How to create an outdoor living space in your garden

Ruth Marshall

Gardens have always had mixed purposes; from dressing the home, creating gorgeous views from the house, and inviting the owners into the garden, as well as providing space for entertaining. Looking at how to create an outdoor living space in your garden allows owners to maximise their enjoyment of their gardens year round.  How can they bring the outside in, and find a fluidity between dwelling and garden?

There is no doubt that creating an outdoor living space in your garden has become the priority for more and more people, particularly since lockdown and with many more people working from home.

What is outdoor living space in your garden?

Outside living space in your garden can be a haven of calm, a private little oasis, or a stunning space for large-scale entertaining. Often we would like a combination of these and this is where a bit of magic needs to come in. CGLA will expertly guide you through dividing the space into zones and ensuring there is plenty of comfortable seating.

Do contact our design team to arrange a consultation if you would like to start this process!

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How do I arrange my outdoor living space in my garden?

Are you feeling excited at the thought of starting your outdoor living space project? Here at CGLA, we’ve pulled together the key considerations to help you get started on creating your outdoor oasis.

How to start creating an outdoor living space?

Thinking about the outside space, it is important to consider what you want to use this for- is it to be occasional entertaining space such as a firepit or lounge area, or a series of linked spaces for dining, lounging and perhaps a hot tub or pool.

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Creating a covered area?

One of the most important questions is the degree of weatherproofing that is required- do you want sun shading or rain cover, or are you happy to have it open?

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For more open structures, the design can focus on enclosing the space to make it feel comfortable, or simply signalling “this is where we are going to sit” with attractive materials, edgings and good paths. Structures with roofs can be permanently covered or use louvres to allow them to be open when desired. These metal pergolas are very flexible as sides can be added, again either permanently or removable.

Ruth Marshall, RHS Gold Medal-Winning Garden Designer, shared her advice on common issues when approaching outdoor living space..

“Creating some shade from the sun as well as shelter from light rain will extend the time you can use the garden. It is critical that you know exactly where the sun hits at different times of day so do your homework and mark this on a plan. Sunny breakfast space is often as valuable as catching the evening sun, and a bit of shade in the middle of the day is well worth it when we do get a heatwave! Working the garden design around where you want to sit and when is a really good way to get cracking.”

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There are sometimes planning considerations with adding permanent structures like these, and in general you are restricted in terms of heights and how close to a boundary you can place them, so it is worth planning this carefully before you get to far!

Is an outdoor kitchen worth it?

Outdoor kitchens have become very popular in recent years, and with good reason as these can be a stunning addition to a garden. Suppliers report an increase in orders of more than a third from last year, and a massive 82% from 2019 to now.

An outdoor kitchen is a great excuse for family get togethers, for keen pizza chefs and BBQ experts to show their skills, and a wonderful focus for socialising, but can be a big investment so it is worth getting it right!

Francine Taylor, CGLA designer and outdoor kitchen specialist advises “We design extraordinary outdoor kitchens, including sunken seating, integrated heaters and lighting, pizza ovens, sinks, fridges BBQ’s and storage space. We always suggest planning the kitchen early as mains gas, drainage and flues need to be planned before the rest of the hard landscaping and surrounding structures. These may not be the fun bits but once decisions have been made on appliances and layout, we can get these elements planned in for you, as well as the more creative aspects like flooring, lighting and finishes.”

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Smaller spaces can still be divided into different spaces for lounging, sitting and entertaining, and with careful design you can achieve a number of different ‘zones’ whilst still not breaking up the space entirely.

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Carl Asquith, CGLA director comments “When creating outside living space, the most successful designs are those where the client has thought hard about what they want to use it for. Family lounging and entertaining when the weather is good can be achieved much more simply and cheaply than year-round living space, but all options can be made to look stunning, be functional, and add a whole new living space to your home”

Contact our highly talented and experienced design team to start creating your outdoor living space. Get inspired with us at CGLA. From tiny to mighty space; we’ll help create a beautiful outdoor living space that feels utterly exceptional.

Contact us here