Indoor / Outdoor living

It may not seem like it now, as we struggle through the cold, dark depths of January but the summer will return and bring with it the long hazy British summer days we all know and love, and of course the all-important BBQ.

If you are lucky enough to own a garden in London, whether it's the size of a postage stamp or a rugby pitch it is important to celebrate the fact and design beautiful and efficient spaces that really can add value to your property.

The garden below designed by Shape Architects and built by BTL Property is a good example of this. Although the garden is not big, a simple palette of materials and clever use of combined planting and seating makes for a really enjoyable space. The outdoor fireplace acts as a focal point to the whole garden and emphasises the idea of outdoor living. It is also worth mentioning that a lot of this can also be done without planning permission although it is always best to check with your local authority.


Garden Designed by Shape Architecture, Built by BTL Property

Keeping with this theme, it is important not to think of the garden as separate from the main house but as an extension of your Living room, Dining room, Kitchen and even Bathroom (although we would advise you not to take this last one too literally).

One of the earliest and simplest ways people achieved this was with a porch, one of a long list of Architectural devices, Arches, Aqueducts and Concrete to name a few, developed by the Ancient Romans. In recent history, it has been a feature synonymous with domestic architecture in America. As with a lot of things the simplest ideas are often the best and as you can see from the picture below a basic porch or canopy can be a relatively cheap way of creating a flexible and informal living space, protected by the elements in your front or rear garden.


Picture sourced

In the picture below you can see how Sagan Piechota Architects have taken the principle of outdoor living to its extreme and created this beautiful outdoor living space for a Hillside residence in California.


Picture Courtesy of Sagan Piechota Architects

One of the first things a client asks for when designing their rear extension is a greater connection to the garden. This can be done in a number of ways whether it's something as simple as adding a new window to make the most of a particular view, installing floor to ceiling glazing that can slide or fold away to open up the whole rear elevation or a continuation of a floor finish to blur the threshold between inside and out. This has been used to dramatic effect in the two schemes below Trinity Gardens designed by Daniel Ade-Ade Architects and Broadgates Road designed by Granit Architects. Both schemes were built and managed by BTL Property ltd.


Kitchen Designed by ADE Architecture, Built by BTL Property

In the case of Trinity road pictured below the internal layout has been carefully considered so that even the rooms nearer the front of the property have a strong connection to the garden.


Designed by ADE Architecture, Built by BTL Property

At Broadgates road below Interestingly they have also incorporated the canopy idea I discussed earlier by extending the eaves. This provides additional shelter and lends itself well to feature downlights as you can see from this example.


Designed by Granit Architects, Built by BTL Property

In contrast to this some clients also choose to design a separate outbuilding in the garden to be used as a guest house or home office at times when a disconnection can be beneficial. Architecture studio 304 took this a step further by designing this sunken washroom in the back garden of a private residence in East London, inspired by Japanese bathing rituals.


Picture courtesy of Architecture studio 304

Whatever scale of development you are undertaking it is important not to underestimate the importance of a well- conceived outdoor space that responds to your rear extension and that outdoor/indoor living isn't a luxury reserved for villas in the South of France, even if the weather might not be quite the same.

If you have any questions relating to this article, why not ask our Architectural Design team?

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