Outdoor living and exterior scaping

Katy Harris, Marketing Director for Verona, discusses how developers can create an extra room in the home with attractive outdoor spaces

Gardens and outdoor spaces have always served a range of different purposes in the home. For some, gardens are a family-friendly zone, while for others  they’re a place to entertain, providing an extra room in the home. This trend for outdoor living and exterior scaping is hugely popular, especially with potential homeowners who are looking to maximise all their available space, getting more for their money.

As such, an increasing number of housebuilders are turning towards new materials such as 20mm porcelain tiles over traditional flagstones and timber decking to transform patios and external areas. An ideal material for use indoors and out, large format porcelain tiles deliver a robust, hard-wearing floor covering that will stand the test of time. Easy to install and maintain, these tiles now come in a wide variety of styles, colours and finishes making them a popular choice.

Imitating natural materials

What makes porcelain tiles so attractive is the wide range of striking designs available, which appeal to all consumer tastes. Natural effects, tactile matt textures, dark or light tones; the design possibilities are endless. Printed using the latest technology, porcelain tiles can deliver a whole host of different finishes from classic travertine effects through to contemporary concrete and wood designs. Detailed veining and stunning tonal variation create a look that’s difficult to distinguish from real stone and wood, making it a slick, stylish alternative that’s easy to clean and maintain.

Concrete stone effects in steely grey shades are proving to be strong sellers reflecting the trend for industrial interiors, while rustic timber designs are also in demand as consumer tastes veer towards weathered, distressed looks.

How to make an outdoor living space stand out

With some creative thinking, even the smallest space can be turned into a functional entertaining area or extra living room. Often by using coordinating
10mm tiles for indoors and 20mm tiles for outdoors, you can create a continuous look, but you can also create interesting colour contrasts to define and zone living spaces. A stone effect porcelain tile in light beige on the patio, next to a much darker stone in the kitchen helps to clearly define living spaces but connect the two together.

Pattern is a massive trend within interior design, with homeowners looking for something that little bit different to the norm. Laying porcelain tiles in a variety of unique patterns and formats will help a property stand out from the crowd. Diagonal layouts, herringbone and modular patterns will all deliver a more contemporary aesthetic.

For a more adventurous look, experiment with different sizes and textures, laying wood and stone effects side by side for a visually stunning combination. You can also create paths and zoned areas with individual tiles that lead further into an outside space for an attractive floor covering that connects the exterior of the house with the lower part of the garden or covered gazebo area. This can be done either with a sand and cement mix or by laying the tiles loosely on a flat surface.

Safe and reliable

Versatile and functional, outdoor porcelain tiles deliver a hard-wearing floor covering that can withstand heavy use and extreme weather conditions. Perfectly suited to high traffic areas, they offer an excellent slip rating of R11 for added safety outdoors. Fade resistant even in strong sunlight, outdoor or 20mm porcelain will retain its good looks for years to come with no sealing or special maintenance needed. Easy to clean with a brush and warm soapy water or a specific cleaner, porcelain tiles are resistant to algae and moss, preventing any colour changes over time and eliminating slippery surfaces which can often be an issue with real timber and stone.

Frost proof, outdoor porcelain tiles will not crack during winter months or harsh weather conditions making them ideally suited to the British climate. Each tile is manufactured to tight tolerances ensuring an even thickness and level surface and have rectified edges for a premium finish.

Installation tips

Available in a range of large formats, installation inside or outside is simple and straightforward, with fewer grout lines and cuts needed. Strong and robust, the tiles can be cut with a water-fed diamond blade for a perfect fit every time. 20mm outdoor porcelain tiles can be installed in the same way as a traditional patio using sand and cement, however they will require a layer of priming slurry to the back of the tile to ensure they bond to the substrate. For a simple solution that does not require specialist installation, 20mm porcelain tiles can also be loose laid onto grass or gravel. The versatility of porcelain in terms of design and installation makes them a perfect choice for developments. You can tailor the design to suit your customer profile and create a space that massively adds value to your property. They are definitely worth considering for a new build project.