Creating different zones in your outdoor spaces is a great way to give your home additional square footage for family and friends to spread out. Yet zoning can be tricky without proper planning, so it’s best approached with user-friendliness top of mind. Start by thinking about what you dream of doing outdoors. Is it growing a garden, cooking, dining alfresco with family and friends, playing with your family or simply just relaxing in the sunshine? Once you have identified just how you want to spend time in your yard or balcony, then clever planning will ensure you make the most of these spaces. Here are 7 simple outdoor zoning ideas to maximise your space.
Outdoor dining settings are best placed in close proximity to the cooking area as cooking is such a communal activity these days — and we don’t want the cooks to be left out of the conversation.
For a cohesive and stylish look, choose furniture pieces for your zones that work together — for instance, rattan or cane dining chairs look great with lounge chairs in the same material. Contemporary outdoor pieces work best in the outdoor zones of contemporary homes — particularly if these zones are visible from inside.
Outdoor rugs are a great way of defining zones — they can provide a visual anchor to a lounge setting, and will create a lovely, layered look when used in a combined indoor-outdoor area.
Don’t forget the small stuff — just as coffee and side tables perform an important function indoors, they also make outdoor lounge rooms more comfortable, providing a place to pop your drink or nibbles at close range.
Consider mobile furniture pieces that can be moved around to create different rooms at different times — a bar-height table on castor wheels can be used for dining or casual drinks when combined with bar stools, or be a serving buffet for big gatherings or host a full bar set-up for a party.
If space is tight in your outdoor dining zone, consider stacking chairs that can be packed away in between meal times.
Outdoor zones will get much more use if there is adequate lighting — but ambience must be a key consideration. You don’t want to over-light these spaces as they won’t feel as relaxing, so look for lanterns, candlelight and fairy lights to add sparkle into the night.
Heather Nette King is a Melbourne‑based interiors stylist and writer for many leading interior titles and newspapers. She has been the Melbourne Homes Editor of Sunday Life magazine for over a decade, and her work has appeared in many Australian and international magazines, including Inside Out Magazine, Country Style, Australian House & Garden, Real Living Australia Magazine, Home Beautiful Magazine, Vogue Living, ELLE China, The Design Files and The Interiors Addict. Her own home has appeared in Belle Magazine, and her previous home was featured in the international style bible, ELLE Decoration UK. Heather has created the visual imagery for many well-known Australian brands, and also works behind the scenes copy-writing for their advertisements and websites. Heather is currently renovating her family home in an iconic, heritage‑listed apartment block. Her hobbies are gardening, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and walking her beloved Golden Retriever, Dougal.