The benefits of indoor-outdoor living need little explanation — what’s not to like about the sense of light and space that connecting your home to your garden can bring?
There are many ways to bring the outside in using glazing, so Origin talk us through some of their favourites.
1 . Creating an uninterrupted view
A visual connection with the outside is as important as a physical one. On colder days, a view of the outside can allow you to appreciate your garden, without having to brave the elements.
Entire elevations of glazing are the best way to give your rooms views of the outside. The Pollins family took this one step further by using bi-fold doors which would not just act as a window, but open their conservatory up to the garden and totally remove the boundaries between inside and outside.
“We find ourselves sitting out here come rain or shine. When the doors are folded back it feels as if you are out in the garden, but we experience the comfort of being indoors. The whole process from beginning to end has been effortless – we have brought the garden into the house without having to move the earth.”
2 . Extend your extension
When you have a small garden but need more living space, a large extension to the home is not an option. Instead, you could build an extension which opens to the outside, allowing inside entertaining to spill out into the garden when required.
The Gavins did just that when adding a contemporary extension to their home. The new room has a three-by-three corner bi-fold set from Origin, with a moving corner post, which can be full opened on to the decking beyond. The end result is a light and spacious ‘third living area’ that works perfectly with their small garden.
3 . Treat the inside and outside as one room
Try to imagine that the walls of your home do not end where the house ends, but where the garden boundary falls. So, when it comes to planning the interiors of a garden facing space, pretend that there is no wall at all and create a layout that treats that room and the garden as one.
That is exactly what Sheils Proserpi did when planning her kitchen extension. The kitchen island faces out into the garden, rather than into the room. When she is cooking or washing up, the expanse of bi-fold doors allows her to feel at one with the outside, all year round.
4 . Bring light into the heart of an open plan space
One of the issues faced by those creating a large open plan space, is finding a way to adequately light the entire area. If you simply knock through two adjoining rooms, without upgrading the windows, you may feel like the natural light on offer does not match the volume of the space.
By using floor-to-ceiling glazing – as the Dawson family did when they built their contemporary, open plan kitchen – you can ensure the room gets as much light as possible. This again breaks down the boundaries between inside and outside, making your garden feel like another section of your living space. The Dawsons also used a bank of rooflights to get light directly to the kitchen below.
Penny Dawson said: “The new extension has not only increased the value of the house, it has changed the way we live and this is mainly due to the bi-folds creating an open plan living space connecting the garden to the house. The bi-fold doors were a luxurious choice, but a lifestyle choice I would recommend to everyone.”
5 . Add a balcony
While the examples above all look at ways to connect a ground floor room to the outside, the same methods can be applied to rooms upstairs. The upper floors of our homes inevitably offer the best views, so creating a connection between inside and out should be carried out wherever possible.
Floor to ceiling glazing will offer that visual link, but where possible a balcony (or even just a Juliet balcony) means you can actually access the outside too. The Browns added bi-fold doors to the lower and upper floors of their home to make the most of their riverside location. Upside down living has been embraced and the first floor features a kitchen-diner with a balcony beyond.
6 . The picture window
A beautiful view deserves to be framed. Many people choose their home because of its beautiful setting, and it is a shame (or a crime) not to cash in on it by designing rooms around the view.
This converted barn in Devon has stunning views of the rolling countryside, so a five-door set of bi-folds have been installed. The sofa has been positioned to face this view — who needs a TV with a scene like that?
7 . Full-width bay window
If you can’t glaze the full height of a wall, take advantage of the width, by creating a bay that spans the room. Floor-to-ceiling glazing is great, but not always appropriate if you want to make the most of the perimeter of the room. Strong, metal windows can allow you to create wider window openings and bring in as much natural light as possible.
The kitchen of this family home in Buckinghamshire has been fitted with an angled bay of metal windows. This means that the family have still been able to use the outer wall for kitchen cabinets.