Design Trend – Outdoor Living Zones

  • 7 minutes
  • 10 January 2020

Tackling an entire backyard renovation can seem overwhelming. So, why not break it up? We see a clear pattern of homeowners breaking their renovation into bite-sized projects. As a result, it means less strain on your weekend time and bank account! So, explore how you can get the most out of your backyard with outdoor living zones.

What are living zones?

Zoning your home was a concept that responded to open-plan home design. Without boundaries or borders, people felt unsure of how to use such a grand expanse of space, how to position lounges, where to place tables, and how to create an organic traffic flow. As a result, homeowners felt a sense of it not quite being at home and no clear motivation for where to perform specific tasks. So, we began zoning; we created breakfast nooks, reading corners, and kitchen island benches on wheels. We centred our spaces around rugs and feature lights, windows and entryways. We analysed our lifestyles, chose what brings the most value to our lives and invested a space for it. So, why not extend that ethos out into the backyard?

Three Birds Renovations - Outdoor Living Zone - Front Yard Fire Pit

Three Birds Renovations House 14

Why should I zone my backyard?

Regardless of the size, most backyards are ‘open plan’. Although, as previously mentioned, this can sometimes create uncertainty about how best to use the space. However, you’re more likely to use your backyard with defined, functional zones.

Zoning can also support the sort of outdoor lifestyle you desire. Again, you’re creating a space that motivates you to do what you love without the barrier of having to set it all up. For instance:

  • Setting up a small breakfast nook will provide you with a ready space to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee each morning.
  • Creating a zen garden could support daily meditation or yoga practice.
  • Building an outdoor kitchen will give you quality outdoor time; prepare dinner while the kids play or easily cook while entertaining without being trapped in the kitchen.
  • An outdoor fireplace will get you (and your family) away from screens and out under the stars.

An entire renovation can seem intimidating if you’re unhappy with your outdoor space. However, zoning is an easy, budget-friendly way to transform your backyard. So, why not tackle one zone at a time, split your resources into a manageable to-do list and avoid the stress of a complete overhaul!

Expert Advice: Planning your new build’s outdoor area, with Ascher Smith | ModularWalls

How do I zone my backyard?

In our guest post by The Designory, they outlined an extensive 10-step guide on how to design your backyard, including zones. A few critical questions include:

  • Make a list of the needs are you trying to fulfil. More space, another living zone, the ability to cook outside, more space for kids to play?
  • What do you love doing or want to do most?
  • Who will use the space, both now and in the future? Is it for adults, children or pets, or the elderly?
  • What things will those users want to do in the space? What are their interests, hobbies and needs?
  • Think about which zones will need more or less space?
  • Which zones need to be adjacent to other zones?
  • Which zones must be fenced or screened from other zones? (washing lines, compost bins, etc.)
VogueWall Byron Bay NSW

Article: The Designory #makeitmodular for Byron Bay villa

What are some outdoor living zones I can create?

The above questions are beneficial if you know what you want, but what if you are stuck for ideas? So, we’ve put together these outdoor living zones to spark your inspiration. You could completely transform your backyard — and outdoor lifestyle!

Pool area

If you already have a pool, look at the surrounding space. Is it somewhere you like to spend time? If you find you don’t use it much, find ways to make your pool area more inviting; a few improvements include:

  • Usage: How do you want to use this space? Can you merge it with other zones (outdoor fireplace, daybed area, BBQ station, bar, etc.) to create a more connected experience?
  • Comfortable outdoor furniture: Are there cushions and comfortable seating options? Are the materials soft and inviting or harsh and rough?
  • Weatherproofing: Is there adequate shade? Is there shelter from strong winds or rain? Is there good airflow for breezes and fresh air?
  • Plants: Can you increase the lush feeling of your oasis with more foliage? Are your plants thriving or struggling?
  • Power: Do you feel limited by no power points? Would access to power, or other entertaining features, increase your comfort?
  • Pool coping and decking: Is the area a visual eye-sore? Do you find the atmosphere dated or tarnished? Does this affect how you feel or use the space?
  • Swimming experience: Would a pool float, tanning ledge or a mineral water system enhance your experience?

Don’t have a pool yet? If you’ve got the budget, there are many options, from hot tubs to plunge pools to a full-size pool build.

VogueWall Glenhaven NSW ThreeBirds 11

Day bed area

If you love to lounge, incorporate the ultimate day bed chill zone into your outdoor space!

Outdoor fireplace

You bring the marshmallows; we’ll supply the flames! From portable fire pits and built-in fire tables to custom outdoor fireplaces, the ‘bush telly’ is a mesmerising addition to a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

Firepit area TrendWall

Outdoor bar

These DIY outdoor bar projects offer the perfect opportunity for those who love entertaining or enjoying a drink in the Great Outdoors. Whether you’re after a rustic drinking hole, a novelty sports bar or a sleek, modern cocktail station, there’s a bar design for everyone! All you need to do is pick your poison.

Outdoor rooms

Outdoor rooms are the star of indoor-outdoor living and holistic home design. Options include a sunken outdoor lounge, garden pavilion, or open-air bathroom. Check out these epic ideas!

Outdoor Living Zones - Sunken Lounge - EstateWall Pool and Boundary wall

Outdoor shower

Outdoor showers are breaking out from their traditional poolside location; some creative uses include:

  • Outdoor ‘en suite’ bathing experiences adjacent to the bedroom.
  • Cooling off station for summer
  • Outdoor ‘bathroom’ alongside the house


Three Birds Renovations - Outdoor Living Zones - Outdoor Shower onEstateWall

Three Birds Renovations House 13

Outdoor kitchen

Build a foodie’s dream and invest in an outdoor kitchen! The options are endless, whether you choose a humble BBQ station or a luxe open-air chef’s kitchen. Discover how to design the perfect outdoor kitchen for your home!

Outdoor Living Zones - Kitchen with SlimWall Pool and Boundary fence

Veggie patch

If an outdoor kitchen isn’t an option, then perhaps a DIY veggie patch project for the kids is a good alternative. Veggie gardens are a fantastic way to help teach kids responsibility and healthy eating. Not only will you get to spend quality time with the family, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of growing your food.

Kid-friendly zones

If you’d like to include some outdoor living zones for the family, you can build a kid’s dream backyard with:

  • Inground or springless trampolines
  • Cubby house
  • Treehouse (for those nervous with heights, these can also be ground level, around the base of the tree!)
  • Sandpit
  • Obstacle course
  • Activity wall

Pet-friendly zones

We can’t forget our furry family members, either! Some pet-friendly backyard zones include:

  • Dogs: obstacle courses with short tunnels, low hurdles and treat puzzles
  • Bunnies: enclosed soft lawn patch, with extended hutch running the perimeter of backyard boundary
  • Birds: Oversized outdoor aviaries filled with natural branches, seed bars, cognitive treat toys and bird baths
  • Cats: Jungle gym of scratching posts, platforms and ropes
  • Reptiles and amphibians: natural pond space with rock ledges, logs, running water features and non-toxic plants

We hope we’ve inspired you to see your outdoor space in a new light full of outdoor living zone opportunities paired with the benefits ModularWalls offers.