How to create an inviting outdoor space

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ARTICLE Fiona Shine

The best outside spaces provide shelter, comfort and a stylish place to entertain and relax. Think of your outside area as an extension of your interior.

Outside furniture

Freshen up outside furniture with a coat of varnish or a new coat of paint. Don’t be afraid to play with colour. Pastels such as blues and greens are a great way to give furniture a whole new look.

Try to create separate distinct areas with your furniture. Try using a pouf, sun loungers, a hammock or outside beanbags to encourage guests to relax. A hanging egg chair is another popular choice.

For dining, think about bench seats if you plan on accommodating larger groups and space is limited. A storage chest can be used to double up as a surface for drinks, as well as a place to tuck away extra tableware.

An outdoor fireplace or fire pit can transform an ordinary space into one that’s wholly inviting. It’s an open invitation for family and friends to gather around, tell stories and dine into the small hours.

Accessories

Don’t forget to accessorise your outdoor area as you would any other place in your home. Accessories are the best way to add style to a space. Just adding a few simple items can make a huge difference. Accessorise with a mix of bright and bold vases, cushions, throws, candleholders, plant pots, plastic floor mats and decorative wall panels. These can dramatically enhance the look and feel of the area. You can even have fun making your own, by collecting shells and pebbles from the beach and displaying them in glass jars or baskets.

Purchase some new fun fabric and use it as a table cloth. Kit out your table out with glass votives, cloth napkins and tiny flower arrangements. These are all inexpensive decorations that add glamour and cast a cinematic feel over an evening.

Lights, camera, action!

Lighting is an essential consideration for all outdoor areas as it helps set the atmosphere for entertaining.

For a relaxed look, avoid harsh overhead lighting and instead opt for hanging lanterns and candles. Stringing a few ropes of fairy lights or arranging garden torches around your entertaining area can create a wonderful ambience.

Lights can also be used to highlight areas of your garden, such as swimming pools, trees and water features. Large candles and lanterns can be used to light up surrounding plants and evoke a jungly, night time exoticism.

Lighting can also be designed into your landscape so everything is built-in with specific purposes and looks. Talk to your landscaping specialist for guidance.

You might be interested in reading: 10 steps to choosing the right Landscaping Specialist.

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This article by Fiona Shine featured on page 40 of Issue 017 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

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

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