10 unique outdoor living areas (and what makes them so great)

Posted by Mitchell Stewart on 8/16/18 4:24 PM
Mitchell Stewart
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Outdoor living is an important part of Kiwi culture, with many people now preferring to use their backyards for entertaining rather than gardening or sports. Outdoor living areas can also improve or expand indoor living areas, which in turn adds value to a property.

But with so many options for creating your dream outdoor living space, how can you know which solution will work best in your environment? Here we've provided some unique examples of outdoor living spaces (and why they work well), to get your creative juices flowing for your own design at home.

1. Louvred room in Sydney

Creating privacy and space with a louvred outdoor room

This house in Sydney's suburbs takes the concept of indoor-outdoor living to the next level. The challenge of this property was to create a bright, airy space without compromising privacy of the occupants (who are inevitably sandwiched between two larger properties that overlook theirs).

The architects came up with a solution to create a long, louvred outdoor room using fixed louvres which surrounds the side and back of the house. This allows the natural light to flow through to the outdoor and indoor living areas, while still providing privacy and not compromising on outdoor space for the little ones. They have even utilised a veggie garden in the wall outside the kitchen!

2. Pivoting timber screens create an open space in NSW

Connecting the indoors to the surrounding bushland with pivoting screens

The owners of this holiday home in NSW had a strong desire to create an open space that could accommodate a large number of people and kids. The upstairs living area can be opened right up to include the outdoor living area as part of the open plan entertaining area. The pivoting timber louvres control privacy, sunlight and selective views to the coast, while connecting the occupants to the surrounding bushland.

3. Patterned overhead screen for shading

A patterned screen provides sunshade and a feature over this outdoor living space

While it is almost essential to have some kind of covering for your outdoor living area in Australia and New Zealand, this property gets creative with it. Instead of opting for a standard pergola, the architects have opted for a patterned overhead screen to provide some shading and a pretty feature when the sun creates a unique shadow across the area. This is a great idea if you want to create a unique statement for your space, while still controlling light and shade.

4. Operable louvre roof for versatility

An operable louvre roof gives this outdoor living space versatility

For those that enjoy the variety of a fully closed pergola and an open one, operable louvres are the way to go - which is exactly what this property in Australia has used. The continuation from the indoor space to the outdoor living area, means that it can basically be treated as another room in the house with the louvres closed.

The use of a clear glass fence to continue through to the garden creates an open atmosphere, and connects the various spaces together visually.

5. Louvred screens for outdoor living in California

This outdoor living space makes the most of the louvre roof and wall to create a super comfortable space

This property in California has made the most of a true outdoor room - using timber and steel louvres to create a screen that wraps around the top and one side of the outdoor living area. This gives the illusion of it being an actual room, while still remaining connected to the outdoor environment (especially with the greenery peeping through the screen). The designer has also made the most of the space by installing lighting and heating between the louvres - creating a seriously comfortable outdoor room.

6. Floating roof in Rio de Janeiro

A floating roof provides this outdoor living area with more light

This is a truly unique property in Rio de Janeiro. The architects have used the idea of a 'floating' roof throughout the property, which has been carried through to the outdoor living area. The use of a solid roof and walls in the outdoor area, has been offset by the space between the walls and the high roof to let more light flow through. This design also highlights the spectacular view that the continuous roof eventually leads your eyes to.

7. Fixed vertical louvres add privacy in Brisbane

Louvre screens provide privacy to a front of house retreat

This home in Brisbane has made the most of the space at the front of the property, using vertical louvres to create a private retreat off the main bedroom. The space remains protected with a closed roof, but still allows for privacy and adequate sunlight with the use of the louvres. The timber louvres also provide an architectural statement for the front of the house, which provides a modern take on the classic QLD timber homes.

8. Bi-fold shutters for practicality

This simple and functional outdoor living space works well with the sometimes harsh climate of the area

Located on Lizard Island in Australia, the owners of this property wanted to create the “best reef house in the world.” The outdoor area of this home had to consider a few aspects: the incredible views over the ocean, the sometimes intense sun bearing down on the house, and the risk of damage from cyclones in the far north.

Considering these points, the architects have created a relatively simple but functional outdoor space. The simple pillars don't obstruct the views, but still provide a small amount of sunshading. They've also utilised bi-fold shutters on the doors and windows which can be closed to protect the house from intense heat and cyclonic weather, be can also be fully opened to take in the scenery.

9. Sliding louvre screens extend this living space

This house extension uses louvres to protect and provide a multi-use space

The dense residential nature of Abbotsford in Melbourne, meant that the owners of this property favoured quality of space over quantity of space. They created a 'box on back' extension to their property, which uses a multifunctional approach to create an outdoor living space that can be used year round.

Sliding louvre screens mean the occupants can choose to either expand their indoor living space, or create an open outdoor living space. They also provide some noise protection from busy roads, and create more shade in the summer months but still provide places to enjoy the sunshine.

10. A pergola provides extra useable space

Bringing open plan living to this Kiwi outdoor living space.

"Simplicity is the key, with most of the living going on outdoors." This is a classic Kiwi attitude that was catered for with this outdoor living space. The open style plan of this pergola enables the occupants to take in the expansive views on offer, while still accommodating some creature comforts.

Although open, the pergola is protected by the external walls of the house and the battens of the pergola provide some sun protection for those warmer days. The addition of the outdoor fire place means the space can still be used when the cooler weather starts to kick in.

I hope you now feel inspired and have a few more ideas for your own outdoor living space. If you're considering an operable louvre roof for your space, download our brochure here to find out more about how they can be customised for your needs.

Download the brochure on operable roofs

Topics: Outdoor living