Taking the time to furnish and renovate properties can turn an old run-down house or character-less new-build into a warm, comfortable living space, a home for a family.
Many people will focus on the inside of their homes. However, taking the time to plan and create an inviting outdoor space can extend your living space and give you an additional, versatile area.
An outdoor space is great for relaxing, playing, and entertaining and can be ideal for families.
This guide will give you the advice you need to create the perfect outdoor living space so you can enjoy your garden all year round.
Why Invest in Your Outdoor Space?
Gardens are often neglected when the sun isn’t shining. Large lawns can become a burden rather than something to enjoy.
Taking the time to turn your garden into a multifunctional area will allow everyone in your home to enjoy getting outside more.
So, what does a well-designed garden offer homeowners? Here are some of the main benefits you will enjoy when you put some time and effort into your outdoor space;
Somewhere to Play
Families with young children might find that space in their homes is at a premium. Toys, games, and other essentials seem to take up more space than you could imagine.
Having additional space is always going to be beneficial, and having a safe outdoor space where children can play is an excellent option.
A deck with durable deck boards is the perfect place for parents to relax with a book while their child plays. Decking and a well-maintained lawn are great areas for kids to enjoy when the weather picks up.
Somewhere to Relax
With more people than ever working from home, the feeling of being cooped up can be demoralising. Enjoying an outdoor space can give you somewhere to clear your mind, enjoy a good book, or catch up on your favourite podcasts.
A comfortable chair or hammock in an outdoor area, patio, or decking can be the perfect way to unwind.
If mowing your lawn, weeding the flower beds, and trimming bushes every week do not seem appealing to you, installing a decking area can be the perfect answer.
Decking can provide a great area for relaxing and socialising and can complement a well-maintained garden.
Decking will minimise lawn space and make it significantly more manageable. Choosing a low-maintenance decking option will also ensure you are able to enjoy going outside without having to work.
Increase Property Value
The value of a property will be increased by well-designed and maintained gardens. High-quality decking areas and roof terraces have been known to increase property values by as much as 25% in some desirable areas.
If you are planning to move or are interested in property development, the garden should not be overlooked.
Taking the time to create an outdoor living space that appeals to buyers will make the property more desirable and improve its value.
The Top Tips on How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Living Space
Now you know the benefits of creating the ideal outdoor living space, you might be interested in learning more about how to create them.
The following guide will help you plan your outdoor living space and provide ideas to take inspiration from so you can enjoy more of your home.
Plan Your Layout
The size of your garden will dictate what is possible, but even small areas can be used efficiently.
If you plan to install decking, you must check with local planning authorities to see if permission is required.
Decks under 30 cm in height and that do not cover over 50% of the garden, along with other buildings, won’t typically require planning permission.
Maximising areas of the garden that enjoy sunlight should be a priority.
Choose the Right Decking
Decking can be a welcome addition to any outdoor living area as long as it compliments the property and is installed correctly.
When choosing the decking, you should think about its durability, style, cost, and how long it will typically last.
Your budget will play a big part in what decking you will be able to install. Still, it is worth investing in higher-quality materials to minimise maintenance costs and increase its predicted lifespan.
Natural wood decking is the most commonly used decking material in the UK. Different types of wood decking will offer different benefits.
Softwood decking is great for anyone on a budget, but it is not as long-lasting as other options. You could expect softwood decking to last between 10 and 15 years, but it does require regular maintenance.
Hardwood decking is longer lasting and more durable than softwood deck boards, but it will be more expensive.
Traditional wooden decking will need to be treated to withstand the UK weather, and boards can be stained to a colour that suits the homeowner’s preference.
Wood decking can warp, split, splinter, rot, or suffer from pests like woodworm, making it a high-maintenance option.
Composite decking is a durable, long-lasting decking option that is perfect for the UK. Ecoscape offers two different types of composite decking, Clarity and Forma.
Clarity composite decking by Ecoscape is made using reclaimed wood fibres and recycled plastic. The benefit of this combination is that it does not rot, splinter, split, or warp like traditional wood decking.
Clarity composite decking comes with a 20-year warranty and goes through rigorous testing. The slip-resistance properties make it a safe option, and third-party certification guarantees the quality of the decking.
Forma composite decking is made the same way as Clarity decking, the main difference being the durable outer layer that affords additional protection.
Capped composite boards are more expensive, but they offer benefits such as a 25-year guarantee, greater scratch and stain resistance, and a colour guarantee to protect against fading.
