Darren Palmer has a broad portfolio, having studied fine art & graphic design, originally working in advertising and owning his own graphic design company. After succumbing to his true passion, Darren now operates his own interior design studio and has been a judge on numerous seasons of The Block.

Here are my top tips on how create an outdoor oasis with purpose and panache.

1 - Definition
Demarcation of a space allows every element within it to be contained and have a relationship to each other. Whether that means bordering your outdoor tiles or laying down an outdoor rug from Carpet Court’s Suva or Terrace ranges on a terrace - defining a space for dining, lounging or play will make your outdoor area look considered and coherent.

2 – Purpose
Decide what you want the space to do and what you need to include within it to do that job well. If it’s a BBQ area, then a dining table and chairs, lounges, occasional chairs and side tables would be your next considerations. Also think about which outdoor flooring ideas will work best for your space, whether you incorporate decking, patio tiles, outdoor tiles, patterned pavers, or lay artificial grass like Carpet Court’s LuxTurf range, or any combination that best reflects your modern backyard design.

3 – Added Amenity
What does your interior lack that your outdoor space can accommodate? If you have ample
dining space but a tiny living area, then an outdoor lounging or entertaining space might be
just the ticket. If you have no formal dining area inside your home, then perhaps your outdoor
area would function best solving that problem for you. Use your outdoor space to make the
most of the outlook, climate, and usage potential.

4 – Shelter
Cover from the elements is an absolute mandatory when it comes to planning your space. Whether that means a feature umbrella to shelter from the sun and the rain, an awning that
extends to adapt to these same requirements, a fixed awning or pergola, an operable roof system to filter light and breeze, or retractable screens for protection from insects - you need
to consider how your space will protect you.

5 – Climate
Are you using your space all year round? If so, you’ll also need to think about cooling and
heating solutions suitable for the varying temperatures, such as a fireplace or fire pit that
provides warmth and architectural interest, fans or even a cooling water mister.

6 – Mood
Do you want to feel like you’re at a resort? A hotel rooftop? A boho backyard? Or a beachside
cookout? Think about the feeling you want to create for the space and then find elements
that play to the style from colours to textures, common patterns and materials. By researching
and having good visual reference you can make your space fit your desired mood.

7 – Style
Mood and style go hand in hand but aren’t exactly the same. You can create a beach mood, but you could go in any number of directions with regards to style. If Hamptons is at one end of the spectrum then Hawaii could be at the other. You need to define which style you’re going to embrace in your space to support the mood you’re trying to create.

8 – Decoration
The choice of furniture from size to material and style will be influenced by your mood and style. Decoration is the extra layer that really finishes off a space, so think about the cushions, plants
and sculptural pieces you can use to elevate your space.

9 – Creating moments
Spaces aren’t only for practical purposes, they should also be places of excitement, relaxation, discovery and creativity. From something as simple as a hanging chair to a more fixed inclusion,
such as a cabana filled with vibrant outdoor cushions, or a styled and intimate sitting area for two, creating special moments and Instagramable backdrops really helps to make your outdoor
spaces special.

10 – Lighting
Being able to control the level and amount of light that different elements receive allows you to change the ambience to suit different uses and scenarios. From lighting the inside and perimeter
of a pool, using task lighting for BBQ and outdoor dining areas, to highlighting special plants or trees, the use of light will add an important layer to your spaces.