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Design Trend of the Month – Outdoor Living Zones

Tackling an entire backyard renovation can seem overwhelming…so why not break it up? We’re seeing a clear pattern of homeowners chunking their renovation into bite-sized projects; putting less strain on both your weekend time and the bank account! So, for our very first featured design trend of 2020, we explore how you can get the most out of your backyard with outdoor living zones.

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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, how to create an organic traffic flow. In fact, homeowners felt a sense of it not quite being a home, as they had no clear motivation of where to perform certain tasks.

So, we began zoning; we created breakfast nooks, reading corners, kitchen island benches on wheels. 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. Why not extend that ethos out into the backyard?

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Why should I zone my backyard?

Regardless of the size, most backyards would be considered as ‘open plan’. As aforementioned, this can sometimes create uncertainty of how to best use the space; with clear, defined, functional zones, you’re actually more likely to use your backyard.

Zoning can also support the sort of outdoor lifestyle you want. You’re basically 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 a ready space to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee each morning.
  • Creating a zen garden could support a daily meditation or yoga practice.
  • Building an outdoor kitchen will give you more quality outdoors time; prepare dinner while the kids play, or easily cook whilst entertaining without being trapped in the kitchen.
  • An outdoor fireplace will get you (and your family) away from screens and out under the stars.

Finally, zoning is an easy, budget-friendly way to transform your backyard. If you’re not happy with your outdoor space, an entire renovation can seem intimidating. However, by tackling one zone at a time, you can split your resources into a very manageable to-do list and avoid the stress of a complete overhaul!

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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. Some important questions include:

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

 

What are some outdoor living zones I could create?

The above questions are incredibly helpful for if you know what you want…but what if you have no idea? Spark some inspiration with these ten outdoor living zones that could completely transform your backyard — and outdoor lifestyle!

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Pool area

If you already have a pool, have a 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; some common 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 adequate air flow for breezes and fresh air?
  • Plants: Can you increase the lush feeling of your oasis with more foliage? Are your current plants thriving, or struggling?
  • Power: Do you feel limited by no power points? Would access to power, or other entertaining features, increase your comfort in this space?
  • Pool coping and decking: Is the space a visual eye-sore? Do you find the atmosphere dated or tarnished? Does this affect how you feel about 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 ways to include a swimming space, from hot tubs, to plunge pools, all the way to a full pool build.

 

Day bed area

Apparently, lying in bed all day isn’t all that healthy…and thus, the day bed was born. If you love to lounge, incorporate the ultimate day bed chill-zone into your outdoor space!

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Outdoor fireplace

You bring the marshmallows, we’ll supply the flames! From portable fire pit, built in fire tables to full-blown custom outdoor fireplaces, the ‘bush telly’ has long since been a mesmerising addition to a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

 

Outdoor bar

These DIY outdoor bar projects offer the perfect opportunity addition for those who love to entertain, or simply enjoy 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. From outdoor lounges, to garden pavilions, to open-air bathrooms, check out these epic outdoor room ideas!

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Outdoor kitchen

Build a foodie’s dream and invest in an outdoor cooking space! From a humble BBQ station, to a luxe open-air cusina, complete with counter-top herb gardens and refrigerated drawers; click through find out how to design the perfect outdoor kitchen for your home!

 

Outdoor shower

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

  • Outdoor ‘en suite’ bathing experiences on bedroom-adjacent balconies or terraces
  • Cooling off station for summer
  • Outdoor ‘bathroom’ along side of house

 

Veggie patch

Do you love to cook? Would you like a project for the kids, to help teach them responsibility and healthy eating? Grow your very own DIY veggie patch! Not only will you get to spend quality time with the family, but your meals will be flavoured with the satisfaction of growing your own food.

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Kid-friendly zones

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

  • Inground or spring-less trampolines
  • Cubby house
  • Tree house (for those nervous with heights, these can also be ground level, around the base of the tree!)
  • Sand pit
  • 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

Written by Evelyn Kandris

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