Over the last five years Jamie Durie has been splitting his time between working in Australia and the US. He has worked on over ten different television shows, all while developing a new range of indoor furniture for the European market.

If expanding his reach to interior design wasn’t already enough, Jamie has also just launched a new range of organic skincare products for People For Plants.

Life is busy for Jamie, who is just at the end of a five-week stint in Malaysia filming home design television show, The Apartment. However he says this year he has been spending a lot more time in Sydney in his Northern Beaches home.

While he can’t give too much away about a new book he is releasing at the end of the year, he is more than happy to share his insights into creating ideal outdoor living spaces.

According to Jamie the current trends in landscaping are all about expanding indoor living spaces into the outdoors.

What are the important things people should consider before designing an outdoor space?
Well you need to do what I call a functional analysis. This is where you consider the prevailing winds, where the sun falls in the garden, what kind of soil you have and what the topography is like.

You would then draw a giant circle over the top of your plan to outline where the various functions might take place within the garden. There might be an outdoor entertaining area, a dining area, an area for children’s play or an outdoor kitchen. You very quickly start to create a mud map of what your future garden could look like

Once you have the basics down you can start working out which plants will go where to give you the desired shape to screen, decorate or furnish those particular areas.

Is designing a garden something people can do alone or is it important to seek professional help?
I think it’s always good to get advice, especially if you want to get the most out of your outdoor space.

What kinds of outdoor design features add the most value to a house?
These days people are really interested in outdoor kitchens and outdoor dining areas. Everyone wants to be able to cook and entertain for their friends, so that tends to add a lot of value to a home. Most buyers look at the two most important days of their week – Saturday and Sunday and how they can best use a space in this time.

What would you suggest people do if they only have a small outdoor area to work with?
The sky is the limit really; I think these days people are very focused on creating additional lifestyle areas with their outdoor spaces. The garden is no longer just a utilitarian space where you dry your laundry. It’s now an extension of your living room, so a small area could be used as an outdoor lounge, an outdoor kitchen or an outdoor dining area. Think of the sorts of things you love to do inside and create a place to do them outside, where you can connect with the fresh air and sunshine.

Imagine you are in the opposite situation and your garden is too large to manage. What can you do in this situation?
You would compartmentalise the garden. I think that most people look for security and intimacy in the garden; they look for spaces that evoke a sense of discovery or what I like to call a “secret garden”. If you compartmentalise it, you can deliver various functions within the larger space, and extend indoor areas into the outdoors.

Do you think people often forget about their gardens and focus too much on inside spaces?
I think a lot of people focus on the indoors first because they automatically want to feather their own nest and make the most of what happens inside. But these days you have really got to carve out a portion of your budget so that the outdoor space is not neglected. It does add value to your property. I tell people to spend between 5 and 15 per cent of the value of their property on their landscaping and they’ll never over capitalise.