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The Inside Word on Outdoor Living

The Inside Word on Outdoor Living

outdoordesign_blogWith summer fast approaching, senior Landscape Designer Mark Read discusses the ins and outs of outdoor living.

Trends: colours, materials, plants and design…

The great thing about landscape design and design in general today is that you don’t have to conform to a particular style, people are much more willing to put their own mark on their home and gardens, using materials, plants, colours that reflect their personal preferences.

Having said that the latest trend that is shaping what we do is sustainability. This is not so much a trend as a movement. We have seen growing awareness of people’s willingness to embrace ecologically sustainable materials, green roofs, green walls, native vegetation, eco-sourced plants and heritage blooms and crops.

This more localised response to your environment is something we fully support and encourage clients to adopt. Choosing plants and materials that complement a particular environs makes for a better end result that requires less maintenance, most people are time poor so this approach just makes sense.

Creating indoor/outdoor in your outdoor living area…

A consistent look and feel between indoors and outdoors will create natural flow. You can achieve this by ensuring your colour palette and the choice of materials in your outdoor living area complement those used in your house.   As a general rule materials and the degree of finish should get more natural as you get further away from the house.

Lighting; a bright idea…

There are several things to consider when addressing outdoor lighting. First and foremost you need to decide on the mood you want to create in your garden. Night time is an opportunity to create a different ambience; most people make the mistake of over lighting.

It is also helpful to decide what areas you want to highlight. Other considerations include separation and control of lighting as well as cost (you needn’t choose the most expensive fitting after all it’s the light you are focusing on not the fitting).

Four seasons in one day; the best materials to withstand rain and sun…

Stone is well known for its long life span.  Basalt and dense sandstone are good options for outdoor living areas because they don’t decay and tolerate a range of environmental conditions.

In terms of timber pine is a good (often overlooked) option for decking, as it is very durable and a renewable material. Cedar is another softwood that is used for structural features because it is rigid, stable and looks great however unlike pine it requires continual maintenance. Concrete is also a long lasting material but it is not as desirable from a sustainability point of view.

Upholstery and timber are generally the fastest wearing materials so it is worthwhile investing in quality products to ensure a longer lifespan. As with anything the more care and attention you pay to it the longer it will last.
The benefits and enjoyment of investing in a well designed quality outdoor living area cannot be underestimated aesthetically, ecologically, socially and economically.

Comments

16 December, 2011

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