Making your outdoor living area work for you
Back in 'the day', if you wanted to create an outdoor living space, you invited your mates around to help you whack up a deck in an afternoon, followed by a celebratory crate of beer.
And when it got too hot, you put up the trusty beach umbrella. You know the kind - floral, fringed and secured by one of those concrete umbrella stands. Which you invariably stubbed your toe on.
Outdoor living spaces have moved on a lot since then. Increasingly sophisticated, they are now seen as an extension of the home.
From weatherproof furniture and rugs, to fully functioning kitchens, come summer, Kiwis are going al fresco like never before.
And here in Tauranga we have good cause - with many properties taking in stunning water and Kaimai views, and a temperate climate for a large part of the year (rogue frosts aside).
But with so many products on the market, planning an outdoor space can quickly become overwhelming. And expensive.
So, my number one piece of advice would be to 'work with what you have'.
By way of example, let me walk you through some of my current listings:
Vines and vino
Older homes don't always lend themselves to indoor-outdoor flow, but with French doors leading off the kitchen, this stunning outdoor dining area is easily accessible from this 1930s Eighth Avenue home.
A vine-covered pergola is a great option when you don't want a structure that detracts from the unique architecture of a home. With candles and bright potted geraniums, it channels the romance of the Mediterranean. Pass the vino!
Sung, sheltered and scenic
This 1980s Ohauiti Road home makes the most of its expansive, estuary-facing, upper deck by sectioning off and 'dressing' individual areas.
A snug, private outdoor space has been created off the master bedroom, using corrugated iron and timber trellising to provide shelter from those pesky prevailing westerlies.
Add an outdoor lounge suite, coffee table, mirror, some pot plants and a cheeky glass or two of wine, and you have an inviting space to while away those balmy summer evenings.
Under my umbrella... ella... ella
So, that 1970s umbrella scenario I painted earlier? Well, umbrellas have evolved a lot since then. And are a great cost-effective, portable option for providing shade from the summer sun and shelter from spring showers. Some of the larger ones will cover a whole dining area. Plus, they can be put away for winter when mold and lichen take hold.
The outdoor living areas at this low maintenance Palazzo Drive home are defined by pebbled concrete, creating two distinct spaces that flow from the living area and master bedroom. With minimal effort and outlay, by using furniture, bright accessories, planting and an umbrella that is fit for purpose, you have a natural extension of the interior.
Outdoor living need not be constrained by space and access to the outdoors, as this Wharf Street apartment showcases.
Glass balustrades and slider doors allow an unobstructed harbour view, creating a feeling of spaciousness and freedom.
The wooden deck adds an earthy, organic element, grounding the space, despite its elevated position. It feels like you could just dip your toes in the water.
A permanent solution
Permanent outdoor roofing, like at this Pyes Pa Road home, provides reliable shelter all year round. Add drop-down or louvred sides to keep out the wind and the rain, and it's like adding on another room at a fraction of the cost.
Just be mindful of positioning when building a permanent structure, so that it captures the sun and shade at the right times of day. If it's dark and dingy in the mornings and sweltering in the afternoons, you're unlikely to gravitate towards it.
From lighting and wall art, to fire pits and patio spa pools, there are so many ways you can individualise an outdoor space and make it your own. So, get out amongst it and get designing!< Back to Blog Articles