Written By

Nostra Homes

27th of June 2018

Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary


Many of us take pride in our homes, investing countless hours rearranging the interior. But it can also be refreshing to step out of the confines of the inside and spend some time outside. It’s especially enjoyable during the spring & summer months. When the weather is favorable, it’s difficult to miss out on a nice day outside.


Spending time outside doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your creature comforts. With a few small adjustments you can make your outdoor space comfortable and inviting. Turning an undercover outdoor area, back yard or verandah into a functional living space can be a rewarding task, and will expand your living space to the outdoors. With the right setup, you can spend more time outside absorbing the the sunshine and fresh air, and host alfresco events for friends, family and neighbours. Read on to learn 10 ideas for outdoor living spaces!



In the warmer months, spending time outdoors isn’t limited to the daylight hours, so you’ll want to set the mood with some tasteful and dramatic outdoor lighting. Effective lighting can not only make your outdoor living space safer, but it will help to prevent trip hazards at night. It can also help transform your space into an inviting place to spend time after the sun goes down.

Smart landscape and deck lighting can accentuate the assets of your outdoor space, while disguising the less attractive elements. These days most outdoor lighting comes from electrical bulbs, but for a softer glow, you might consider adding lanterns or torches into the mix. As a general rule, lighting around the house that is pointed upward can dramatically accent the architecture of the structure, while light pointed downward will create a softer, cosier glow.



The heart of any home is the Kitchen, and this is no different for an outdoor living space. Creating a second kitchen won’t just save you from constantly making trips back and forth between the grill, refrigerator & sink, it will also create a space for entertaining. Outdoor kitchens have grown in popularity because cooking alfresco feels less like a chore and instead more of a pleasure.

The grill is typically at the centre of any outdoor kitchen, but with the right setup you can do much more than cook steaks in your outdoor space. In addition to a grill, you can build your open-air kitchen around a refrigerator, sink & food preparation areas, or even a wood-fired pizza oven. Another key ingredient to any outdoor kitchen is seating, which can range from standard picnic tables to a full bar with working beer taps!



Earth tones might look nice in your living room, but in the outdoors they need to be more bold, or they’ll risk blending in with the surroundings. Although black tends to be extremely chic inside the home, black furniture will become very hot in direct sunlight. To complement the greens & browns of the outdoors, you can add a splash of whimsy by choosing bold, brightly coloured accessories. For a touch of excitement, you might consider swapping those faded cushions on your outdoor furniture to bold & colourful ones. Bright blue, red, yellow chairs or a pink picnic table might not be everyone’s taste and indeed those colours might be a bit overwhelming inside the home, but trust us - outside they’ll be the perfect fit!



Adding an element of fire can instantly transform an otherwise ordinary space into one that is inviting and warm. A backyard fire is just the thing to keep you outside on cool summer nights, and it can be a major winter feature in more mild to cooler climates.

A backyard fire can be as low key as a hole in the ground, or it can be as elaborate as a marble gas-fulled fireplace, it all depends on your budget. One practical solution is a fire pit, which is an elevated fire bowl with a screen that can be used in a variety of spaces. Another popular and attractive option is the chiminea, which is an outdoor fireplace that has a short chimney. Whatever type of fir pit or fireplace you choose, always consider the practicality and safety aspect.



You’ve got earth, fire & air. Now the only natural element missing from your outdoor space is water. Whilst fire brings warmth to an outdoor space, water can provide a soothing sound and a dimension of cool tranquility. Water features can take all different forms, from small store bought fountains to motorised cascading waterfalls, it all depends the look and feel you’re after.

Small garden ponds filled with colourful fish have become very popular with landscape deign because the fish have the ability to transform almost any setting into an exotic eastern garden.

For a less expensive and labour intensive water feature, many hardware stores and nurseries sell small and medium size water features that can be mounted on a wall or perched on a pedestal.



Just because you’re decorating for a space that’s outside of your homes living room doesn’t mean you have to forget the principles behind designing a communal area. When most people set up a living room, they don’t position all the furniture against one wall, they may place a sofa against one wall and arm chairs on the opposite wall to create a cosy space where people can sit and talk.

For outdoor spaces it’s easy to forget this concept and simply push all the furniture up against the house, so that everyone is facing away from the house when sitting down. If you add an extra couch or set of chairs that face the house, suddenly all of your guests have a chance to talk to each other, play cards or enjoy dinner in an outdoor space that has the comfortable, intimate feeling of a living room.