Living outdoors: how to create the ultimate space

Living outdoors: how to create the ultimate space

The New Zealand climate lends itself perfectly to socialising outdoors, but how can you take your outdoor space to the next level?

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

The New Zealand climate lends itself perfectly to socialising outdoors, but how can you take your outdoor space to the next level? We spoke to award-winning Metzger Builders’ Mark Metzger about how to use the latest in heating, outdoor rooms and automation to elevate your exterior spaces.

The key to the success of any space is a great design plan and it’s no different for outdoor spaces. But until recently New Zealanders have been slow to cotton on, says Metzger Builders’ Mark Metzger.

“There’s been a shift in our way of thinking,” says Mark. “Years ago you’d just plan the house and the outdoor spaces were an afterthought. But now they’re becoming integral to the whole design.”

This is especially true in Christchurch, where Mark is based, and where the prevailing wind can make outdoor entertaining uncomfortable in an ill-considered space.

A desire to socialise outdoors in any weather has made outdoor rooms a popular proposition, says Mark, and they’re a great way of taking any backyard to the next level.

Outdoor rooms are typically connected with the house and can have louvred open-roof areas as well as sliding glass panels that can be opened up to create indoor/outdoor areas. Drop-down shade screens on tracks are another cost-effective solution to block wind and sun and can be operated either electronically or manually.

Having a protected outdoor room means outdoor living is possible not only in the summer months but in spring and autumn too. Heating is then a key consideration, in order to make outdoor rooms as comfortable as possible.

“Table-top burners are very popular, as well as outdoor fireplaces. Infrared heating is also becoming a popular option,” says Mark.

Infrared heaters heat surfaces rather than the air and are more effective in heating outdoor spaces because heated air has a tendency to whip away or rise, rendering the heater ineffective.

“Infrared heaters heat a surface within close proximity to the heater itself. The surfaces then release the heat,” explains Mark.

These heaters work particularly well heating concrete surfaces which are a natural heat sink and release heat over time.

Mark says outdoor rooms are the best spot to locate infrared heaters, as the heat released will be easily contained.

Another heat source that will elevate the look of your outdoor living space is an open fire, says Mark, however in many districts outdoor fires aren’t permitted.

But there’s a little trick to navigate this issue: pizza ovens. “As long as you have a cooking plate they’re deemed a cooking device – that’s a little loophole!”

Fire pits are another way of enjoying a naked flame in your backyard without having to get a permit.

Planning your space

Planning an outdoor space is as simple as making a list of the uses that the space will be used for, says Mark. Areas will include spaces to cook, sit and eat,  spots where you can listen to music, and spaces to swim, relax and play.

“It depends on each and every site – it’s trying to maximise your section use with multiple areas for a different feel and different experience in each,” says Mark.

Want an added space for a little something extra? Mark says people put so much time into making their homes beautiful, it’s fitting to have a space where you can enjoy what you’ve built.

“Pull yourself away from the house and create a little space where you can look back at the house, at what you’ve been creating.”

Tech it up

The key to future-proofing your outdoor space is automation, says Mark. This means installing CAT 6 cabling, which will enable you to control your house either wirelessly while you’re on site or remotely using your smartphone so that you can turn on your fires, heating or lighting when you’re not at home.

“To me, that’s the way things are going,” says Mark, “smart-wiring is not only for your interior.”

As part of your automation, lighting is critical because “a house has to develop another personality at night time”.

Warm-white and feature lighting with warm tones is best for outdoors and different lighting options allow you to create different ‘moods’ for whatever activity you might be doing, whether it’s task-oriented lighting for BBQing, or mood-oriented for listening to music in front of a fire.

“That can be created by automation - you might do a combination of four or five different lights to come on, which create a ‘scene’.”

Music is also key to setting the right ambience. Generally, music is internet-based music, rather than using music servers to control it, and it’s critical to include outdoor speakers when automating the outdoor spaces.

Speakers work best in roof overhangs, and can be flush-mounted in soffits, or alternatively can be wall-hung. But for sound quality “you’re better to put your speakers out in the garden area and point them back towards your house” says Mark.

Water features, outdoor kitchens with running water, built-in BBQs, chillers, bars and wine fridges are all becoming de rigueur in well-executed outdoor spaces.

But while future-proofing your outdoor spaces is key, if you can’t afford to execute your vision just yet, says Mark, then make sure you install wiring for lights and sound systems, plumbing for outdoor kitchens and fixings for louvred areas, to prevent costly retrofits at a later date.

 

Are you looking for at creating an impressive outdoor space? Be sure to visit Metzger Builders on Archipro today or drop into their Christchurch office.

Metzger Builders Ltd.

Ever since MBL was incorporated in 1996 the company has consistently proven its place in the higher-echelons of home building in Canterbury with a succession of...

