How to Make the Most of an Outdoor Room

The popularity of the outdoor room is growing rapidly. Here's why you should invest in your backyard and follow these top tips to make your outdoor space amazing.

Australians are being urged to rekindle their love affair with the outdoors and make the best possible use of their limited outdoor space. 

Landscaping expert Jason Hodges says the the outdoor room is the most versatile room in the house and there has never been a better time to invest in yours.  

Here's why: 

- Increase the value of the home
Property sales research has shown that spending 5 per cent of your home’s value on quality, low maintenance landscaping could increase the resale value of your home by up to 15 per cent. It can also increase the speed of resale by as much as six weeks.

- Safe environment
“Outdoor family rooms provide time-poor parents with a safe environment for children to play and families to reconnect,” says Hodges. With 85 per cent of parents believing their children are not spending enough time outdoors, an outdoor family room provides a safe area for kids to play. It is the perfect space for bringing families together with all the comforts of the indoors, outside. “

- Health benefits
The latest research from Deakin University shows that there is a growing link between physical activity, nature and health and the shift to indoor play is raising health concerns that include obesity and poorer cognitive development. One quarter of Australian children and adolescents are overweight or obese with 64 per cent of kids playing outdoors less than once a week. Spending time in nature has been linked to improved attention spans, boosts in serotonin and shows increased activity in the parts of the brain responsible for empathy, emotional stability and love. Just 30 minutes in the sun can provide nearly a day’s supply of vitamin D through skin absorption.

Here, Jason Hodges offers some tips on creating the most impact in your outdoor family room - 

Paving is the foundation for a good outdoor room. It sets the theme for the whole space and can determine the look, feel, colour palette and much more. Coloured concrete pavers can completely transform the look and feel of any space. Adbri Masonry’s pavers are available in a range of shapes, sizes, colours and prices to help create the outdoor family room of your dreams. The opportunities with paving are endless and can create a big impact in a small area.

Outdoor fireplace
Not only will a feature fireplace make a huge statement in the outdoor family room, it also ensures you can make the most of the space by using it all year round. Gathering the family around the fireplace is the perfect way to spend the cooler winter nights. A fireplace will add warmth and ambience to the outdoor room as well as creating a focal point thanks to its large scale presence. If you’re on a budget, try Miniwall blocks for a fire pit project. They don’t use any glue and are concrete making them great for enclosing fire pits.

Water feature
Introducing a water feature to the outdoor room can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your space. There are some fantastic water feature options on the market today. Water features can also serve a functional purpose such as blocking out noise from traffic or neighbours and add a peaceful ambiance to the garden. A stone feature wall will add some texture and make a water feature pop making the greatest impact.

Furniture selection
Choosing the right furniture is imperative to maximising time spent in the outdoor room. Start by considering your lifestyle and how you anticipate the room will be used. Lounges and deep seaters are perfect for those who like to relax whereas dining settings are best for those who love long family meals. Furniture selection can even facilitate conversation and increase social interaction.

“Choose pieces that encourage togetherness,” advises Guy March, National Manager, Cosh Living. “Items that are multi-functional, flexible and can be easily moved around to create an alternative setting are popular with families. An outdoor family room with seating facing each other will create an environment where conversation and interactivity will thrive.” 

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Posted by Spot Design StudioReport
Great ideas to maximize outdoor rooms, just remember to minimize the extent of reflective hard surfaces, and utilize shade planting and screens to make the space more usable (and water permeable) during the hotter months.