Backyard bliss – step up the style for outdoor living

29th January 2024

Design Design & Inspiration

As the weather continues to get warmer, the lure of venturing out to the backyard is going to be even more enticing.

With the right décor, furniture, as well as heating and cooling options, setting up a backyard oasis can be the perfect combination of style and functionality which can be enjoyed by all, regardless of the season.

Alfresco living is all about creating the perfect balance of outdoor bliss with multipurpose nous.

Cameron Fordred, Henley’s Landscape Designer and Rebecca Dunn, Acting Henley Design Team Leader, share their insights on how to create the ultimate alfresco sanctuary all year round, and how to maximise the space for you and your family.


Couch and dining delights

When it comes to furniture, it is important to combine comfort and functionality in one, sophisticated swoop. From sleek and modern designs to rustic and timeless pieces, the choices are abundant.

According to Rebecca, handpicking tough, durable and beautiful outdoor furniture seems like a daunting task, but doing the research, will minimise long term angst.

“Look for materials like teak, wrought iron or aluminium for its weather resilience and polish, are great choices. Also, incorporate comfortable seating arrangements such as modular sofas and lounge chairs to create a cosy atmosphere for relaxation and entertaining.”

“Creating multiple seating areas with different styled chairs offers a swagger of options for family and guests. Whether you decide to go for a more uniformed approach or mix up the colours, seating needs to be comfortable and cosy, and should be part of a beautiful and comfortable extension to your indoor space.”

“While whites or creams are simply a stunning choices, make sure you take care of these pieces. “Just remember, outdoor furniture is made for the elements but they still need to be looked after. Try protecting your furniture with an external grade protectant spray like Scotchgard Outdoor Fabric Protector. It not only protects it from water damage but it also resists stains, makes clean-up easier and quicker when accidents occur.”

Warming it up

“Perfect for the cooler months, there are a range of outdoor heaters available on the market from the freestanding patio heaters or small tabletop units to the larger wood burning fire pits. There are options to ensure everyone is kept warm.” Cameron says.

“Ceiling mounted radiant electric heaters are a great option for a covered area. Their subtle, minimalist and sleek design ensure they can be placed directly above your entertaining space. If nothing beats toasting marshmallows over a roaring, crackling fire, you can’t go past a wood burning cast iron fire pit or bowl. These bowls come in a range of sizes and designs. If you just want the look without all the hassle of chopping wood, perhaps consider a bioethanol burner. From tabletop size to something that creates a dramatic effect, there are lots of options to give you that warm, cosy feeling.

“For the budget conscious, look at a group of freestanding refillable bamboo torch available from your local hardware store. Scatter these throughout your backyard and they are a great way to create ambience. Please remember that unattended fireplaces can cause accidents, so please ensure all fires are supervised.”

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Get the cooking on outside

No outdoor living area is complete without a culinary centrepiece. Regardless of weather, cooking outside seems to add a whole level of additional flavour to any meal.

Whether it is a barbecue, smoker or an outdoor pizza oven, you will be hot on demand to create culinary delights for family and guests.

“There are some amazing fully integrated outdoor kitchen set ups which are very sophisticated. This includes fridges, cabinets and side burners, guaranteeing year-round cooking bliss outside.

“Whether it’s a casual weekend barbecue or a gourmet pizza party, these versatile cooking options will elevate your outdoor dining adventures.” Cameron adds.


The personal touches

From hanging chairs, comfy bean bags to marble dining tabletops, amplifying and personalising our outdoor space, will create a beautiful haven, just for you and your family. Consider incorporating elements such as vibrant outdoor rugs, colourful throw pillows and stylish lanterns to create a warm and inviting ambiance. Introduce planters and vertical gardens to bring nature closer to your living space.

Hanging string lights or installing a fire pit can provide a magical atmosphere for evening get togethers with friends and family.

According to Rebecca, you should not go overboard with the too much of anything in your outdoor space.

“Try to hold back from overcrowding the space with too much furniture, as it can interfere with the flow and functionality of the space. Also, be mindful of the size of your outdoor area and handpick appropriately scaled furniture to maintain a balanced and spacious feel.”

Visit Henley’s display villages for inspiration and explore our outdoor displays for more creative ideas.

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