In Australia, we are blessed to have a comparatively temperate winter – especially in Queensland. While the rain may increase and the wind gets a little stronger, it’s nothing like the snow-capped winters of the Northern Hemisphere.

As such, we have fantastic conditions for creating outdoor living rooms that can be used all year round. Instead of retreating indoors to your cosy couch, why not transform your exterior space into a new type of retreat? Here are five things to consider:

  1. Shelter

Queensland may not experience a harsh winter, but it rains all the same! Therefore, it is essential you consider what type of shelter you’re going to use in your space. To avoid creating a dark and cavernous area, consider what will allow sunlight to filter through while also protecting yours from the elements. Something that retracts – such as a canopy or sunroof – is a great option.

Depending on the material and design, the roof can make space appear larger, or create a sense of intimacy – so choose wisely!

  1. Decking

Decking is a fantastic way to define your outdoor living area. If you’re working with a smaller space, considering decking the entire area and interspersing low-maintenance plants around the edges or in larger pots. If it’s a larger garden, use decking as a way to define the entertaining area. With a hard-wearing set of table and chairs on top, as well as some appropriate outdoor lighting, you’ve got the perfect spot to host a relaxed dinner party.

  1. Fire Pits

A fire pit is one of those pieces of furniture that satisfies both the functional and decorative aspects of an outdoor garden. It can also bring an added element of intimacy to a larger space, while also providing an eye-catching feature and practical heat source. For those with a culinary mind, a pizza oven is also a practical alternative.

Where you position a fire pit or similar feature can have a huge impact on the end design – will you use it as the centerpiece, or act as a break-out area in a larger garden?


  1. Lighting

There’s no point investing in an outdoor living area if you can’t see anyone once the sun sets! Therefore, it’s imperative you include some form of outdoor lighting in your space. There’s no need to choose between functionality and ambiance either – combinations like a bright feature piece surrounded by decorative lanterns provide the best of both worlds. For something other-worldly, why not consider integrating your home lighting design into the natural environment?

  1. Furniture

No outdoor area is complete without high-quality furniture. The specifics will depend on what you want to use the space for – will it be for hosting parties on a Saturday night or lounging on a Sunday morning? If it’s the latter, soft furnishings will create visual warmth, resulting in a comfortable and cosy atmosphere. Consider woven blankets, velvet throw pillows and other layered options – they’ll make the space feel homely until summer comes around, when they can be packed away until the following year.

At McGowan Homes we take pride in staying ahead of the market with the latest trends, techniques and materials. To help you with your building journey we’ve put together the 10 essential must-knows before building. Download today or sign up to our newsletter.

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