Site Use

Considering how a building and site impact on each other, enhancing energy efficiency, comfort and convenience.

Indoor/outdoor flow

Indoor/outdoor flow and outdoor living spaces such as decks, terraces and barbecue areas are an important part of modern lifestyles.

When designing for outdoor living spaces, aspects that should be considered include:

  • sun and shade
  • wind and shelter
  • views
  • privacy
  • security for children and/or pets.

Sun and shade

Outdoor areas require shade in the summer months and sun in the winter months. They should generally be north or west-facing. Shade against midday sun can be provided by verandahs, pergolas, retractable and fixed awnings, shadesails and adjustable louvres.

An east-facing deck or patio provides a sunny breakfast/morning outdoor area and will provide shade later in the day.

Wind and shelter

Shelter from the wind may be achieved by locating an outdoor area on the lee side of the building. As wind does not always come from a single direction, creating a number of outdoor spaces will provide shelter under different wind conditions.

Use planting (either planned or existing trees and shrubs) in conjunction with fencing or screens to provide shelter from wind.


The direction of the view may be in conflict with sun for an outdoor living space. In this case, design two or more outdoor areas to take advantage of both view and sun.


Outdoor areas should provide privacy from the public or adjacent sites while maintaining good exposure to sun. North-facing sites can present a problem if the sunniest outdoor area is located between the house and the street. A long back yard where sunlight reaches the rear of the site, or a building layout with a projecting living area to catch the sun, may provide effective solutions. Alternatively, incorporate screening that is high enough to provide privacy but minimise loss of sun.

Security for children and/or pets

There should ideally be an outdoor space where children can safely play that is away from the street front and is visible from inside the house. Dog owners will also need an easily accessible outdoor space for their animal(s) that can be securely fenced.

Locating outdoor living areas 
Locating outdoor living areas

Outdoor living areas should be located for sun, privacy and views, and to avoid wind.