How To Design a Luxury Outdoor Space

By Oliver Burns

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August 28, 2020|Luxury Design

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  • ith summer approaching and warmer days ahead, our focus shifts from the indoors to the outdoors. Much of the appeal of a garden is that it offers a multifunctional space; a place to enjoy alfresco dining with family and friends, a welcome retreat to read a book or room for children to play. As such, when beginning the process of designing an outdoor space, it is important to consider who will be using it and what for. Creating designated zones and being clear about the function of each area, will allow you to design an outdoor space that meets all of your needs. By considering your outdoor space as an extension of your home, you can create a seamless flow between the interior and exterior. In this blog, we discuss the key components to creating a beautiful outdoor space; from the art of zoning to the best furniture for creating a luxurious space to enjoy all summer long.

Walpole Mayfair Penthouse Roof Terrace. Photo by Oliver Burns.

Lighting

One of the most important considerations before you begin the process of planning an outdoor space is sunlight. The direction your garden or terrace faces will have a significant impact on where you position flowers or plants, as well as the layout of your furniture. South-facing spaces benefit from the most sunshine throughout the day, but can be cooler in the morning. In contrast, a west-facing space is better for late afternoon and evening light. Consider whether your garden will be used for a morning coffee break, as an additional space to work, or for dining with family in the evening.

 

Italian Lakehouse Outdoor Space. Photo by Oliver Burns.

Setting

When designing the outdoor space surrounding our Italian Lakehouse, we thoughtfully considered the overall setting. Cypress-fringed hilltops and mountains frame the residence and therefore the garden has been designed to fully maximise these stunning natural views. A Mediterranean-inspired pool and immaculate landscaped gardens take advantage of the abundance of sunlight the outdoor space enjoys, whilst also providing the perfect spot to watch the sun set behind the mountains in the evening.

Beau House Penthouse Retractable Glass Roof. Image by Oliver Burns.

Weather

For gardens that are not located in warm climates like Italy, the weather is another key consideration. Take note of the prevailing wind direction and the time of day. Some areas may be calm and still in the morning, but by evening experience a gentle breeze. This is important to consider before building a fire pit or cooking area. Likewise, if you live in a country with a high rainfall, consider this factor as part of your design planning.

The roof terrace situated at the top of our Beau House penthouse has been thoughtfully designed to be suitable for year-round use. A fully retractable glass roof reveals this spectacular space, flooding the interiors with natural light and creating the sensation of bringing the outdoors in. An under floor heating system has been installed to ensure the terrace can be used even in cooler weather. This is cleverly concealed by a bespoke grill in a herringbone design, which reflects the internal herringbone timber floor in the living area, seamlessly transitioning between the indoors and outdoors.

Big Green Egg Barbecue Cooker. Image via Which Magazine.

Technology

Luxury outdoor spaces now enjoy the same modern conveniences as interiors due to increasingly advanced technology. Along with the retractable glass roof and under floor heating, our Beau House roof terrace also features a state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen, a wall-mounted TV and an intelligent outdoor lighting system. The kitchen represents the very height of alfresco fine dining with a self-lit barbecue, wine cooler, a fridge as well as a table to seat eight. A brand we love for outdoor dining is Big Green Egg, who make the highest quality outdoor cookers used by Michelin chefs.

After dinner, the residents and guests are able to enjoy the magnificent views of iconic landmarks such as the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament from the comfort of a lounge area, which cleverly doubles up as an outdoor cinema. Every last detail has been carefully considered for style and functionality, including the artfully concealed speakers located in the planters and an iPad system programmed to activate the under floor heating, music and other access requests at the mere touch of a finger. In this way, the Beau House roof terrace is designed as an extension of the interior, ensuring there is no compromise on style or luxury.

  • Beau House Penthouse Terrace Seating Area. Photo by Oliver Burns.
  • Beau House Penthouse Terrace Kitchen Area. Photo by Oliver Burns.

Zoning

By creating outdoor ‘rooms’, such as a distinct area for entertaining, dining, rest and relaxation, it is possible to create a space that harmoniously flows with the interior design. Where possible, reference the same colour palette and style of furniture featured in your interiors to ensure the overall design between the inside and outdoor areas of your home feels seamless. We love outdoor furniture by brands such as George Smith and Dedon who create designs that are durable but still luxurious. As with interior design, a floor plan is crucial to creating a balanced and well-proportioned space. Alongside layout, scale is also an important factor to consider. With the sky as the ceiling, outdoor spaces can often lack intimacy if they have not been designed effectively. Incorporate topiary or dividers to play with scale and proportion as well as to provide privacy and delineate specific areas. Just as we create ‘zones’ in interiors, apply these same principles to your exteriors, to effectively divide your outdoor space. Keep furniture grouped into ‘conversation’ areas and ensure there are open traffic patterns to encourage movement and not make the space feel overcrowded. A lower and upper lawn, flowerbeds or a decked or paved area can also help to create distinct zones.

Beau House Roof Terrace. Photo by Oliver Burns.

When designing a luxury outdoor space, approach the process as you would designing an indoor area. Consider the function your garden or terrace will serve and from there use this information to plan a layout that will meet these individual needs. By incorporating the same colours, textures and patterns in your interiors and investing in quality outdoor furniture, the result is a luxurious yet comfortable outdoor space that can be enjoyed for many years to come.

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