02 May 2017

All you need to create the perfect outdoor living space to enjoy the sun’s rays this summer


Outdoor kitchens are increasingly being seen in the design of high-end homes, both in the city on urban roof terraces as well as in the leafier parts of town.

The concept of utilising the garden as a place to relax and entertain as an extra room of the home is now very well-established and, consequently, a longer term view is now being taken by both homeowners and property developers, who are realising that how we cook outdoors has evolved. The kitchen has long been the heart of the home and outdoor kitchens have become the hub of entertaining outdoors by integrating both cooking and entertaining spaces.

With an outdoor kitchen, the entire food preparation process is revolutionised as it can be moved completely outdoors, along with storage of all the essential equipment; so no more dashing back inside for tools and forgotten items. It is essential to choose marine grade stainless steel cabinets, specifically designed for use outdoors with magnetic seals that are waterproof and impervious to dust, insects and bugs. It is also important to choose an integrated grill designed and manufactured to commercial standards which incorporates illuminated controls and task lighting within the grill – do make sure every element is exacting and best in class for life outdoors – look for brass burners and ceramic briquettes to ensure even heat distribution, allowing cooking of an entire roast, not just a few sausages!


Indeed, outdoor kitchens are often more luxurious than the conventional indoor kitchen as space limitations can disappear outdoors and teppanyaki plates, warming draws and even cocktail stations become feasible luxuries. If space and budget allow, then an outdoor fridge or even dishwasher can be incorporated in the design – but that wouldn’t be everything, of course there must be the kitchen sink too. Mains water, gas and electricity connections can be taken from either existing points or run from the main property – do consider the location of these services when planning the positioning of the kitchen.

Alternatively, for a quick solution avoiding water and gas installations, choose a ready-to-go, modular, freestanding outdoor kitchen designed with fewer appliances and fueled by bottled gas hidden within one of the steel cabinets. With a granite surface, contemporary HPL (high pressure laminate) finish and hermetically sealed cabinets, the island outdoor kitchen has the added benefit of being able to be transported and easily relocated when moving home.



Bring the indoors out

With summer only just around the corner – hopefully! – we’re all looking forward to finally be able to spend more time outside in our gardens. Whether dining al fresco or simply relaxing outdoors, it's now even easier to create a comfortable and practical outdoor living space with the stylish outdoor upholstery fabrics and cushion ranges from British manufacturer, Extex.

Offering a selection of on-trend colours to meet the latest design trends, the luxury fabrics challenge the perception of conventional outdoor furnishings and accessories and are treated to cope with the outdoors – offering even delicate textiles such as chenille.

Enhance your outdoor living space with the key trends for summer 2017, combining a passionate and contrasting mix of energetic oranges, acidic shades of greens and blues and rich, rustic dark tones. Marrying interior trends with outdoor spaces, the award-winning fabric collections all combine outstanding performance with a sumptuous feel, utilising advanced yarn technology and contemporary designs to offer water-repellent, stain-resistant, lightfast, pre-shrunk and machine-washable fabrics. Add colour and a decorative touch to outdoor settings with Extex’s wide choice of plain, patterned and textured fabrics, guaranteed to create a bright, on-trend space that will stand out from the crowd.


All hands on deck

Installing decking in your self-build's garden is the perfect solution to creating an ideal outdoor space.

The team at market-leading design business, James Grace, have recently launched their new James Grace Decking brand, a high-end bespoke decking solution. As the only UK provider equipped to provide curved decks, James Grace Decking will force a step change in the sector. Uniquely tailored to every home and outdoor space, the ability to design and install curved areas alongside existing features – such as tiered decks, single platform decks, lighting, balustrades and glass – makes for a superior design solution.

Whilst there will always be the initial questions on the shape, material and planning of the deck, the process is certainly not as complicated as it can immediately seem. The experts at James Grace Decking have put together a few simple steps to ease the process and aid you in your choices:

• Permission: as a starting point, make sure that you have studied all the local building codes to ensure that all planning permission is requested where necessary.

• Positioning and design: initially, it is important to decide where you would like your decking to be placed. With experts, such as James Grace Decking, all elements from the design through to installation are taken care of to ensure that everyone receives their desired look.

• Base: creating a solid base for your decking is key to ensure a stable structure. The substructure of the decking is as vital as the decking installation itself.

• Fastener: it is important to consider whether you would prefer to use nails or screws and visible or hidden fastening systems when securing your decking for exterior products.


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