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Living outdoors: how to create the ultimate space
Living outdoors: how to create the ultimate space

Living outdoors: how to create the ultimate space

The New Zealand climate lends itself perfectly to socialising outdoors, but how can you take your outdoor space to the next level?

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

The New Zealand climate lends itself perfectly to socialising outdoors, but how can you take your outdoor space to the next level? We spoke to award-winning Metzger Builders’ Mark Metzger about how to use the latest in heating, outdoor rooms and automation to elevate your exterior spaces.

The key to the success of any space is a great design plan and it’s no different for outdoor spaces. But until recently New Zealanders have been slow to cotton on, says Metzger Builders’ Mark Metzger.

“There’s been a shift in our way of thinking,” says Mark. “Years ago you’d just plan the house and the outdoor spaces were an afterthought. But now they’re becoming integral to the whole design.”

This is especially true in Christchurch, where Mark is based, and where the prevailing wind can make outdoor entertaining uncomfortable in an ill-considered space.

A desire to socialise outdoors in any weather has made outdoor rooms a popular proposition, says Mark, and they’re a great way of taking any backyard to the next level.

Outdoor rooms are typically connected with the house and can have louvred open-roof areas as well as sliding glass panels that can be opened up to create indoor/outdoor areas. Drop-down shade screens on tracks are another cost-effective solution to block wind and sun and can be operated either electronically or manually.

Having a protected outdoor room means outdoor living is possible not only in the summer months but in spring and autumn too. Heating is then a key consideration, in order to make outdoor rooms as comfortable as possible.

“Table-top burners are very popular, as well as outdoor fireplaces. Infrared heating is also becoming a popular option,” says Mark.

Infrared heaters heat surfaces rather than the air and are more effective in heating outdoor spaces because heated air has a tendency to whip away or rise, rendering the heater ineffective.

“Infrared heaters heat a surface within close proximity to the heater itself. The surfaces then release the heat,” explains Mark.

These heaters work particularly well heating concrete surfaces which are a natural heat sink and release heat over time.

Mark says outdoor rooms are the best spot to locate infrared heaters, as the heat released will be easily contained.

Another heat source that will elevate the look of your outdoor living space is an open fire, says Mark, however in many districts outdoor fires aren’t permitted.

But there’s a little trick to navigate this issue: pizza ovens. “As long as you have a cooking plate they’re deemed a cooking device – that’s a little loophole!”

Fire pits are another way of enjoying a naked flame in your backyard without having to get a permit.

Planning your space

Planning an outdoor space is as simple as making a list of the uses that the space will be used for, says Mark. Areas will include spaces to cook, sit and eat,  spots where you can listen to music, and spaces to swim, relax and play.

“It depends on each and every site – it’s trying to maximise your section use with multiple areas for a different feel and different experience in each,” says Mark.

Want an added space for a little something extra? Mark says people put so much time into making their homes beautiful, it’s fitting to have a space where you can enjoy what you’ve built.

“Pull yourself away from the house and create a little space where you can look back at the house, at what you’ve been creating.”

Tech it up

The key to future-proofing your outdoor space is automation, says Mark. This means installing CAT 6 cabling, which will enable you to control your house either wirelessly while you’re on site or remotely using your smartphone so that you can turn on your fires, heating or lighting when you’re not at home.

“To me, that’s the way things are going,” says Mark, “smart-wiring is not only for your interior.”

As part of your automation, lighting is critical because “a house has to develop another personality at night time”.

Warm-white and feature lighting with warm tones is best for outdoors and different lighting options allow you to create different ‘moods’ for whatever activity you might be doing, whether it’s task-oriented lighting for BBQing, or mood-oriented for listening to music in front of a fire.

“That can be created by automation - you might do a combination of four or five different lights to come on, which create a ‘scene’.”

Music is also key to setting the right ambience. Generally, music is internet-based music, rather than using music servers to control it, and it’s critical to include outdoor speakers when automating the outdoor spaces.

Speakers work best in roof overhangs, and can be flush-mounted in soffits, or alternatively can be wall-hung. But for sound quality “you’re better to put your speakers out in the garden area and point them back towards your house” says Mark.

Water features, outdoor kitchens with running water, built-in BBQs, chillers, bars and wine fridges are all becoming de rigueur in well-executed outdoor spaces.

But while future-proofing your outdoor spaces is key, if you can’t afford to execute your vision just yet, says Mark, then make sure you install wiring for lights and sound systems, plumbing for outdoor kitchens and fixings for louvred areas, to prevent costly retrofits at a later date.

 

Are you looking for at creating an impressive outdoor space? Be sure to visit Metzger Builders on Archipro today or drop into their Christchurch office.

Metzger Builders Ltd.

