Soak up the very best of summer in your own backyard!
outdoor retreats lend themselves to days in the sun and evenings out under the stars. Your retreat can be big or small — defined by a lawn, deck or a courtyard — with areas for relaxing and entertaining. Elements such as a curved path leading to a secret nook, a hammock or a fountain may be all it takes to beckon you outside for a spot of fresh air. Enjoy!
Maximise the decorative potential
of your outdoor space with clever planning. This narrow water feature – with three stainless-steel scuppers pouring water into the shallow pond – fits neatly between a raised garden bed and path.
Look beyond flowers
to add colour and zest. Along with a vivid market umbrella and cushions, bring your indoor style outdoors with a chic and durable outdoor rug. Choose a waterproof rug made of synthetic material and treated to resist fading and mildew.
Terrace your outdoor space
creatively, zoning it into a separate dining ‘stage’ and seating area with durable decking connecting the two spaces. Consider using retaining walls to elevate your plantings to eye level. It’s the perfect solution whether you have a sloped garden or not.
Transition from deck to garden with planter boxes around the perimeter. On a low-level deck they can act as railings
Preloved tables and chairs evoke a rustic, relaxed vibe, ideal for whiling away the hours over brunch or a barbecue. As the light fades, create interest and mood by sparking up a dozen or more tea-light lanterns strung from an overhead tree or structure.
Deck out your space
with a trellis for flowering climbers like mandevilla vine to grow over and block an unsightly view. Fill planters in front with ornamental grasses and colourful foliage – try coleus. Cushy seating in an orange outdoor fabric spices up this space while a cobalt-blue patterned rug grounds the scheme.
Add colour and drama
to outdoor spaces and terraces with pots. These mini gardens can be run along a fence and the pots painted to help them visually recede. For structure, plant a small palm or shrub and underplant with vines and groundcovers to cascade over the edge. Note the petunias and potato vine used here.
Define a spot
for solo time. A hammock is ideal. Lie back and enjoy being rocked to sleep. Freestanding or hung up, you can place it in a shady corner of your deck, garden or courtyard.
Heaven is a lazy Sunday afternoon spent lounging on a comfy sofa with your fave mag – BHG, of course!
Desirous of seamless
indoor-outdoor flow? Pivoting glass doors that fold away are your answer. It’s a reno worth saving for and doing. Executed well, it will add value to your home and bring you closer to nature.
Pots are an important sculptural element,
but smaller pots can sometimes lack the visual impact of their taller siblings, which put plants at eye level. Just note how this handsome agave garners the attention it so richly deserves, standing out like the true star it is.
You’ll add a real spark
to your lounging area with a fire pit. From small cast-iron trivets to large concrete basins, there is a style to suit every outdoor space. Use it to toast marshmallows on sticks or to get all cosy on chilly evenings.
If you desire defined
yet connected spaces, utilise square or rectangular planters as ‘part walls’ and make material changes underfoot. Here, the pavers (with pebbles as gap fillers) and the charcoal concrete planters with colourful succulents serve to delineate the sitting area from the rest of the garden.
Structurally sound it may be,
but is your deck looking tired? Reinvigorate it with either built-in seating or new outdoor sofas large enough for the gang! Add colour to the scene with cushions and seat upholstery in party-happy vibrant oranges and purples.
Along with a vibrant blue wall
behind it, draw the eye to a feature fountain by creating a corridor-like pathway through dense foliage and flowering shrubs. Alone, or in an enticing combination, simply line your path with tall plants and/or raised garden beds to create ‘walls’.
16, 17 Decorate your outdoor zones
as you would indoors. On a side table, a potted succulent makes a striking vignette when paired with nature’s offering of a sculptural branch. A mosaic table with matching tea lights and a living centrepiece will have you feeling as if you’re wining and dining on a European summer holiday. Happy days!
Pathways with a gentle curve
are a bit like going on a voyage of discovery — where will they lead you to next? It could be to a secluded dining spot, a trickling fountain, a cosy hideaway, a secret garden… Ramp up the mystery with plants and vines that creep across garden walls.
Make use of plants and elements in varying shades of green to add depth and allencompassing lushness
Take yourself off to the Med with an outdoor dining area defined by crazy paving underfoot and a shady pergola, made lush with draping wisteria and clematis. Have space? Don’t skimp on size — you don’t want to be outside and feeling all hemmed in.
Up for a new entertainment deck
that will stand the test of time and won’t warp, swell, rot or demand any re-painting or re-staining? Hardiedeck compressed cement fibre boards (seen here with Scyon Stria wall cladding) are your one-stop solution. Easy to install with concealed screws, the 196mm extra-wide boards will go down quick smart.
Blue and white
is a classic combo and the epitome of coastal cool. It can look both refined and casual, and is a no-fail palette for your soft furnishings.
Much-admired coastal homes
in the style of the Hamptons can be emulated with a classic weatherboard facade for your new build or reno. Check Scyon Linea, used here and painted a beautiful calming grey (Dulux Spanish Olive). We’re loving the conversation pit that sits a few steps away in the garden!
Adirondack chairs and recliners in classic white are right at home with laidback coastal style
A gas strut awning window with an extra-wide servery will have you feeling as if you’re on a beach holiday. Pull up a stool, place your order and chill as you wait. This was all made possible here by a Hardiedeck extension, painted grey. Consider it for your place.
24, 27 Make it an easy transition
between your upper and lower terraces with a set of wide steps (they can also be used as seating). Soften hard side edges with planters filled with a cheerful jumble of low-maintenance perennials and succulents. In this home, patches of black river pebbles are found between the limestone pavers, adding a sense of playfulness.
Soften the hard landscaping
around your pool by easing the segue between it and your garden. Here, a raised and tiled garden bed rich with plants, and the concrete wall disguised by stained boards, do the trick.
Make room for an outdoor bar
with a floating wood bench below a kitchen window. Great as a food/drinks servery, it will also keep you connected to any activities outside. Like the window? Search the internet for gas strut awning windows.
Design an all-play, no-work garden with a mix of lowmaintenance plants and eye-catching materials
Blues in a tiled tabletop, seat pads and/or cushions will evoke a relaxing by-the-sea feeling, even if your home is situated in the desert!