When it comes to outdoor living, the choice of surfaces, furniture, lighting, landscaping, shade structures and accessories are crucial elements that help transform your patio, backyard, terrace, etc, into an oasis of serenity, peace and joie de vivre. With the help of industry experts, we give you a complete low-down on all the essentials thatâ€™ll help you create your own little outdoor haven.
Outdoor living today has become as important as an interior space. Warmer temperatures, bright blue skies and sunny days lure people to open the doors and step outside. This brings with it detailed exterior functionality and design requirements, and a need for careful integration of architecture with landscape design and an extended budget. While residences in most metropolitan cities in India arenâ€™t privy to the luxury of a lavish garden, small verandas, terraces and decks have evolved as an expansion of the indoor living space. To make the most of your outdoor space â€” whether itâ€™s a quiet verandah with potted plants for you to curl up and relax; a deck with barbeque for entertaining family and friends, a small pool for the kids to play in â€” itâ€™s important to take time to really consider the look and feel youâ€™re going for, how you will use the space, and how it will connect to your home. Whether itâ€™s a yard, terrace, patio or a porch, the choice of flooring, furniture, lighting, water bodies, landscaping and accessories are important for decorating and beautifying the outdoors.
Once the function of the outdoor space has been defined, one must delve into the details of the design, starting with the flooring. An unending list of styles, textures and finishes are available in the market today, leaving the consumer spoilt for choice. However, there are a few things to be considered before one chooses the flooring. Abhishek Saraf, Director, Square Foot, believes, â€œThere are two things one must keep in mind before selecting outdoor flooring: general climate of that region and the type of place you wish to transform your space into.â€ â€œThe ability to withstand weathering, endure heavy weight and foot traffic and prevent water absorption, whether it is neutral to UV rays and has ease of maintenance are important aspects to find out before finalizing the flooring,â€ says Ashok Goyal, CEO, Nitco.Â Wood, concrete, tile, brick, pavers and natural stones are some of the types of flooring that are suitable for a terrace, garden or patio. Concrete is often used as a base, but it can serve as a stand-alone option as well. It is long-lasting, inexpensive and easy to maintain; though, if it does crack, itâ€™s difficult repair. â€œWood decking offers easy installation, but the wood itself requires a thorough cleaning and resealing every couple of years to maintain its beauty,â€ points out Ashok. When properly installed, tiles will typically last for generations with minimal care. Natural stone, ceramic, and porcelain are common outdoor tile flooring choices, and are available in a plethora of colours, sizes, and patterns. Nitcoâ€™s Kratos Collection of outdoor digital vitrified tiles come in a unique range of finishes and textures â€” from cobblestone and pebbles to deck wood, all with superior grip.
Square Footâ€™s new range of outdoor wood flooring includes two product lines: Tile Deck and Long Deck. Tile Deck, in natural wood and in composite, is made by profiling and grooving wooden stripes that are then mounted on a special plastic resin grid base. Long Deck is made with wooden planks screwed on to a support base in teak or in composite that supports them. The Terra Rosa range of clay pavers by Keramos are available in colours ranging from dull ochre to fire red â€” perfect to give an earthy feel to any space. Notion, on the other hand, offers a new range of solid outdoor decking for your patios, verandahs and pool sides made from afromosia, ipe, padauk and teak.
Whether you are interested in completely redesigning your landscape or simply making a few changes there are some important factors to consider before you start planting. While many people head straight to their local gardening supply store to browse the selections, creating a plan beforehand will help you choose plants that will best fit your needs and thrive in your landscape. Knowledge of the regional climate, the topography of the site and soil type is key when planning your landscape. The purpose of the yard or garden â€” for kids to play, for entertaining guests, etc â€” will determine the usage of strategic plantings and hardscapes.
Edible garden patches are a rage these days. They create a stunning effect when combined with natural lawns or placed in a nook of a terrace or balcony. â€œHerbs like basil, coriander, lemon grass, aloe vera and mint can be planted, and vegetables, like yellow, red and green bell peppers, or tomatoes can also be grown,â€ says Siddhant Bhalinge, the founder of Ugaoo, an online store and resource for gardening-related products.
Sit and Relax
Nothing refreshes the soul like clean air, sunshine and spending quality time with loved ones amidst nature. A good dose of backyard serenity or terrace tranquility can do wonders for your perspective on life. A key element in achieving a well-defined and well-enjoyed outdoor living space is outdoor furniture that fits your personal style and particular budget. Of the numerous choices available in the market today, synthetic woven outdoor furniture, wrought iron, teak wood, synthetic rattan and fibreglass are some of the trending options.
CK Chengappa of Bangalore-based Patio, a lifestyle store for outdoor products, informs us that the brand is the first one to introduce fibreglass furniture in the country. Fibreglass (a strong, light material made by twisting together small threads of glass and plastic) furniture does not warp, rust, crack, corrode, or shrink. It can be moulded into any shape and given any desired colour, its versatility making it a popular option for outdoor future.