Ever since MBL was incorporated in 1996 the company has consistently proven its place in the higher-echelons of home building in Canterbury with a succession of...

Recommended reading
Done tagging
Full screen
Living outdoors: how to create the ultimate space

Living outdoors: how to create the ultimate space

The New Zealand climate lends itself perfectly to socialising outdoors, but how can you take your outdoor space to the next level?

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

The New Zealand climate lends itself perfectly to socialising outdoors, but how can you take your outdoor space to the next level? We spoke to award-winning Metzger Builders’ Mark Metzger about how to use the latest in heating, outdoor rooms and automation to elevate your exterior spaces.

The key to the success of any space is a great design plan and it’s no different for outdoor spaces. But until recently New Zealanders have been slow to cotton on, says Metzger Builders’ Mark Metzger.

“There’s been a shift in our way of thinking,” says Mark. “Years ago you’d just plan the house and the outdoor spaces were an afterthought. But now they’re becoming integral to the whole design.”

This is especially true in Christchurch, where Mark is based, and where the prevailing wind can make outdoor entertaining uncomfortable in an ill-considered space.

A desire to socialise outdoors in any weather has made outdoor rooms a popular proposition, says Mark, and they’re a great way of taking any backyard to the next level.

Outdoor rooms are typically connected with the house and can have louvred open-roof areas as well as sliding glass panels that can be opened up to create indoor/outdoor areas. Drop-down shade screens on tracks are another cost-effective solution to block wind and sun and can be operated either electronically or manually.

Having a protected outdoor room means outdoor living is possible not only in the summer months but in spring and autumn too. Heating is then a key consideration, in order to make outdoor rooms as comfortable as possible.

“Table-top burners are very popular, as well as outdoor fireplaces. Infrared heating is also becoming a popular option,” says Mark.

Infrared heaters heat surfaces rather than the air and are more effective in heating outdoor spaces because heated air has a tendency to whip away or rise, rendering the heater ineffective.

“Infrared heaters heat a surface within close proximity to the heater itself. The surfaces then release the heat,” explains Mark.

These heaters work particularly well heating concrete surfaces which are a natural heat sink and release heat over time.

Mark says outdoor rooms are the best spot to locate infrared heaters, as the heat released will be easily contained.

Another heat source that will elevate the look of your outdoor living space is an open fire, says Mark, however in many districts outdoor fires aren’t permitted.

But there’s a little trick to navigate this issue: pizza ovens. “As long as you have a cooking plate they’re deemed a cooking device – that’s a little loophole!”

Fire pits are another way of enjoying a naked flame in your backyard without having to get a permit.

Planning your space

Planning an outdoor space is as simple as making a list of the uses that the space will be used for, says Mark. Areas will include spaces to cook, sit and eat,  spots where you can listen to music, and spaces to swim, relax and play.

“It depends on each and every site – it’s trying to maximise your section use with multiple areas for a different feel and different experience in each,” says Mark.

Want an added space for a little something extra? Mark says people put so much time into making their homes beautiful, it’s fitting to have a space where you can enjoy what you’ve built.

“Pull yourself away from the house and create a little space where you can look back at the house, at what you’ve been creating.”

Tech it up

The key to future-proofing your outdoor space is automation, says Mark. This means installing CAT 6 cabling, which will enable you to control your house either wirelessly while you’re on site or remotely using your smartphone so that you can turn on your fires, heating or lighting when you’re not at home.

“To me, that’s the way things are going,” says Mark, “smart-wiring is not only for your interior.”

As part of your automation, lighting is critical because “a house has to develop another personality at night time”.

Warm-white and feature lighting with warm tones is best for outdoors and different lighting options allow you to create different ‘moods’ for whatever activity you might be doing, whether it’s task-oriented lighting for BBQing, or mood-oriented for listening to music in front of a fire.

“That can be created by automation - you might do a combination of four or five different lights to come on, which create a ‘scene’.”

Music is also key to setting the right ambience. Generally, music is internet-based music, rather than using music servers to control it, and it’s critical to include outdoor speakers when automating the outdoor spaces.

Speakers work best in roof overhangs, and can be flush-mounted in soffits, or alternatively can be wall-hung. But for sound quality “you’re better to put your speakers out in the garden area and point them back towards your house” says Mark.

Water features, outdoor kitchens with running water, built-in BBQs, chillers, bars and wine fridges are all becoming de rigueur in well-executed outdoor spaces.

But while future-proofing your outdoor spaces is key, if you can’t afford to execute your vision just yet, says Mark, then make sure you install wiring for lights and sound systems, plumbing for outdoor kitchens and fixings for louvred areas, to prevent costly retrofits at a later date.

 

Are you looking for at creating an impressive outdoor space? Be sure to visit Metzger Builders on Archipro today or drop into their Christchurch office.

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