Transform your garden into additional living space using ‘zones’

May 26, 2020 3 min read

Transform your garden into additional living space using ‘zones’

5 top tips for creating outdoor rooms perfectly suited to your lifestyle…

Who doesn’t want more living space these days? With commuting and travel restricted, we’re all looking to maximise our living spaces, and to make meaningful use of every inch of our properties.

If your garden is an artist’s empty canvas, now is the ideal time to shape it into your own lifestyle-driven outside living space. The goal? To create an environment that you and your family won’t just look at or somewhere you may kick a ball around, but one that will become integral to the daily patterns of family life, and which will make a positive impact on the long-term health and wellbeing of each family member.

One of the best ways to achieve such a garden is to divide it into zones. Experts believe that adding “rooms” can make the overall garden appear more lush, varied and spacious. Here we’ll cover a few tips and tricks which can help to kick-start your planning…

Outdoor eating areas for urban gardens Think about purpose. No matter our pastimes – be they cooking, exercising, entertaining, playtime, meditation and so on – having a purpose-built outside space in which to enjoy those activities enhances our experience and increases our feelings of wellbeing. Begin your planning by carefully considering how the spaces will be used and by whom, and consider whether some “rooms” could be flexi spaces, which suit a variety of activities through a quick transition and some clever storage systems. (image courtesy of The English Garden

Alongside the usual alfresco dining areas and lounges, we’re now seeing garden bars, outdoor kitchens and pizza ovens hitting peak popularity here in the UK. The Scandinavian convention of cooking outdoors no matter the weather picked up pace here last summer, and the Telegraph even went so far as to dub outdoor kitchens the new “ultimate status symbol”.

This year, in light of the public-health crisis, we expect to see more families placing greater focus on exercise and mental wellbeing and adapting their gardens accordingly. Outdoor gyms, meditation spaces and multi-sensory play zones also tie into recent trends on biophilia and forest bathing, which experts agree have a demonstrable impact on our individual mental wellbeing and physical health.


Go vertical.
Structural elements are essential to creating garden living spaces – pergolas and garden screens help to delineate one space from another while a piece of well-chosen artwork creates a masterful focal point. Tall items draw the eye upwards, but be choosy: too many items and you risk your garden looking like a garden centre forecourt. 

Metal garden edging and laser-cut panels Design Paal GrantVary the materials. Stone, zinc, steel, copper and wood are all being used in modern landscape design to add sophistication and visual interest to garden schemes. Incorporating sustainable and organic elements, and mixing a variety of elements together will lend the space a nature-inspired aesthetic. Introducing a new material in a separate space can help to differentiate it from the previous. On the other hand, continuing materials across zones can help to create a sense of flow. (Metal garden edging and laser-cut panels Design Paal Grant)

Play to the senses. Add the sounds of a trickling water fountain, or the heat and crackle of a fire pit to bring the space to life. Lighting is important since this too helps to establish the purpose and feel of a given space. Deck lighting and path lighting are crucial to evening entertainment areas while incorporating a showstopping exterior pendant light over your alfresco dining area will make an unforgettable statement. Conversely, festoon lighting delivers a sense of whimsy and romance.

Finally, decorate with bright colours, bold patterns and personal touches.

For more information, contact The Light Yard on +44 (0)330 2233 940 or email info@thelightyard.com. To keep up with the latest lighting design tips and trends, follow us on our social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.