Extending the “IN” to the “OUT”

Homes in Motion

Julia from Studio Home returns with the third edition to our 'Homes in Motion' series to provide advice on creating an enviable outdoor space for any size property.

Connecting your inside living with the seasons happening on the outside not only extends the physical space you have to exist in but also comes with the positive effects of joining in with mother natures cycles. Wrapping up in a blanket on a bean bag outside to suck in the warmth of winter sun is as lovely as watching your potted flowers bud up and bloom ready for Christmas.

Carving out an area, no matter how big or small, that you can rest in, play in, socialise in AND look onto from indoors offers a NEW type of creativity and decorating

Extending the “IN” to the “OUT” Extending the “IN” to the “OUT” Extending the “IN” to the “OUT”

Like a horse to water, if you create a place to sit outside, its much more likely you will GO outside.

If space and budget is tight transitional furniture is your friend!
Consider purchasing tough but attractive outdoor furniture options that you could then whip outside to enjoy while making the most of fine weather – a hanging egg chair is a great example of this type of furniture. There are fantastic sturdy but patterned beanbag options which would be perfect for this as well as sweet, café style table and chair sets that might solve your small space living needs on both sides of the door.
If you are looking for a new inside side table, research the outdoor options available to you too, as perhaps there is one that could suit both applications and definitely consider the colours you are attracted to indoors to create really flexible options that work with your style around the whole house.

While it would be great to have space for outdoor dining AND lounging, cost and space might now allow. Instead prioritize your lounging, doubling an outdoor coffee table as something to sit around and eat as well.

Have a look around your home – keen to replace that old armchair? Would it perhaps do on your covered porch instead for max comfort? Drape inexpensive or second hand throws that make it both comfortable and take the brunt of the sun. Old looks wonderful with new as well as adding some softness.

You could also drag your indoor beanbags out for a sunny afternoon but look into purchasing a water proof, outdoor “rug” that could act as a barrier to a damp lawn or roughness of a deck or patio. Remember to bring them back in as the direct sunlight will cause fading over long exposures.

Extending the “IN” to the “OUT” Extending the “IN” to the “OUT” Extending the “IN” to the “OUT”

Consider your immediate outdoor area as another “room” – decorating it to reflect your personal style will not only encourage you to use that space to its best potential but ALSO improve your outlook onto it from indoors.


By things I mean vegies, citrus and plants that bloom.

If growing is not a concept that you have dipped your toe into, then pots are to become your best friend.

Once you establish where is the best spot for sitting, have a look at the gaps. Is there space for pots in the sun? Is there a fence that you could zoom some sweet peas and runner beans up or grow a giant Sunflower against?

Sun and water are key in these plans. If you have one pot you may as well have 5 as regular/daily watering will be needed during the summer months.

Extending the “IN” to the “OUT” Extending the “IN” to the “OUT” Extending the “IN” to the “OUT”

Click through to familiarise yourself with my “Types of Plants Demystified” to help give you a little background when choosing plants for pots. And DEFINITELY make use of the marvellous staff at garden centres to guide you on your way to creating some mini contained gardens. This is as easy as purchasing little affordable punnets of easy going, happy growing annuals that will busy themselves with flowering while your vegies grow to brighten up not only your outdoor area but importantly, your outlook from inside!

Think up! Explore my “Hanging Baskets for Beginners” guide to get utilising your whole space. You can quite happily grow strawberries in these too and they look wonderful when viewed through a window!

Mix it up! Mix lettuce with lobelia, marigolds with your tomatoes and pile in the herbs. All will thrive and create rich visual interest with their texture and colour. Lemon and lime trees do really well in large pots or half barrels and will provide interest over winter once your annuals have finished and your perennials have gone to bed. Potting Dahlias will give you amazing summer and early autumn colour!

Level it up! Pots look lush and garden-like when grouped together in different sizes and heights. When shopping for pots, look to see if you can buy sets of 3 that tick those boxes and position them from lowest to highest to create a green, floral or leafy effect.

Longevity. When choosing your plants consider mixing annuals (Lobelia, Cosmos, Sunflowers, Sweet peas, Zinnias, Fennel and most vegetables) with perennials (Dahlias, Delphiniums, Japanese Anemones, Knautia etc), bulbs (Daffodils, Tulips) and shrubs/trees to balance out the interest all year long! Aside from the aesthetics of this, it is a small, cost effective way to dip your toe into gardening and discovering the joy of watching the life cycles of plants each year.

PLUS you will have some flowers for a vase on the table too!

Extending the “IN” to the “OUT” was written for nood by Julia from Studio Home

Images 1, 4 & 5 are taken in Julia's own garden in Christchurch, NZ.

Images 2 & 3 are taken at Britten Stables in Christchurch

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