WORDS Joanna Mathers


New Zealand is a nation of people in love with the outdoors. And as the spring breezes presage the summer to come, many of us are looking outside and wondering how to create spaces that allow us to make the most of the warm weather.

Well-designed outdoor rooms are attractive, inviting and practical. They create much-needed extra living space, provide an area in which we can dine, entertain or lounge in style, and add much to increase a home’s resale appeal if we decide to move on. If you are thinking of investing in an outdoor room, here’s a rundown of the most frequently asked questions with answers from Zones expert Stuart Gill.

 

What are some popular options for flooring?

Stuart says that wooden decks are still the number one choice for outdoor living spaces. Kwila and Vitex woods are highly favoured when it comes to decks, with pine being a more cost-efficient option.

If you are organically inclined, you may choose a wood that has been heat-treated, eliminating the need for chemicals. 

Stuart says that coloured concrete is also very popular. “It’s durable and versatile and it can be tinted to the colour of your choice and patterned to make it look like tiles.” And the most popular colour? “Charcoal black,” he shares.

What are some key options for shelter?

Louvre roofs are a “must-have” for homeowners who want their outdoor rooms to pack some real punch. These roofs can open and shut to adapt to weather conditions and allow for the best optimising of light and shade. But while they are attractive and allow for year-round outdoor living, they don’t come cheap. 

“Everyone wants them, but a lot of people are taken aback when they find out the price,” Stuart laughs.  And the price tag – between $20,000 and $35,000.  

Pacific Outdoor Solutions is a supplier of louvre roofs. Their louvre roofs can also slide apart depending on how much sky you want to see – ideal for sunny days or starry nights.

Other outdoor roof options include shade sails, awnings and canter levered umbrellas - Mitre 10 has a range to choose from if you're trying to stay within a tight budget.

outdoor kitchen and lounge with a roof

How popular are outdoor kitchens? What are some key items?

Stuart estimates that there’s about a 50/50 split when it comes to people wanting outdoor kitchens versus lounging areas. Outdoor kitchens have come ahead in leaps and bounds in recent years, with ovens, fridges, sinks and other appliances all developed for outdoor use. Stuart says that outdoor fires that double as cookers are also popular – they provide warmth and the primal joy of watching food roast on an open flame.

If you're curious about the costs involved, check out our outdoor kitchens cost estimate.

What are some of the most popular planting styles for outdoor spaces?

Subtropicals have long been the “go-to” for homeowners wanting maximum style with minimal fuss. Stuart says that this continues to be an extremely popular style, particularly Auckland and other northern climates where the weather allows such plantings to thrive. Some of the key plants are the dramatic ligularia (with glossy, plate-sized leaves), dypsis (evergreen palms with small yellow flowers), and the low-maintenance lomandra grass.

Natives are also popular, with people often choosing key varieties to plant alongside subtropicals. Flaxes, astelias, hebe, coprosma and corokia are all versatile and attractive in contemporary gardens.

How much does an outdoor room cost?

Outdoor rooms are a significant investment and the cost will depend on how many “bells and whistles” you chose to include. 

Check out these articles for a full run-down on outdoor rooms on a basic, mid-range and high-end budget.

If you would like more information about creating an outdoor room, please get in touch and one of the Zones team will be happy to talk you through your options.

Note: Prices are rough approximations only, and Zones Landscaping cannot be held accountable for their accuracy. All prices in this article are exclusive of installation costs and any variations.

Get in touch with Zones to discuss your landscaping project

If you would like to discuss 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.

*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.