Forma capped composite decking boards have a cost of £66.12 per square meter compared to the £41.55 per square meter cost of Clarity composite decking.
Other Things to Consider When Buying Decking
Installing decking can be a big investment. The benefits of adding an additional outdoor living area and increasing the value of your home will make it worth it, as long as it is done correctly.
Ensuring the subframe is as high a quality as your decking is important as it will help to determine how long your decking lasts.
Timber subframes are a common option, but they can deteriorate more quickly than higher-quality decking if it is exposed to moisture.
Composite and aluminium subframes will be more expensive than timber subframes and joists but will last longer with less maintenance.
Planning the layout is essential to creating a good outdoor living space, and you should also consider the style you want to create.
Styling your outdoor space can be done in a number of ways, and how it is connected to your home might play a part.
Patio doors connecting from an indoor living room or dining room are great for allowing your style to flow.
If you have a regular door, using a style that compliments your indoor style can help to turn the outdoor space into an outdoor room.
Depending on the property type, traditional or contemporary furnishings might suit the outdoor area.
Choosing the right outdoor furniture will depend on the intended purpose of the area. If you plan to use the outdoor area to entertain, the seating should be comfortable, and outdoor sofa sets are ideal. If you have decking, you can also look at using pads on heavy furniture to protect the boards.
If you are creating an outdoor dining area, there are great table and chair sets to suit all tastes. This includes low-priced plastic garden furniture that is durable and easy to maintain, as well as glass-topped tables and metal and wood options that are perfect for al fresco dining.
To create a relaxing outdoor area, swinging chairs, comfortable seating, and hammocks are all excellent options.
You can also include soft furnishings to ensure outdoor spaces mimic your indoor living space.
Outdoor rugs are a great way to make the space feel more like an outdoor room, and well-placed coffee tables are also great for making the area welcoming.
Potted plants can be an excellent way to decorate the area and make the area blend in with the surrounding garden.
Cover Your Outdoor Living Space
To enjoy an outdoor living space all year round, you can also look into options to cover patio or decking areas.
This can offer the additional benefit of protecting your decking from the weather and increasing its life span.
Covers can also offer shade during the warm summer months, giving you and your family a cool area to rest, play, and eat.
An awning is a covering that is attached to the main building’s exterior wall and can be extended to provide shade or cover to the area below.
Awnings are used outside cafes and buildings to protect them and their customers from the weather.
They come in various materials, including cotton, vinyl, polyester, and canvas. The style and colour can be selected to suit the home’s exterior and outdoor living space.
A canopy is typically a semi-permanent structure that provides coverage over a decking or patio area.
Canopy covers can be hard or soft, depending on whether the property owner wants the option of removing the cover to allow sun.
Large patio umbrellas are a removable option that can be used to shade diners around a patio table.
You will be able to choose a patio umbrella that fits into a central hole on a patio table, and they often come with fixed bases for stability.
Gazebos are large open-sided structures that have a cover over the top and come in a variety of sizes and styles.
Permanent gazebos are similar to canopies, with the main difference being that the canopy typically refers to the cover, and a gazebo is a covered structure.
You will be able to choose between permanent or removable gazebos, with some having option sides that can enclose an area.
Pergolas are garden structures that support a roof of cross beams or a lattice. This can be covered to provide shade.
Pergolas are often used over seating, are great statement pieces and are an excellent focal point.
A shade sail is a piece of fabric that is stretched between fixed points to provide cover and shade.
They are low-price options that are typically straightforward to set up.
They are great for the summer as they allow full ventilation for a covered patio area.
Consider Outdoor Dining
Dining in your outside space is an enjoyable experience, and so is cooking. Creating an outdoor kitchen will let you create meals in the fresh air, and there are plenty of options available.
Outdoor kitchens are more typically found in hot countries, but they can still be a great addition to a UK home that has space.
Outdoor kitchens can offer a great range of appliances and options depending on the budget, and they can ensure you don’t miss out on any of the fun when entertaining outdoors.
Pizza ovens are a popular option in the UK. Wood-fired pizza ovens are a fun way for families to enjoy the outdoors and mealtimes together.
Prices vary from under £200 for small, portable models to upwards of £1,500 for larger inbuilt options.
Barbecues are the most common way for people in the UK to cook outside, and there are many options available.
Built-in BBQs are fixtures that are built into a designated space or part of a counter in an outdoor kitchen.
