Everything you need to know about designing outdoor areas in Brisbane

Everything you need to know about designing outdoor areas in Brisbane

Renovations, Tips and Advice, New Homes

architect modern homes carina heights new luxury home design designing outdoor areasBrisbane’s sub-tropical climate is perfect for outdoor living. Sure we have a few days that are too hot, and for some poorly designed homes days that are too cold or too wet, but for the most part, our climate is ideal for spending leisure time outside.

So if you have a home in Brisbane you’re going to want to have a functional, attractive outdoor area where you can relax in peace or maybe entertain your friends. And as with anything in the building industry, there are right and wrong ways when it comes to designing outdoor areas. So let’s take a look at a few of the do’s and don’ts.

Designing outdoor areas based on their intended purpose

Do you intend for your outdoor space to be private or is it for entertainment, or is it a bit of both? It’s impossible to design a great outdoor space if you’re not completely clear on what the space is actually for.

Chances are you’re going to want to do a bit of both, so your outdoor area will need to be designed to accommodate both functions. Of these entertaining will take precedence, a space within the entertaining space can be designed to suit private needs, however, it’s hard to entertain in a space designed for solitude.

When it comes to designing outdoor areas in terms of entertaining you need to consider how many people you’re likely to entertain and whether you see those people all being in one area, or spilled across a number of zones like indoors, outdoors, undercover, just outside the outside entertaining area perhaps on a lawn etc.

Also, think about how you see these gatherings playing out. Do you see people sitting around a table eating and talking, do you have a swimming pool where you need a connection between those in the pool and those who choose not to swim? Perhaps you see people splitting off into smaller groups. Do these groups need to maintain a loose connection or is greater separation desirable?

Connecting outdoors with indoors

When planning an entertaining space you should consider the connection between outdoors and indoors. Obviously, they will be physically connected, but that connection needs to be designed if it’s to be effective. Designing outdoor areas needs to consider movement between the spaces and should be planned so movement is effortless, not cumbersome.

People will most likely move between these spaces, but also you may need to transfer food and/or drinks. If it’s hot food you don’t really want to be pushing past people to get to tables or serving areas. By careful planning, it’s possible to design this outdoor/indoor connection in such a way that people can pass from one to the other without even noticing.

But it’s not just connecting the inside to outdoor rooms or decks. Great outdoor designs often go beyond the outdoor structure connecting to the garden area beyond. Perhaps there’s a courtyard or a gazebo or a fireplace that people are drawn to. Creating an appropriate connection from this space, through your outdoor entertaining area and into the home is a skill that not all architects have mastered.

Outdoor climate considerations

Whilst the weather in Brisbane is normally fantastic, any Brisbane architect knows that an outdoor space needs to also consider those times where the weather is less than ideal. Obviously, it’s possible to have an outdoor space that simply doesn’t get used when the weather is bad, but you shouldn’t have to compromise simply because of a bit of rain or a cold breeze.

An experienced Brisbane architect will know what conditions you’re likely to encounter and can advise you accordingly. We can also advise you on privacy matters in relation to neighbours. Ideally, you don’t want to be looking into your neighbour’s property, nor do you want them looking into yours. Blocking noise is another consideration as you don’t want your neighbours complaining about the noise coming from your property nor do you want to be bothered by their noise if you’re sitting outside.

Outdoor inclusions

Outdoor spaces can be as basic or as elaborate as your heart desires and your wallet allows. From BBQ’s to ovens, microwaves to spits there are endless possibilities for food preparation.

If you intend to entertain people in this space you might want to consider audiovisual options such as speakers and televisions. Other forms of entertainment such as outdoor pool tables might suit your style.

Then there are the focal points. Fire pits or outdoor fireplaces are great gathering points. And even though they might only get lit during the cooler months, place a few seats around them and people will still be drawn to them even when there’s no fire going.

So as you can see there really is unlimited potential. But designing outdoor areas really takes design talent if they are to be well connected and truly service your needs. For help creating the perfect outdoor space for your home contact dion seminara architecture today.

Dion Seminara Architect


We are experts at home design, renovations and new homes and ensure good value for money outcomes.

Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 30 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.