Nature's calling

Nature's calling

Exploring what an ‘outdoor room’ can do to improve your lifestyle, landscape architect and director of Xteriorscapes Hayden Stark shares his ideas.

Creating an outdoor room is a design trend that has become part of the modern home. When it comes to homeowners' priorities, extending the interior living, dining and cooking spaces into the garden and creating effortless flow between inside and out rates high on the list. 
An outdoor room can be established using the  home’s roofline or a structure attached to the house, like an automated louvre system, outdoor awning or a covered pergola.
Louvre systems utilise aluminium blades that open and close to offer protection from the elements. Typically automated, the blades rotate 180 degrees, offering total control of sun, shade and light, as well as ventilation and protection from the rain. 
Intelligent sun, wind and rain sensors can also be incorporated into the structure, and these automatically open and shut without the homeowner having to lift a finger. With considered placement of walls, relocatable outdoor screens and blinds can also offer additional shade while giving protection from prevailing winds. 
Outdoor awnings can be manual or fully automated, retractable or fixed, and are usually made of weather-resistant canvas or mesh. Manufactured from steel or timber, they can include fixed or semi-open roofs in a combination of shade materials designed to suit a range of different architectural styles.  
Working closely with each client, Xteriorscapes gives valuable guidance through the planning and design process, which includes: selecting the most suitable shelter option for the site and ensuring the final choice blends in with existing or proposed landscaping and the home’s architectural style, along with obtaining any council consents that may be required.
Then there are the hardscaping options. From large format non-slip tiles to hardwood or composite timber decking, the most popular choice for new builds is decorative concrete used both indoors and out – to create a smooth transition from the house to the garden and reinforce the much-desired indoor-outdoor flow.  
To reduce the risk of surface water breaching the entrance threshold, it's important to install an approved drainage channel that will collect runoff rain water from doors and windows and stop it from entering the home. These channels, which run where the edge of the house meets the outdoors, have decorative stainless steel lids to complement the high specification detailing of the surface finishes.
For the ultimate outdoor experience there are numerous additional features that can be incorporated such as: built-in BBQs with teppanyaki hot plates; outdoor kitchens complete with sinks and fridges; built-in seating and storage areas; gas heaters and outdoor fireplaces; ambient LED lighting that can also highlight architectural features; and outdoor entertainment systems with wide-screen televisions and state-of-the-art speakers.
With so many product choices to be made and technical aspects to consider – and a number of council rules and regulations that must be adhered to – it pays to enlist the expertise of the professionals. For trusted guidance, experience and creative flair, call on the landscape architectural design team at Xteriorscapes, and transform your outdoor space into a more practical, comfortable and enjoyable space that you’ll love all year round.

Connect inside & out 
Creating a harmonious connection between indoor and outdoor living and dining can be done using a similar flooring material. Decorative concrete is a popular choice for many modern homes, but there is also the choice of hardwood or composite timber decking or large format non-slip tiles that can be matched with interior flooring.

Rules & regulations
Whether your outdoor room is created as an extension from the home’s roofline or from a structure attached to the house like an automated louvre system, outdoor awning or a covered pergola, you may need Council consent, which is something a qualified landscape architect can manage during the planning and design phase.

03 421 8460 |  xteriorscapes.nz

Images: Howard Construction, Xteriorscapes and Mick Stephenson

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