Ghaziabad-based Loom Crafts has recently launched the Braid & Rope Furniture range, which is made of synthetic threads braided and used for weaving. â€œThe entire collection features UV Stabilized Polynol Synthetic Braids and Ropes meticulously woven over aluminium, stainless steel and wood frames to enhance its strength and durability, thereby making it robust in nature and opulent in appeal,â€ informs Surinder Jindal, CEO, Loom Crafts. However, Sameer Hora, Managing Director, Idus, cautions, â€œIt is advisable to select furniture that has synthetic fibres and which is UV-stabilized for all weather conditions. Outdoor pieces should be dirt repellent, strong and environment-friendly.â€
Pergolas, gazebos, awnings and other shade structures are perfect to enjoy the outdoors even when the conditions outside are less than appealing. At the height of summer, you can relax and entertain outdoors without being overwhelmed by the beating sun. They also protect outdoor furniture, floors and carpets from fading caused by harsh sun rays or torrential rains.
A pergola will provide lovely dappled shade but not much protection from driving rain, while a gazebo or summerhouse will keep things dry but can feel more like sitting inside on a sunny day. A gazebo is an eight-sided structure with a solid roof, most commonly used in traditional garden styles like English or French. A shade sail is another modern way of gaining relief from the sun. The fabric is stretched across specially engineered poles to accent and cover a seating area or patio. Shade sails look great with the straight lines and simple geometry seen on
Alibaug-based Tropical Paradise, founded by Zane Pedder, is a company that specializes in creating and customising pergolas, gazebos and other Bali-inspired structures for homes. The company specially imports hardwoods, roofing shingles, natural and synthetic thatch and woven jute from the East, for these traditional structures. The modern designs incorporating galvanized steel framework with glass and metal roofing sheets or tensile are sourced from suppliers based in Australia, South Africa and Dubai. Zane tell us, â€œAll our structures are made out of totally natural resources, from the wood, which comprises the main frame and floor, to the roof, which again is created either from natural thatch, wood shingles or woven jute (canvas). These structures are ready-to-use in any outdoor surrounding be it your garden, rooftop or an extension to your patio.â€
Decorative outdoor lighting gives an outdoor space a dramatic character and is an extension of the interiors. The lighting not only adds splendour and magic to the ambience, but it is also important for safety.
For a relaxed vibe, one should combine permanent fixtures with movable accents. Wall-mounted fishing lights and ground-level up lighters will create a gentle glow. When asked about which lighting fixtures work in which space, Kunal Rohatgi, Director, FOS Lighting advises, â€œExterior pillar lights should be used to highlight entrances; foot lights and bulkhead lights are sturdy enough to illuminate dark corners, while path lights or bollards highlight the path giving your outdoor space or terrace a soothing and serene ambience. â€œFrom mood lighting with candles and bringing fireflies into our garden, to geometric profiling patterns and a surreal use of colours, brands like ERCO-Germany, Aldabra-Italy and Castaldi-Italy have created tools and technology that donâ€™t curb a designers imagination,â€ informs Amit Gupta, Director, Vis a Vis. Though the Indian consumer is becoming more aware of the importance of exterior lighting, Amit believes that it is essential for the landscape designer to guide the client when introducing specialised lighting concepts for the garden.
Go with the Flow
Besides being pleasing to the eye, water features are an important source of life and have a calming and healing effect on our emotional and physical well being. Adding perspective to the reason Indian homes often incorporate water features, Rehan Jailis, owner of Delhi-based Green Evolutions says, â€œGenerally 40 per cent of people adopt a water body from a Vaastu point of view and place it in the north-east direction. The remaining accommodates a water body to enhance the aesthetic appeal of their homes.â€ Irrespective of the purpose, while choosing a water feature, factors such as pattern, surface, contrast, scale and balance are essential. From containers, jars and two-tier structures to ponds and water fountains, you can choose a water feature depending on the space available, the budget and the design requirement. New functional technologies in the range of wire curtains, falls and fountains to products like nozzles, fibre waterfalls, LED lights and water pumps are imported and easily accessible, points out Rehan.
â€œPond-less water features are also readily available. After installing one, all you need to do is plug it in. Fitted with an underground basin that holds and circulates the water through the feature, pleasant splashing sounds are created as the water cascades over the rocks into the basin,â€ explains Siddhant.
Finally, add finishing touches toÂ your outdoor space by decorating furniture with throws and cushions; adding form and interest with sculptures, planters, birdhouses and wind chimes; and introducing colour with dining accessories such as ice buckets, serving bowls
There is little difference in the quality of a houseâ€™s interiors and a first-rate outdoor space. It requires equal amount of detailing, planning, creativity and design inputs. Clearly defining the function and desired style for your outdoor spaces â€” as well as providing an adequate budget for the integration of architecture, design and landscape â€” will help you achieve a little Eden of your own.
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