Knowing how to successfully connect indoor and outdoor zones has become a cornerstone of great design, with more people wanting to increase their living spaces by seamlessly integrating them with often under-utilised patios, pergolas and pool decks. While some aspects of a home cannot be easily changed – orientation, paving, plumbing, walls – there are a few ways you can build enticing connections between one zone and another.
Eco-friendly Fire Solutions
With the kitchen long been considered the heart of the home, outdoor fireplaces are fast becoming the centrepiece of an outdoor room. They’re a compelling draw card, adding a comfort factor much like plush cushions and furnishings do indoors.
“Outdoor living rooms have become one of the hottest trends in home design – and with householders wanting to use them throughout the year, outdoor fireplaces have become very popular,” says Stephane Thomas, director of The Fire Company.
Smartly designed and intelligently engineered, the ever-evolving range of EcoSmart Fire outdoor models are ideal for garden and swimming pool areas, and outdoor dining and entertaining spaces. They are powered by a clean-burning, renewable energy called bioethanol, which provides the warmth and allure of a traditional fire without the associated soot, smoke or ash.
“EcoSmart Fires aren’t just for the cooler months. They have numerous benefits – providing warmth, adding a simple but stylish design element to the outdoor room or garden, creating a focal point, creatively illuminating spaces, and enhancing the ambience,” explains Stephane.
Ecosmart Fire’s Glow brings contemporary flair to outdoor areas. It combines soft curves coupled with industrial materials to create a modern centrepiece for outdoor entertaining. The stainless steel base supports a cylindrical glass surround, with the AB8 round burner delivering up to 11 hours of burning time. It’s perfect for illuminating an outdoor event or simply enriching a room’s ambience. It’s also portable, which means it can be installed virtually anywhere – both outside and in.
Swimming Pool Trends
“A holistic approach to design ensures the pool fits in with the architecture of a home and entire property, rather than being the afterthought that it once was,” says Chris Fitzmaurice from pool and spa specialist, Swimart. “Today’s homeowners want a pool that makes a statement, is aesthetically pleasing, doubles as a fountain or water feature, and serves as a backyard oasis.”
Trends include plunge pools in courtyards; lap pools running alongside or ‘around’ a home; living areas built around pools; tropical resort-inspired spas; part of the pool ‘flowing’ into the home; even pools with retractable decks.
“Pools are being used for more than just exercise or family fun,” Chris explains. “For example, a small pool close to the house can bounce light into a dark area of the home’s interior. Or viewed at night, it can add an extra dimension to the landscaping when lit by small halogen lights.
INTEGRATE INDOOR-OUTDOOR LIVING WITH THESE 5 TIPS
Keep the front and back gardens at the same elevation as the living area to create one giant living space.
Use large panes of glass and sliding doors to connect interior and exterior views
Position pools close to the residence to entice swimmers on a hot day and create a water feature when they’re not in use.
Increase living and entertaining areas with zones that offer spatial and visual continuity.
Break-up large outdoor spaces like patios and pool decks by creating intimate zones through the use of furniture and outdoor fireplaces.
Veda Dante has over 25 years’ experience as a magazine editor and newspaper photojournalist. A former editor of publications including Lifestyle Pools + outdoor design and Style at Home, Veda continues to write about interior design, landscape architecture and outdoor living for online blogs, regional newspapers (APN), and Western Australia’s biggest residential builder, RBWA.