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Landscaping for Indoor Outdoor Flow

Indoor Outdoor Flow

Indoor Outdoor Flow - landscaping and gardens are an undeniable part of this and there are some very simple ways you can achieve indoor outdoor flow, regardless of whether you are building new or landscaping as part of a renovation or home makeover project, if you simply consider the inside and the outside together and create ‘linking’ elements, things that flow either physically or visually from the inside to out.

​Landscaping flow - indoor to outdoor

Landscaping flow from indoor to outdoor often starts with your landscaping treatments at ground level.  For a deck or courtyard area immediately outside your living room doors repeating the flooring materials in the adjacent room for the landscaping flooring in the adjacent outdoor space is a great way to begin achieving indoor outdoor flow. If you have timber floors inside, using similar toned decking outside will instantly enhance indoor outdoor flow, creating a visual connection between the interior and  exterior spaces.

It’s important to understand how your chosen timber will weather over-time in your localised outdoor environment and to be realistic about the amount of maintenance you are prepared to undertake. In the damp of Titirangi, we clean and reoil our shaded Kwila decks twice a year – once prior to winter to protect and minimise slip over the wet months, and again in late spring to refresh the deck for summer. If that all sounds like too much hard work, look at timber substitutes or composites or consider ideas such as wood-look tiles or even timber look pressed concrete. Decks are best suited to sloping areas that need to be raised so unless your landscaping budget involves a sum for excavating, these wood-look alternatives are also better 'go-tos' if you have a flat site.

Patios are for when indoor and outdoor ground levels are similar and these work especially well for visual flow if both indoor and outdoor rooms have similar looking tiled or concrete surfaces. If space for landscaping is limited, even just a small matching landing outside can help with establishing indoor outdoor flow. Keep in mind that tiled outdoor surfaces have different requirements to inside. and amid the huge array of tile options now available for landscaping, from natural stone through to low maintenance porcelains and ceramics, choose one that is ‘fit for purpose’. Look for practical textured, finishes and appropriate slip ratings (around R11) suitable for outdoor use.

Getting the tones right between indoor and outdoor also helps with visual flow and creating a sense of spaciousness, so get a good-sized sample and test it in position onsite as sunlight, shade and colours in the surrounding landscaping will have an impact on the colour and tones may vary between inside and outdoors, even if they look identical in the shop. 

Landscaping for Indoor Outdoor Flow: 5 Tips

5 Indoor Outdoor Flow Landscaping Tips :

  1. Make decks and courtyards big enough that furniture doesn’t clutter the transition space and hinder that all important physical flow to the outdoors. 4 metres by 6 metres is a good size for a deck or courtyard and allows plenty of space for both furniture and people movement. 

  2. Open roof pergolas are another great way to link the house to the garden, especially with the addition of a climbing plant to enhances the sense of connection. When all the doors and windows are shut during the cold months, winter flowering climbers such as Tecomanthe
    (Three Kings Climber) can provide a welcome visual connection to the outdoors.

  3. If you don’t have space directly outside your access doors for a deck or patio, even connecting to the garden via a wide path or raised boardwalk in the same material as used on the internal floor, can really help landscaping flow from indoor to outdoors.

  4. Inviting and enticing landscaping elements such as well-placed seats or daybeds can also enhance indoor outdoor  flow by drawing you out into the garden.

  5. Covered areas over the transition point means you can leave your doors open more. From expansive louvre roof structures to more modest structures such as fixed canopies or  ‘eyebrows’ there’s an  option for most budgets these days.

​Outdoor Landscaping Flow to Indoor

Outdoor landscaping flow to indoor rooms takes a reverse approach -  where you take visual elements from the garden and pull them back into your interior to create a sense of connection to the garden. This is simple to do and helps blur the boundaries between inside and out, even if there is no outdoor access.  

 3 simple tricks that you can use.   

  1. Add plants or flowers indoors - Add potted plants to your interior rooms but make sure they  echo the style of your landscaping. Kentia palms (Howea forseriana) make great container plants and leafy indoor plants such  Monstera deliciosa (fruit salad plant) or philodendrons are also perfect if you have a subtropical garden. Even a vase of flowers similar to the style growing in your garden can provide a sense of connection.

  2. Repeat colours – using fresh green paints on your interior walls will create an instant visual connection between the house and garden. If you have a bold colour inside, such as a red feature wall or splashback, add a pop of this colour outdoors with a red pot or even a red flowering plant such as Begonia fuchsioides. I chose the paint colour for my bedroom to echo the silvery tones of the prominent Kauri tree directly outside our bedroom window. Nature is a great staring point for an interior colour  scheme.

  3. Echo materials – This also creates visual unity between indoors and outdoors. Stone or concrete works both inside and out for walls, floors, pot and furniture. Copper, steel and aluminium are landscaping materials used for arbours and ornamental garden elements that repeat well indoors, especially in homes with metal joinery. Whereas a garden with white painted landscaping structures such as abours and trellises, will connect well to white interior window trims. 

Whatever you call it - indoor outdoor flow, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside, or my personal favourite ‘dissolution of edges’, landscaping plays an important role. Get garden design help and inspirational ideas for your landscaping project from Auckland landscape design company DIY Designs. Located in Titirangi, West Auckland we provide affordable garden design services online. See options for design services