Modular Walls spoke to Sarah Hoskin, an established landscape architect for Caledonian Landscapes about indoor-outdoor living and how to create the ultimate architectural design to enable it.

Sarah, who has been designing dream gardens for over 20 years, says that the most enjoyable part about designing outdoor spaces is getting to know her clients well enough to create a space that is tailored specifically for their preferences, their lifestyle requirements and the unique characteristics of their site.

Observing that a house is not a home until the garden is constructed, Sarah comments that architectural elements that could support indoor-outdoor living include transitional structures, which frame and shelter access points between indoor and outdoor spaces, or demarcate the movement from one outdoor room to another to create a connected flow of space. She adds that the home’s architecture should inspire the selection of hard structures in the outdoor space such as paving, pergolas, fountains and fencing among others.

For instance, Sarah chose a SlimWall modular boundary fence for a home in Orange, NSW, keeping all architectural elements in the minimalist Japanese style courtyard garden simple, elegant and muted in colour to complement the modern extension of the original brick cottage.

One of the primary challenges involved in designing a successful indoor-outdoor space is the budget remaining after the client has completed building their dream home. According to Sarah, an ideal situation is one where the landscape plan is commissioned at the beginning and planned alongside the building’s architectural drawings. One of Sarah’s projects was planned in such a way that the boundary and driveway planting with the irrigation systems were installed four years before the builders even began construction on the new home, to ensure adequate growing times.

Sarah believes that the indoor and outdoor spaces, when planned as a whole, can flow holistically and meet not only practical requirements, but also help connect the building with the surrounding landscape.

Sarah strongly believes in having a ‘landscape plan’, explaining that hard (structural) and soft (organic) materials needed to make a garden can end up costing a fortune without careful attention; a landscape plan maximises valuable growing time and saves money.

She suggests that homeowners should plan their ideal outdoor space, with all the materials and plants already chosen for each site, and taking into consideration aspects such as comfort, scale, style and budget. The construction can be staged over a given timeframe to suit the homeowner’s convenience.

Having worked in the business for over 20 years, Sarah says that landscape designs are still controlled by timeframes and budgets, which most often set the parameters on how limited or expansive a ‘dream garden’ can be.