Bring the outside in - and the inside out

With smart landscape design and interior style ideas, you can blur boundaries between house and garden and bring more nature and harmony to your lifestyle.


The great Aussie backyard has always been a magnet for get-togethers, but having a few patio chairs and a BBQ just doesn’t cut it anymore. Many modern home designs now offer outdoor rooms where cooking, dining and relaxation can all take place outside of four walls. And because we enjoy the feeling of peace and freedom that comes from nature, there’s plenty of interest in ways to bring the outdoors in with plants and other décor ideas.

Shopping around – ideal properties for indoor/outdoor living

If you’re buying or building a property, what should you be looking for to get the best from the whole package – home, landscape and the outside world? Features like verandahs, decks and bi-fold or stacker doors are the more obvious things to look for. But make sure you consider the property’s aspect to save your outdoor haven from exposure to extreme wind or sun. Bear in mind your privacy too. Having overlooking neighbours is intrusive but can be addressed with fencing or planting to screen your garden sanctuary.  

The sky’s the limit – get the professionals in

When you’re making big changes to open up your home to the outdoors, it’s worth getting professional advice. If you know your priorities and the style you’re after, there are plenty of experts who can offer their assistance. 

Interior designers, for example, can help you make best use of passive design principles to heat and cool your home naturally and create an easy transition between interior and exterior – major renovations are not always needed!

For transforming existing outdoor spaces into something more inviting, you can visit your local garden centre for expert device, or even bring in a landscape designer. Depending on your budget, your goals and your taste, you can look at a whole new garden layout with planting plans and landscape features like pools, decks and pergolas, or help develop specific areas into places for a quiet retreat or elegant outdoor dining.

Working with your existing home design

Even if you’re limited in what you can build or plant, you can still make the most of natural elements in your home and garden. Indoor plants are a popular way to add some peaceful greenery, but you can also display other organic elements to great effect. Look for objects like shells, seedpods and driftwood, or materials such as jute, rattan and leather, to give your interiors a natural feel.   

For keeping outdoor spaces comfortable day and night and throughout the year, it’s essential to have suitable shade and lighting. To take your interior decorating style outdoors into a courtyard, deck or paved area, choose furniture, colours and decorative objects like art, bunting and vases to match your themes and palette. Paint a wall, select chairs that work in both spaces and use rugs and cushions to offer comfort and match of your indoor rooms’ visual cues. 

Keeping green fingers busy

Plant choices will have a big impact on the style of your home and how much you’ll be working in the garden instead of having time to enjoy it from a hammock or comfortable chair. To keep things tidy, indoors and out, look for varieties that won’t drop lots of leaves or petals that might blow indoors. Explore shapes and colours that work with your outdoor walls, timbers and other hard landscaping. Make a strong impact indoors with long towering shapes for plants sitting on the floor and add interest with compact plants, like succulents and cacti, on shelves and cascades of foliage from hanging plants.

Disclaimer:

The information in this section has been prepared as general information only without consideration for your particular investment objectives, financial circumstances or particular needs. Read the full disclaimer.