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Home & Garden
Outdoor Space Design

Impress with a quality outdoor space

This is a must-read guide if you’re designing an outdoor living area for your home. Where do you start? A lot of headaches creep in for many of us ‘homeowners-turned-exterior-designers’ - ineffective planning and corner-cutting can end up in an entertainer’s worst nightmare. We’ve pulled together some information to help you design an outdoor space that you’ll be proud to entertain in. Your family will thank you and enjoy spending long hours into the night with you in your backyard.

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Easy-to-use luxury outdoor umbrellas

Create iconic outdoor spaces for friends and family with the modular shade solution, the Shadowspec Unity™ - Graham from Sydney, Australia purchased a Duo umbrella and after a few months of use realised they needed more shade. The inherent modularity of the Unity enabled Graham to upgrade the umbrella to the Quattro configuration. Classy outdoor umbrellas with large shade coverage and clean lines, the world's best outdoor umbrella. 


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Versatile Patio Furniture

Sand, surf and sun. Perth, Western Australia is a thriving modern city with a stunning outlook on the Indian Ocean. Homes along the coast feature stunning architecture, relaxing patios and designer pools. WA is known for its hot climate, long summers and predictable weather patterns. Shade umbrellas and pools are an essential accessory in the state and Tom purchased a Shadowspec Serenity™ Rotating Cantilever from Shadowspec.


6 key functional considerations

What do you want your space to be?

What is the motivation behind creating an outdoor area? Is it to spend time with family? Have your own private oasis? Dining? Set your goal early and stick to it otherwise procrastination and distractions will start to take hold.

Existing Obstacles

Where your new space is located is important when it comes to designing and planning. Is it south facing? Detached from the house? Is the space limited by fences, pools or other structures? Do you need to take your neighbours into consideration? Don’t let these be detractors from your design, incorporate them and make them features in your backyard design.


Is your space just for the summer months, or are you planning to use it all year round? The weather, location of the sun and prevailing winds should be in your planning dossier too. There’s no use setting up your new patio in an area the sun never reaches otherwise you’ll never use it and that’s suboptimal in the long run.


Size & Shape

Finding the most optimal way to use your space is key, every inch should be considered in the planning phase. Think about the different uses you’ll want over the lifetime of your property. Space for dining, drinking and relaxing and don't overlook space to play with the kids.  The shape of the area is also important - think about how you can use the natural curves and lines of your space. 

Continuity & Consistency

Have you spent time and money on design and enhancements around your home? Make sure your outdoor space flows on from this, as by creating a consistent experience everything will start to make sense.


When you consider the budget, you must ask yourself how much are you willing to spend and you want to spend it. While it may be appealing, it's recommended you don’t cut too many corners. Looking for cheaper options is not always a good idea, there are some elements of an outdoor area that you shouldn’t compromise on quality - even with simple backyard patio designs.

Luxury design Video

Cantilever shade at home in the iconic Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
Modular, Easy to use, comprehensive shade coverage. 
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Backyard Project Case Study
David came to Shadowspec with a vision in mind, using 3D design and ingenuity, he turned his backyard into a focused, usable and shaded space with outdoor umbrellas and quality spa pools. David was kind enough to share his process and journey with us. Read about the successes of David's backyard project: 

Build the perfect outdoor space

Now that the function and use of the space are set out, let’s create an outdoor space with some garden design ideas.

Choose the right fixings

Based on your decisions on how you want to use the space, you now need to consider what furniture and fixings you’ll require to make the headway towards your goal.

Think about what outdoor seating you’ll need, heating and cooking with barbecues and firepits. Keep your plan in mind. Just to help you get started, here are the essentials for outdoor spaces:

A focus on protection

Relaxation under shade is a universal enjoyment. It’s important to know that just blocking the sun doesn’t correlate to UV protection – it’s important that your shade is also filtering out UV rays.

It’s also important to invest in a shade solution that protects from less than ideal weather to maximise the time you can spend outside.

Shadowspec Umbrellas filter out almost 100% of UV rays and provide protection from rain, wind and other conditions that would otherwise limit outdoor enjoyment. Look after your family they’re important!

1   Table & Chairs

The table is the centrepiece of all outdoor dining areas. It's where family congregate and memories are created. Choose the best outdoor furniture or deck furniture to suit your space.

2   Shade & Shelter

Create a shaded, comfortable outdoor area that you can spend plenty of time with your family by providing ample shelter. Sitting under a patio umbrella in summer? Perfect.

3   Warmth & Cooking

Food brings people together include a fireplace, firepit or barbecue to generate warmth and provide food to impress.

4   Garden design — plants & vegetation

Add a splash of colour and interest, plants provide nice fresh air and a nice organic balance to the other furnishings you're selecting.

What's Your Shade Story?

Outdoor umbrellas for home and garden inspiration.
Discover our latest shade story.


Outdoor Shade Options

Outdoor shade is so important to enjoyment. Here are a few solutions to outdoor shade.

Outdoor Umbrellas

Umbrellas are a very popular choice because they’ve got all the key features homeowners need. They’re stylish, flexible and provide UV protection while remaining very easy and cost-free to maintain and can last 10 years or more when you purchase a quality solution. Outdoor patio umbrellas are popular all over the globe.

Shade Sails

A popular permanent solution for shade, you can use them to create interesting shapes. They can be difficult to get down to clean and maintain and their large coverage area tends to collect a lot of foliage.


Wall mounted awnings are quite practical for deployment but the excessive moving parts and strain from the weight can cause them to become damaged, twisted and not work all too often. Great for covering a deck that’s lined up right next to your home.



These are permanent structures topped with open rafters. They look good but may not be the best solution if you need full shade. They also need regular re-staining or re-painting to maintain. Best paired with an outdoor umbrella or another shade solution to provide comfortable shade.

Louvre Systems

These structures function in a similar way to interior blinds and are mounted above the area you are looking to shade. They can be made from aluminium. Despite looking good, they are the most expensive shade system available and are quite inflexible. Difficult to maintain and repair, they’re best for outdoor rooms that convert to a full inside room during winter.

Retractable Screens

When the sun gets low or the wind blows, retractable screens are handy. They protect from angled sun rays and provide additional privacy. With the retractable option, they can be lifted when needed. Good, basic protection from low-angle sun, but they do require a permanent structure to mount off and are therefore another system that is best off having a symbiotic relationship with other shade solutions.

Where to find help creating your outdoor space

Frustration can seep in when you’re trying to design the best possible outdoor space. Don’t get overwhelmed, there are plenty of online resources to help you get the right solution. Talk to an expert supplier about the products you’re looking to put in your space.  By focusing on quality over the price you’ll save yourself money and headaches in the long run – products that are built to last will make the rest of your design slot into place. You’ll also be able to take advantage of using the knowledge and expertise of expert suppliers. 

Read our blog: Cantilever Umbrellas - Make the most of your outdoor space.



The first step in designing your ideal outdoor area is to have a clear vision of how you're going to use it and to consider all the different aspects beforehand: location, purpose, weather elements and of course budget.  After that you will need to determine what type of furniture goes into that space, striving for three things: beauty, comfort and functionality. There's no need to accept compromises: if you choose good quality products you can have all of them. An essential moment of your project will be how you decide to create shade. Try to be as flexible as possible here. Outdoor patio umbrellas are a popular choice in this case, as they can fit any scenario. Check out our cantilever umbrella range, it's great for home and garden use.

If this process sounds daunting, then the expert opinion from a professional supplier will be a great help. When you're creating your dream outdoor space, you want to talk to someone who knows what's available on the market and can recommend the best solution for your needs.