Details per Space Series

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8 tips for inviting outdoor spaces

We sometimes get the opportunity to work on project which boast nice exterior spaces. And it would definitely be a shame to ruin them with a simple lifeless deck with ikea sun loungers.

If conceptually speaking your project is revolving around the exterior space, be sure that all your renderings (or at least most of them) show that. As I previously mentioned in the previous instalments of the series, always make sure to create connections between the interior and the exterior for the viewer to better grasp the project.

In essence, this means finetuning your composition as well as your exposure settings properly so that you can see a bit of the outside in your interior shot through an open window, a conservatory and the like. The other way around is interesting too : see the inside of your project from the outside (an adjacent open kitchen, a living room, etc.).

Activity items

The first step in making your exterior space inviting is to make them look like proper extension of the inside of your house. This means suggesting that daily activities can take place outside once the weather is kind : a simple deck chair with a book, a nice lunch outside near the pool, props related to gardening (hose in the grass, a shovel next to a shed in the background). If you're working on a project with the appropriate climate and design, it is definitely worth depicting exterior bathroom or other specific amenities.

As usual, be extra careful not to overdo it. It's not because you can literaly do everything outdoor, that you have to put all your ideas in a single image. You can be spot on by being subtle.

Image credits : Archatlas, Cocolapinedesign, Deco-Cool, Demozoom, Heaton Heaton, Homedsgn, Kikisloane, Unopiu, Seventeendoors, Thekhooll, Turbulences-deco


Cloth material can be interesting to play with in outdoor rendering. You get the usual pillows and rugs that you could find inside. But you can also have towels (rolled or unfolded) next to the pool, curtain to protect you from the sun and cast nice semi transparent shadows. You can even suggest a bit of wind by using curtains or ribbons.

As for any other space, the interesting thing with cloth is that it is a warm and soft material which means it can really help in balancing an image. Say you have a concrete floor with large tiles and a swimming pool. Having a slightly creased towel nicely placed can add softness in your rendering and counterbalance the hardness of the concrete surface.

Image credits : Archzine, Heaton Heaton, Heaton Heaton, Heaton Heaton, Liliinwonderland, Dedon, Spaaz, Styleandcreate

Fashion items

Fashion items easily fit in outdoor rendering. Although sandals lying somewhere in an image epitomize outdoor atmosphere, it can be interesting to add a little bit of novelty. 

Can be a nicely designed plaid, a sweater for when the weather gets a bit colder, a wet bathing suit (with the appropiate wet floor around it), or a whole outfit next to the swimming pool while its owner is swimming. 

Any items that falls in the summer category will do the trick. 

Image credits : Archzine, Lamaisondannag, Lonnymagazine, Turbulences-deco

Design items

In order to show that the exterior space is a proper extension of the interior, special care should be given to decoration and design. 

In the same way that you can have sculptures, paintings and the likes inside, you can find their outdoor equivalent. 

Nicely design weaved basket with a candle in it, kitchen trolley, actual sculptures (with outdoor-compatible material), deadwood (seems like it's a thing nowadays), large rocks, pebbles, etc.


Image credits: Architags, Archzine, Jessica154blog, Desalto, Planete-deco, Roomonfire-good-design


Well, as you might suspect, vegetation will clearly be a big part of your outdoor rendering. Whether it's the scenery or the garden, special care should be given to the foliage. 

If you're going with a planted garden, be careful with the transition between the hard surfaces, the grass, and the soil. While if you're only using plants in pots be careful with the design of the actual pots (is it clay or concrete or wood, etc.).

No wonder why landscaping is an actual job. When you're working on exterior rendering, try to gather as many informations as you can from your client (variety and layout mainly) so that you compose your garden properly. On the contrary, if your client doesn't have a clue of what the garden should look like, you might want to read some basic principle of landscaping (which is closely tied to composition, which is something you should know about already).

Outdoor foliage is highly dependent of the climate. So pay attention to what variety you're using and avoid nonsensical layout that mix trees from all around the world if you're in an arid climate for instance.

Image credits : Contemporist, Heaton Heaton, Heaton Heaton, Heaton Heaton, Maisonmarigold, Unopiu, Pinterest, Pinterest


Outdoor space, when the weather is kind, can also be used at night when the sun is less harsh. This is why you should try different lighting scenarios in order to better sell your outdoor space.

Whether you go for a dusk or daytime rendering, you will have to think about light fixture. As you can see in some of the references below, built-in spotlight recessed in concrete or small fixture along a path are interesting details in an image even if they are not switched on.

If you feel like it you can also go with more natural lighting (exterior fire place, candles), but they will quickly feel a bit more corny in my opinion. So be mindful! Cluttering your image with candle holders will quickly look horrible.

Another scenario that works well, although its first point is not to directly sell the outdoor space but rather suggest it : make an exterior rendering with a couple of light outside and the main artificial lighting coming from the inside of your project. This gives you a nice foreground, and composition-wise your eyes will be drawn to the lit area (kitchen area or living-room, in which interesting details can be depicted).

Image credits : Archatlas, Homedit, Goodwoodwould, Heaton Heaton, Lolo pinterest, Dedon

Misc furnishings

There are many details you can add in an exterior rendering regarding technical fixtures and the likes.

Gutters are definitely a must to add a bit of realism (they are rarely tucked away in walls), same goes with ventilation system (although that one is much easier to hide and less classy).

You can also opt for some summer activities like a nice barbecue, or a hose for watering, etc.

As usual, small details can go a long way in enhacing your image believability. The job of the architects is to properly include them in their design, while your job is to properly model them and compose with them.

Image credits : Alecsgrg, Frenchy Fancy Pinterest, Heaton Heaton, Just-good-design


For outdoor spaces, context goes both ways. 

You can either compose your image from the inside and focus on the exterior with a simple interior foreground (chair, open windows, etc.). This will really help in selling an efficient connection between the inside and the outside of the project.

You can also compose your image from the outside, looking in the project, or on another part of the exterior surrounding. 

Either way, in most cases it is important to see both part of the project in the same image : inside and outside. Making an exterior image with absolutely no part of the project itself visible can be problematic. Always try to get a bit of your project in exterior shot even if you want to focus on the exterior space. It can be a simple doorway framing your image, or cast shadows that helps you understand where the building is, or a nice reflection of the facade in the water or any other reflective surface. Be creative, but don't reinvent the wheel. Don't break the project you're depicting into autonomous and unrelated parts.

Last but not least, pay attention to what is happening around your project lot. The surrounding buildings (or landscape) will play a huge role in properly contextualizing your project, especially if there are specific landmarks in the area.

Image credits : Peone Tumblr, Heaton Heaton, Heaton Heaton, Modernmoreau, Heaton Heaton, Heaton Heaton, Heaton Heaton, Laurentbourgois, Heaton Heaton, Heaton Heaton.

This was the last instalment of our Details per Space series. Hopefuly you've learnt many tips and ideas to integrate in your outdoor rendering as well as all the other parts of a common housing project.

As usual the idea here is just to show you a quite large range of the amount of hidden information you can imply by just using the right objects in the right space.

Don't hesitate to comment and share your tips and hints that you usually rely on to make your outdoor rendering convincing. 

This is the last part of our series, but if you have specific request for another specific space we haven't tackled, don't hesitate to contact us and we'll gather up all the knowledge we have and deliver it in a new specific instalment in this series.