict you’ll see an increase in the size of products, with larger tile formats and wider wood planks, as well as a lighter colour scheme of creams and beiges.
Create a canopy or pergola
Canopies and pergolas are very different but the one thing they both have in common is that they can offer you some welcome shade. A canopy can also offer shelter if it decides to drizzle and, if you have the budget, it’s worth investing in one with a sensor that can retract when it gets windy. Then there’s the pergola, which is a structure that can help define your space and provide a ‘roof’ on which to grow plants and hang lighting. If you’re looking for a decorative option to finish off your outside space, then this will do the trick.
Experiment with materials and colours
If you’re really looking for the wow factor, why not blur the boundaries of your indoor and outdoor space by using a luxurious material in both areas. For example, a marble wall outside can echo your kitchen’s marble worktops or splashback. Bench seating could run along the kitchen wall and then continue again in the garden, while brick slips used in your dining area can mirror the brick wall outside. Alternatively, you could use the same paint colour inside and out, treating your fences as you would a wall, and decking as you would wood flooring. Just make sure the paint you use outside is suitable for the exterior, so that it protects and lasts against the elements.
Laurie Davidson @lifeofaninteriorstylist
Indoor and outdoor space stockists
Carpetright, Cullifords, Dobbies, Eckford Chong, Eggersmann, John Lewis & Partners, KE Outdoor Design, Kitchen Coordination, Richard John Andrews, The Rug Seller, Thames Valley Window Company, Three Counties, Uskuri Theobald Architects, Valverdi, Versatile Wood
MORE HOME AND GARDEN FEATURES