Built-in BBQs are typically robust units that are well-designed and built to last from weatherproof materials.
If you take your barbecuing seriously, this can be a worthwhile investment for your outdoor dining area.
Not everyone will have the space, budget, or desire to build a BBQ area, and there are free-standing BBQs to suit all budgets and needs.
The benefit of a free-standing barbecue is that it can be cleaned and stored away, so you have more space to enjoy without worrying about kids playing near it.
Heating an outdoor living area is important if you want to enjoy your garden year-round. Below you will find the best UK garden heating options on the market;
Fire pits make a great focal point and are perfect for gathering around after the sun goes down or when the weather starts to get a bit colder.
Here are the four main options for anyone looking at fire pits for their gardens;
- Wood Burning – Wood burning fire pits are the most common and create a cosy atmosphere. The crackle and smell of burning wood are a benefit, and it can be a cheap way to stay warm outside.
- Propane – Propane fire pits are typically grander in design than wood-fueled options and are significantly less messy. They are easy to control and use.
- Gel Fueled – Gel-fueled fire pits use alcohol-based fuel to produce heat and come in a variety of styles.
- Natural Gas – Natural gas fire pits can be fueled from a central line and can make great permanent features in a garden.
Free-standing outdoor patio heaters are used in restaurants and bars with outside areas. Propane, natural gas, and electric options are available, and infrared options are also available.
A Chimenea is a small fireplace with a chimney that rises straight up from the body.
These free-standing fireplaces are available in a variety of sizes and are a great source of heat in a garden. They can be moved to different areas of the garden when not in use, giving you much more freedom than with other outdoor fireplaces.
The outdoor lighting you choose will make a big impact on the area’s ambience. Whether you want a brightly lit area or would prefer softer lighting, you will have plenty of options.
Solar-powered garden lights are a great way to save money and enjoy all of your outdoor space without any dark, uninviting areas.
String lights are popular for lighting fences or wrapping around structures like pergolas to create a focal point in the evening.
A water feature with colour-changing LED lighting is another great way to incorporate lighting into your garden’s focal points.
Wall lights hooked up to the property’s electrical supply will provide a practical lighting solution, and fixtures are available in a variety of designs to suit both traditional and contemporary homes.
Storage space is an important factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. As well as providing a way to keep your garden neat and tidy, it can also protect barbecues, lawnmowers, gardening equipment, and soft furnishings from the elements when not in use.
Choosing your storage to compliment the style, finish and colour of your decking or outdoor living area colour scheme will stop it from looking out of place and clashing.
Is composite decking easy to clean?
Yes, composite decking is easy to clean when compared to traditional wood decking.
Composite decking is considered low-maintenance because it does not need to be treated or weatherproofed.
Cleaning composite decking will usually consist of sweeping dirt and debris away and scrubbing with warm water and soap.
Power washers can be used carefully on composite decking at the pressure advised by the supplier.
Is composite decking easy to install?
Yes, composite decking is easy to install for professionals, and it is essential the installation guides are followed when installing composite decking.
Failure to follow the supplier guides or use the accessories supply can invalidate the warranty.
Installation guides are designed specifically for their products, and deviating from these guides can compromise the performance or longevity of the decking.
Is capped composite decking worth the extra money?
Yes, capped composite decking is worth paying for. In the case of Ecoscape’s Forma decking, the additional warranty and quality of the product can be cost-effective in the long term.
With a warranty of 25 years, you can expect your Forma decking to last even longer when you compare this with the 10 to 15 years that wood decking is expected to last and the cost of maintaining a wooden deck, it is a good option.
Is furnishing an outside deck a good idea?
Yes, selecting the right furnishings for your outside decking area can improve the area and protect the decking in some cases.
Using an outdoor rug or mat in high-traffic areas can reduce wear and tear. It is essential that any furnishings used don’t cause a trip or slip hazard.
Anyone that enjoys spending time outdoors will benefit from investing time and money into their outdoor living space.
As well as being able to enjoy additional useable space, a well-designed garden can increase property values.
Improving your garden space and including decking can make it a versatile space that the whole family will be able to enjoy.
Taking the time to plan correctly and investing in high-quality products means you will be able to enjoy your outdoor space all year round.
There are options that will require minimal maintenance and make your garden a safer, more welcoming environment for family and friends.
If you’ve decided that adding composite decking to your outdoor living room is a great idea, why not get in touch with Ecoscape today?