In our hectically precarious urban world, moments spent in nature are increasingly precious and – more than that – necessary to a greater extent. We consider gardens to be outdoor rooms and design them as an expansion of the residence. Gardens are living oases and healing refuges; they convey harmony and equilibrium.
An outdoors shower is a wonderful way to utilise a small central courtyard and introduce a novel element into city living. Imagine using this shower after a morning run before you leave for work; the start of your day would be transformed and attain a wondrous, rustic flavour.
I often turn to these slatted panels, available in a variety of finishes, as a sleeker alternative to fencing. Extraordinarily versatile, they lend themselves to numerous aesthetics and are excellent by night as well. Lit subtly, they are ideal for entertaining. If your garden is planted with thought to scent, you could have a cocktail party dreamily perfumed by the most intoxicating fragrances that would instantly transport the guests elsewhere.
This space is a true combination of the outdoors and indoors with its innovative shelving units, bringing a sense of a grand library or drawing room that is beautifully magnified by the stately windows along one side. It is as easy to imagine taking meetings here as it is to use it to recuperate after a long day.
Mitsuori Architects achieve a Californian – or Australian – spirit with this disciplined but moderate residence and its outdoors area. I admire the shaping of the patch of green and the use of various textures to add nuance to an essentially austere scheme.
Olive trees are another way to add effortless distinction to a straightforward urban garden design. Their soft grey tones and affectingly hardy appearance add sensitivity to this terrace.
Here is a very different, but no less effective, approach. A combination of wood panelling, flooring from SACW Paving, and tropical plants hints at the jungle and to adventure. A wardrobe of khaki and linen would only heighten the effect!
I love the lean lines in this chair; reminding that elegance is just as important in outdoor furniture. The relaxed green between the paving bricks, the attractive coarseness in the paint on the bench, and the colour gradations in the pots all accentuate sensuality.
For time-starved city residents, artificial plants can be a maintenance-free way to experience the outdoors. In this space, real plants are cleverly combined with artificial grass.