September 24, 2023
Don't judge me, but this writer is one of those lucky people who got to holiday in Italy this summer. One of the things I love most about discovering new places is how they inspire us to make changes in our lives, and this time was no different. On my return to Sydney, I was determined to replicate those wonderful outdoor spaces on the Amalfi Coast where I'd gorged on the best pasta and pizzas and drank far too many Limoncellos. Those precious memories of my new experiences inspired me to start a home project that had been on the back burner for too long - a Mediterranean-inspired outdoor area.
The cost of living is affecting all of us, but fortunately you don't need to be a professional landscaper nor require a massive budget to design a new outdoor living area as we discovered last summer. And whether you're updating a new property or an existing property to sell, there are many smart ways to get around the increasing costs of construction.
Furthermore, whether you decide on a more intimate, relaxing retreat or an elaborate space such as an outdoor room or kitchen that can be used all year round, the best outdoor areas share certain requirements: careful planning and creativity.
Needless to say, there are certain fundamental rules to follow. The most successful outdoor area designs harmonise with their surroundings and nature, and ideally, they should offer an obvious purpose. So the question to ask yourself at the start of the project is how you will use the space, whether it is primarily for relaxation, dining, or entertainment purposes. The functionalism of your space will dictate what you need, whether that is a focus on decorative elements, a fire, pizza oven, water feature, or your furniture.
With a large enough space, your area can offer a combination of uses, but in a more compact area, such as a balcony or courtyard, you may have to choose between a relaxation or entertaining zone, i.e., outdoor lounge setting or dining furniture, and your choice of materials will depend on whether the area is covered or not.
Finally, you should also think about how the space flows from and complements your home. You don't want the result to look contrived, but rather a natural extension that has come together organically.
The reason Mediterranean outdoor areas appeal so much is the idea of long, lazy summer lunches outside with family and friends, not to mention that the style also suits most budgets and the majority of homes, and is largely sustainable. Traditional stone and terracotta walls and flooring, potted and landscaped greenery, teak or metal furniture, and the soft light of candles go a long way in creating a rich, welcoming outdoor entertaining space that is certain to impress.
In a courtyard, for example, plants, flowers and fruit trees provide colour, contrast, and shade; soft furnishings such as a Provencale tablecloth thrown over the table or mosaic tiles add another layer of colour, and the rich earthy hues of terracotta pots or flooring add depth and a sense of nostalgia.
But whichever style you aspire to create, the best outdoor living areas have 7 core elements:
Obviously, you need to find your perfect property before you can put your personal stamp on it. It's only natural to want to jump straight into the fun parts of buying a new home - the interior and exterior design - but the other stuff doesn’t need to be stressful with the right support. This is where Listing Loop can help you. As Australia's leading marketplace for off-market, pre-market and "secret" listings, we have an extensive portfolio of stunning off-market properties for you to choose from and a wonderful team of property experts who remove all the stress from the buying process.
That means you get to focus on the fun parts.
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