High-end outdoor rooms

Luxury outdoor kitchen and dining room.
ARTICLE Libby Schultz IMAGE Celia Visser Design and Robertson Bathware

As mentioned in the mid-range estimate, the most valuable outdoor rooms are those that can be used year-round. So when creating your luxurious purpose-built room, it’s best to consult a landscaping specialist.

You could ask your landscaping specialist to design a separate outdoor structure (such as a pool house or gazebo) to complement the style of your house. Or you might choose a loggia-style design that extends your indoor-outdoor flow.

American-style outdoor room

According to Interior designer Celia Visser, we can look to the United States for inspiration on the modern-day outdoor room.

Most high-end homes would include some kind of outdoor room – whether it’s a Beverly Hills pool house, a green balcony in a luxury New York apartment, or a cook-out bungalow in the Hamptons.

“Outdoor rooms have been a very big thing in the States for a long time,” she says.

“They tend to have a purpose-built space that’s completely separate from the house.”

In recent years, we’re seeing the same trends emerging in New Zealand.

“Kiwis have always enjoyed a barbie on the back deck – but we’re now seeing this evolve into proper outdoor kitchens and purpose-built entertaining areas.”

Robertson Bathware's built-in heated mini-pool.

Can I create an outdoor room next to the swimming pool?

Separate outdoor rooms usually have a specific purpose or theme. It may be located near the swimming pool, for instance, creating an open-air pool house vibe with an undercover lounging area.

If you don’t have space for a full-size pool, Robertson Bathware offer the Kos range of heated ‘mini-pools’, either built-in or freestanding. Prices start at around $65,000.

To add a sense of romance to your outdoor space, you might consider a freestandaing outdoor bath. The Victoria & Albert range from Robertson’s are made from a unique Quarrycast, a finely ground volcanic limestone and resin mix. Available in both modern and traditional styles, prices range between $2,400 to $9,000+.

Outdoor showers are another poolside must-have. Made from marine-grade stainless steel, the Zuchetti. KOS freestanding shower is ideal for coastal conditions and retails for $13,740.

Or perhaps you’d prefer a ‘wazebo’? As the name suggests, it’s a shower pavilion that can be installed directly on to a lawn, to provide the sensation of showering outdoors.

How much does an high-end louvre cost for an outdoor room?

Perhaps the most enduring style of outdoor room is the classic Hamptons-style, with beautiful wide shutters. While this look is still suited to older homes, it’s been given a modern twist to suit our contemporary architecture.

The Eclipse Flat Louvre Opening Roof, supplied by Pacific Powder Coating, can easily fit to your home as it is available in over 60 contemporary colours. The louvre gives protection from the sun and rain and helps with the ventilation of the outdoor room area.

The louvre can be controlled remotely even through your smartphone with the 24Volt Eclipse Linear control system. Lighting, operation of the heaters, fans and music can also be controlled through the system not forgetting the rain, wind and light sensor options to add.

This elegant, stylish and durable louvre solution will make the most of your outdoor room as it can be used for balconies, patio areas and pool decks. Complete free-standing systems start from $1,250 including the frame and control system.

High-end outdoor kitchen with built-in pizza overn and multi-function barbeque.

What to consider when creating a high-end outdoor room kitchen?

If you aspire to having the ultimate outdoor kitchen, Celia Visser offers this simple guideline.

“These are kitchens where you have everything you need at your fingertips – down to the last place and utensil – without having to go back inside the house.”

This requires built-in storage and benchtops, a sink with hot and cold water, preferably a dishwasher, and plenty of refrigeration. (Ideally, says Celia, you’d have a separate fridge for wine and beer, as they’re kept at different temperatures).

In one of her recent projects, the home-owner installed a ‘shed’ wine cellar designed to hold 2,000 bottles. This was also a good space-saving measure, as they didn’t have room for a cellar in the house.

High-end cooking appliances will probably include a multi-function barbeque, with a gas hob on the benchtop, and built-in pizza oven (which can double as your fireplace).

What type of materials should I use?

Importantly, if your outdoor room is not a weathertight space, all construction materials and appliances will need to be rated for the outdoors.

“Obviously you shouldn’t put MDF products outside,” says Celia.

“Everything down to the drawer runners need to be assessed for outdoor use.”

However, as Celia points out, some of the most luxurious outdoor spaces are completely open-air, albeit with various forms of shade. Drawing inspiration from resorts, you can get creative with sunken spaces and multi-level areas.

“You can still create a very defined space, even without wall and a ceiling.”

Nor do you necessarily need a roof over your outdoor kitchen. For one project, Celia created a full outdoor kitchen in the garden with freestanding benches and appliances. Remote-controlled umbrellas provide the shade, while professional landscaping surrounds the kitchen paradise.

“Instead of going to the expense of building a structure over it, we made custom-designed waterproof canvas covers to protect the whole kitchen. The fabric matches the umbrella and looks fantastic.”

Above ground heated mini-pool

Technology in outdoor rooms

Given that outdoor rooms are built for relaxation, there’s a vast array of new technology to ensure you’ll never have to rouse yourself from that comfy lounger.

Sensored louvres that adjust themselves according to the weather are just the start. You can incorporate home automation systems to control the lighting, heating and cooling, music and entertainment.

“If you choose to, pretty much everything can be controlled from your smartphone or iPad,” says Kim.

Any electrical devices used in outdoor spaces must be IP rated and degree protected, including lighting.

If you want to create a cooler or warmer feel in your outdoor room, adjust the ‘colour temperature’. Measured in Kelvin units, lights over 5000K are bluish-white and are cooling for summer; while those under 3000K will create a warm ambience.

For outdoor room ideas on a mid-range or basic budget read, the mid-range or basic outdoor room project estimates.

This project estimate by Libby Schultz featured in Issue 018 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

Get in touch with Zones to discuss your landscaping project

If you would like to discuss high end outdoor room options and ideas for your outdoor renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your landscaping design and build. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.

*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Zones landscaping specialist. All Zones franchises are independently owned and operated.

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