Locating outdoor spaces Print

Design Outcome

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Design Checklist​

  • Outdoor spaces are provided in appropriate locations for private, communal or public use
  • Outdoor spaces contribute to a sense of identity & ownership of the development
  • Outdoor space is accessible, attractive, safe and easy to maintain
  • Landscaping of rooftops and podiums contributes to high quality open space within the development


Outdoor space is important for environmental and amenity reasons. It provides amenity for those living in small dwellings and improves the overall liveability of a development. Open space may be public, communal or private. Outdoor space plays an important role in fostering and maintaining a sense of community for the residents of a development.​​​

Better Design Practice

Provide private outdoor spaces for each residential unit in the form of a balcony, deck, terrace, garden, yard, courtyard or roof terrace.​

Provide communal outdoor space that is appropriate to the site.​

Communal outdoor space should be designed to be useful for a range of occupants by:

  • ensuring it has direct solar access as well as adequate shade​
  • ensuring facilities such as a BBQ or pool are located in a manner that does not adversely affect vulnerable users
  • ensuring the communal outdoor spaces and facilities are effectively managed
  • ensuring that the spaces are of an adequate size, well landscaped and contain the necessary facilities
  • designing communal spaces for both day and evening use - well designed lighting helps communal spaces be attractive and safe after the sun has gone down
  • locating ventilation duct outlets from basement car parks away from open space to avoid contamination, noise and a general loss of amenity​
  • locating open space so that its amenity is not affected by other uses such as adjacent surface car parking areas or rubbish storage.​​

On larger sites, consider providing public outdoor space as it can:
  • help integrate a larger development and its residents into its surrounding area
  • enhance the amenity of a development for residents and the public
  • reduce the perceived extent of a development and increase site permeability
  • link into existing pedestrian and cycling routes (making existing routes more direct where possible)
  • contribute to the amenity value of a neighbourhood.​

Take the opportunity to create outdoor spaces on the rooftops of buildings, podiums and car parks.

Rooftops and podiums create opportunities for outdoor space to be provided in even the most intensive of developments. Where it is not possible or necessary to create areas suitable for recreation in these areas, they can still be used for landscaping to improve the environment and amenity of the area. 

Landscaping opportunities include the use of planters (usually as part of a hard landscaped area) or the creaton of green roofs. Utilising these spaces for landscaping may greatly reduce stormwater discharge from the site.

When designing planters, consider the following:
  • their position in respect to gaining adequate sunlight
  • shelter from strong winds
  • drainage and the provision & frequency of irrigation​
  • anchorage requirements of large and medium trees
  • possible structural requirements for support of extra load on roof tops, podiums and carparks.

Rules of Thumb

Public outdoor space should have the same qualities as a successful street:
  • it should connect at least at two points
  • it should be overlooked by residential or other active uses.

Ensure public spaces are designed to be welcoming to people - orientate and design to provide adequate ​​sun, shade, attractive landscaping and seating.
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