Outdoor living is ingrained in the way Australians relax and entertain. Leisurely weekend breakfasts, Sunday barbecues and drinks with friends take on a richer flavour when they take place out on a patio or deck.
Gone are the days when these spaces were tacked on as afterthoughts. Today, they're integral to architectural plans, designed to extend and reflect interior spaces. "Everyone includes an outdoor room as part of their brief to architects these days," says David Hallett, General Manager of Archicentre. "It goes without saying, like having a kitchen." The challenge is to design these spaces well. "Orientation is critical," he says. "They need to be designed to suit your local environment. Depending on where you live, it's all about keeping the sun in or keeping it out – if you live in Sydney or Perth you need summer shelter; if you live in Melbourne or Hobart you'll want to attract autumn and winter sun." Prevailing winds and views also need to be taken into consideration. "There is no one-size-fits-all solution."
"I wanted the stone to look like an outdoor rug. This patterning gives the floor texture and movement," says Wong. The Jakob Berg teak table and chairs are from FeelGood Designs: "I wanted to be able to see through the chairs out to the garden," he says. He also refrained from staining the timber, instead allowing it to weather naturally.
"It gives a sense of the furniture belonging there." A retractable Pergotenda awning by Aalta Screen Systems provides shade.
Brendan Wong Design, Surry Hills, NSW; (02) 9699 3228.
Eckersley Garden Architecture, Richmond, Victoria; (03) 9421 5537.
A retractable awning is a good option when a permanent pergola roof is not desired. "A folding arm awning can extend the use of your outdoor living area for a greater portion of the year and offers much more year-round flexibility than a fixed shade structure," says Luxaflex Marketing Manager, Jenny Brown. She recommends the Luxaflex Sunrain Folding Arm Awning, which offers protection from both sun and rain and comes with an optional wind-protect system.
Hare+Klein, Woolloomooloo, NSW; (02) 9368 1234.
Looking for more outdoor inspiration? Check out our Outdoor section.