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Designing Your Perfect Outdoor Room

Decorative concrete has long been used as a foundation for outdoor rooms and entertaining areas, so what makes it such a useful material to work with?

Outdoor rooms are more than just a balcony or patio. They work as an extension of your home, with the function of the indoors, in an outdoor environment.

A well-designed outdoor room should be useable all year-round, and may even replace the original kitchen or dining room as the new heart of your home.

It’s important to give consideration to the layout of the space and who will use it when deciding on the materials you use. Beyond the floor, decorative concrete is a versatile solution for creating multiple elements of any outdoor space.

To help you plan, we have compiled some expert tips for designing your dream outdoor room.

 

Position is Everything

One ‘must have’ for every outdoor room is the perfect position. Ideally, the space should get enough morning sun to keep it warm in winter, while having adequate shade in hot weather, and shelter from wind and rain.

Weatherproofing outdoor entertaining areas will ensure year-round use of your outdoor room, making it feel like a part of your home, rather than the backyard. Decorative concrete also gives you the flexibility to create an outdoor room of any shape or size.

 

Flooring

Outdoor flooring doesn’t have to be a plain concrete slab. Outdoor rooms lend themselves to an endless array of flooring options, including honed concrete, exposed aggregate, and coloured concrete.

Extending concrete floors from inside the home creates indoor-outdoor living flow, while providing a low maintenance and durable flooring solution.

Concrete floors also offer the added benefits of thermal mass, maintaining heat in the cooler months and dispersing it during hot weather.

 

Benches

Just like flooring, concrete benches are easy to clean and maintain, making decorative concrete an ideal material to use for a range of outdoor living features.

Polished concrete is increasingly being used to craft outdoor kitchens, dining tables and barbecue areas, providing fixed furniture with a seamless, high-quality finish.

 

Windows

Windows should be given careful consideration beyond the views they provide. Outdoor rooms also require both adequate ventilation and shelter, and windows should add to the overall functionality of the space. Depending on factors including your room size, orientation and climate, you will need to decide whether to use glass windows, sliding doors, transparent bistro blinds or an alternative solution.

 

Colours

The colours and textures used in your outdoor room can be a continuation of your home’s interior, or a complementary and contrasting design. Geostone decorative concrete is available in a range of colours and natural stone selections, offering a solution to suit every colour scheme. Combining decorative concrete and aggregate with other natural materials will create a contemporary space with timeless appeal.

 

Decor

Plants, pots and furniture can be used to further enhance the design of your outdoor room. Other decor items including mirrors, sculptures and artworks are also an opportunity to showcase your unique personality and style. And don’t be afraid to blend functionality and fashion – decorative concrete is a perfect construction material for feature walls.

 

Technology

You might choose to use your outdoor room as a dining room or reading room with low-tech needs. But homeowners are increasingly choosing to install large-screen televisions, projectors and sound systems in their outdoor room for the ultimate in entertaining spaces. Give consideration to the final layout before installing electrical appliances.

 

Plants

Bringing the outdoors in is taken to a whole new level in an outdoor room. From a few pops of colour to a vertical garden, or a complete greenhouse vibe, embracing nature is an easy way to liven up a room and add depth and character. Consider sunlight exposure, watering needs and ventilation, and discuss your plant selection with a local nursery or horticulturist to ensure your indoor garden thrives.

 

Lighting

Most outdoor rooms are designed to take advantage of natural daylight, but additional lighting is needed for entertaining at night. The options are endless from downlights to pendant lighting, solar lights for an eco-friendly option, or dimmable mood lighting to really enhance the ambience.

 

Designing your dream outdoor room should be an enjoyable and creative experience. The end result should be a reflection of your personality and lifestyle, and an inviting space to rest, relax and entertain friends and family.

For more design inspiration and information on using decorative concrete in your home, visit the Geostone blog archive.

5 Simple Tips for Cleaning Decorative Concrete

Decorative concrete is relatively easy to care for, and it’s this low-maintenance factor that is helping to drive its increasing use in many homes. Here are five cleaning tips for decorative concrete that are not only helpful but also emphasise how simple it is to look after.

Listen to the concrete experts – this could well be the most important step in keeping decorative concrete clean. By following this step, you shouldn’t go wrong. Your decorative concrete supplier or installer (a good installer, anyway) will be able to advise on appropriate cleaning solutions or products for each surface or application. Just as decorative concrete comes in many different forms, so do the products manufactured for cleaning it. Thinking that one cleaning product can be used in all situations is a mistake – and potentially a costly one. Ask the experts for their advice, and follow it.

