THE GREAT OUT­DOORS

Ten in­spi­ra­tional ideas for porches, ve­ran­dahs, decks and bal­conies.

Homes+ (Australia) - - NEWS -

Got a bal­cony, ve­ran­dah or pa­tio? You’ll find plenty of in­spi­ra­tion with th­ese ideas.

1 WHAT’S IT FOR?

With the de­sign of any space it’s es­sen­tial to de­ter­mine its core func­tion first so that de­ci­sions on ma­te­ri­als, plants and fur­nish­ings can be made with this in mind. Is your bal­cony or porch some­where to re­lax with friends and en­joy the gar­den, an entry point to your home, a place to con­tem­plate a lovely view of the city or just to es­cape the con­fines of a small apart­ment?

2 MULTI-TASK

When space is tight in­side it may be hard to iso­late just one key func­tion for your pre­cious out­door area. If you also need to use the bal­cony to store util­i­ties or as a chil­dren’s play zone, clever plan­ning can ac­com­mo­date those ac­tiv­i­ties. Think about seat­ing that can dou­ble as stor­age and us­ing re­tractable clothes­lines, for in­stance.

3 STYLE CUES

Bal­conies, ve­ran­dahs, decks and other tran­si­tional ar­eas can also take de­sign cues from the gar­den and the wider en­vi­ron­ment, ide­ally a mix of both. If you have a coastal view for in­stance, fur­ni­ture and ma­te­ri­als could have a nau­ti­cal theme. Or if the bal­cony over­looks a trop­i­cal gar­den use sim­i­lar plants and a bam­boo screen.

4 GIMME SHEL­TER

To in­crease the room-like feel of an out­door space you need to cre­ate the same sense of in­ti­macy you would find in the in­te­rior of a home by sur­round­ing it on at least two sides with some form of wall struc­ture. This could be as sim­ple as light­weight trel­lis screens or bam­boo pan­els. How­ever, re­mem­ber that on high roof gar­dens or ex­posed bal­conies, wind needs to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion when choos­ing ma­te­ri­als.

5 OVER­LOOKED

In ur­ban ar­eas bal­conies and roof ter­races of­ten lack pri­vacy from above. Cre­at­ing some form of over­head shel­ter will in­crease that room-like feel. Per­go­las, shade sails or even a homemade frame cov­ered in saris or brush­wood will of­ten do the trick.

6 KEEP CON­NECTED

Use ma­te­rial se­lec­tion to re­in­force vis­ual con­nec­tions be­tween in­door and out­door spa­ces, par­tic­u­larly if ve­ran­dahs and bal­conies are in close prox­im­ity to the in­te­rior. If you’ve used a lot of glass and steel in­side, use those ma­te­ri­als for balustrad­ing. If tim­ber is used more then con­tinue it out­side for seat­ing or a per­gola. But fac­tor in that ma­te­ri­als will be ex­posed to sun, wind and rain.

7 SET THE SCENE

Tran­si­tional spa­ces are ba­si­cally out­door rooms so need a sim­i­lar de­sign approach to those in­side, but in a more laid-back style. Bal­conies and ve­ran­dahs in par­tic­u­lar are closely con­nected and of­ten viewed from the in­te­rior of a house, so con­sider a style that will flow through eas­ily from in­side to out.

8 ON THE FLOOR

The ground sur­face is a key area to ac­cen­tu­ate in­door/out­door flow. If the bal­cony leads off the kitchen, for ex­am­ple, then til­ing is a good choice for the floor sur­face, but if it con­nects to a tim­ber-floored liv­ing area then deck­ing might be a bet­ter op­tion.

Us­ing out­door rugs is also ef­fec­tive.

9 PLANT­ING PLAN

Pot­ted plants are an ex­cel­lent way to add a gar­den-like feel to out­door liv­ing ar­eas, par­tic­u­larly those that are dis­con­nected phys­i­cally, like apart­ment bal­conies. If space is lim­ited try and keep pots off the ground so you have more room for fur­ni­ture. In­stead hang them on rail­ings and from the ceil­ing, or use plants that will grow ver­ti­cally, such as climbers. Up­right plants such as reeds take up less room and can pro­vide screen­ing. Re­mem­ber to check wa­ter­proof­ing and drainage is­sues for bal­cony and roof gar­dens.

10 SIT BACK

When choos­ing fur­ni­ture for porches and bal­conies, re­lax­ation is key. Think swing chairs, day beds, a rock­ing chair, comfy wicker sofa or per­haps a ham­mock, if space al­lows. Use out­door cush­ions to make wooden or me­tal benches and so­fas as comfy as pos­si­ble. Even wooden crates can be­come seats if cov­ered with rugs and cush­ions. Have cosy throws on hand for cooler weather and cit­ronella can­dles for balmy sum­mer evenings.

The right fit

Up­size your fur­ni­ture to suit the space, like the gen­er­ous chairs in this ex­pan­sive deck.

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