How to create an indoor – outdoor living space

We all love getting outdoors on those balmy summer days and chilling out with a glass of wine as the sausages sizzle on the barbecue on the sun-drenched patio. However Scottish summers can be all too fleeting. How good would it be to enjoy the outdoors, without getting soaked to the skin, hypothermia or your newspapers flying round the garden when it’s blowing a hoolie?

5 tips for making the most of your outdoor spaces

1.      Think through the indoor – outdoor living space as a whole

A seemless trnsition between house and garden

Appleton Weiner Architects, Mazzulo and Russell Garden Design

Set an appropriate budget for your outdoor space, so that it looks every bit as good as your indoor space. If you need to access the back garden through the house, it may make sense to get this landscaped before making the renovations to your interior space.


2.      Use windows to ‘frame’ garden views

Garden from window

Raum Architects, Mumbles

More often than not, you are viewing your garden from the house, so use a well placed tree, water feature, sculpture or seating area to create a view from the window of your outdoor room.


3.      Match your paving inside and outside

For Real Living Magazine photography by Maree Homer and styling by Erin Michael

Create a single seemless space by extending the flooring from your kitchen or living room out onto the terrace. Slate, limestone, porcelain and wood can be used on both your interior floor and carried outside. Create an imperceptible transition with large folding doors that can be opened right out and on a single level.


4.      Match your indoor and outdoor style

A sleek modern kitchen might look great opening onto contemporary paving and garden furniture surrounded by minimalist planting. If you have used a particular accent colour, style or material indoors, then extend them outside to planting palates, furniture, pots or walls to unify the scheme.


5.      Illuminate your outdoor living space

Garden lighting
Photograph courtesy of MGD Electrical

As with indoor spaces, illuminate your outdoor living space to add a touch of magic as you look out through the long dark winter months. With exterior lighting, subtle lighting is more effective. The contrast between light and shade picks out beautiful textures of bark, foliage and walls.

Creating an indoor -outdoor living space can be life-changing, as we have found when we had our oak frame extension built this summer. It lets you get back to nature, enjoy coffee and croissants on the patio surrounded by birdsong and grill steaks on a firepit on warmer days, while being able to retreat under cover with the sliding doors open in the drizzle. Even with the doors closed on a crisp winter’s day, you feel as if you are outside. You can soak up the natural light flooding in and looking out onto a lush green garden as you snuggle up with a hot chocolate in your cosy winter woollies.