How to clean Decorative ConcreteRegular sweeping saves you in the long term – exterior concrete surfaces such as driveways, walkways and patios require regular sweeping. Leaves, blossoms, twigs and other organic debris, if left to lie on concrete for too long, can cause stains as they decay. A few minutes with a soft-to-medium broom is all it takes to remove this matter – it could also remove the need to undertake more intensive and time-consuming cleaning in the future.

Damp mopping is sometimes all you need – many internal concrete floors require little more than a gentle sweep, or a damp mop using nothing but water.  It’s better to do this than apply potentially harmful solvents to the mix. Another reason to consult with experts before you clean.

Rinse thoroughly – any cleaning effort can be wasted if you don’t finish the job. In the case of decorative concrete, particularly if you use recommended cleaning products, this means it is imperative to thoroughly rinse the surface with water after you’ve finished cleaning. Failing to do so means you run the risk of leaving spots of residual cleaning fluid on the concrete, and this can give the appearance of an uncleaned surface – which defeats the purpose of cleaning in the first place!

Wax your interior floors to reduce cleaning – a layer of wax specially designed for concrete floors can protect the sealer against dirt, stains and abrasion, reducing the need for more strenuous cleaning.

Most of these tips are very simple to follow, and emphasise that cleaning decorative concrete is relatively easy when you compare it to the maintenance regime required by other surfaces. As always, expert advice will help you to maximise your cleaning efforts for better results.

 

Pour Concrete and Add Value to Your Home

More than just a basic construction material, concrete is now one of the most versatile building, paving and decorative products in existence.

Decorative concrete has become an integral part of modern building design and renovation projects. In its wide-ranging applications to commercial and residential architecture, it provides functionality and enhancement.

Concrete used to have a reputation for being drab, grey and dull. This was at a time when its household use was limited to driveways adecorative concrete flooring is relatively affordable.nd paths that were plain, flat slabs; unimaginative in colour and texture. A lot of homes have concrete surfaces that have been there for decades and are starting to show their age or are getting damaged. Homeowners sometimes leave these surfaces, not knowing what to do with them. With decorative concrete, it’s never been easier to give almost any area of your home a new lease of life and your creativity with concrete is limited only by your imagination.

Decorative concrete is created when materials such as natural stone, sand, shells and crushed quarry material that have been mixed into the concrete are later exposed or highlighted by grinding and polishing methods. A decorative effect can also be created by stamping elegant lines and geometrical patterns or acid-staining the concrete. Decorative concretes are affordable and are a quick and practical way to increase the kerb appeal of your property.

EXPOSED CONCRETE

The aggregate materials near the surface of the finished concrete are revealed. The end result is a low-maintenance, rugged, non-skid surface that fits in beautifully with the surrounding outdoor environment. Exposed concrete is generally a less expensive option to tiles and timber decking and a perfect choice if you’re intending to make your driveway match your home’s colour scheme. It’s a perfect hard-wearing solution for garden paths, driveways, pool surrounds and al fresco areas.

HONED CONCRETE

A smooth low-maintenance matt finish is created by honing the concrete surface and exposed aggregates. Honed concrete brings to life driveways, patio areas and pool surrounds and is an ideal choice for transition areas that crossover to the stylish polished concrete that may feature inside the home.

POLISHED CONCRETE

A smooth flat finish is obtained when the aggregates are polished even further using progressively finer abrasives so as to impart a glossy lustre. The end result is a top-of-the-range look, a sophisticated design that can be manicured to look like marble or granite. Polished concrete flooring is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to get the look and elegance of natural stone. It’s a budget-friendly alternative to flooring of similar appearance such as terrazzo or marble and this can be especially important in spacious living rooms.

Decorative concrete can provide a striking uplift to wet areas such as showers and bathrooms. Picture a slip resistant concrete floor embedded with cut coral, ground and polished to stunning effect, or blotted and dappled concrete shower walls with rendered pebble floors showing off some traditional chrome tapware and white porcelain fixtures. Concrete bathroom floors can be designed for any budget, incorporate the warmth of in-built heating, require little maintenance, resist moisture and stains, and can reduce allergens. Why put up with the angst of cracking and discolouring tiles when you can have a superbly crafted concrete bathroom floor that gives the natural beauty of polished stone in a tile-like finish?