Take the indoors outside this summer. Whether it’s a luxury seating area, a dedicated space for entertaining guests, or simply a tucked away oasis in which to relax and unwind, there are many different ways of creating a space that combines all the comforts and convenience of indoor living with the benefits of the outdoors.
Spending time outside and enjoying nature has been proven to help people’s physical, mental and social well-being. From keen gardeners to armchair nature lovers, being outdoors can energise and raise spirits or calm and relax in equal measure. Designing an alfresco living space tailored to you, will create a perfect space that can be enjoyed all summer long.
Define your living area or “garden room” by installing a permanent or temporary structure. From pergolas and gazebos, to sun sails and summer parasols, any one of these will create an instant living space as well as providing welcome shade or protection from summer showers. Soften harsh lines of pergolas and gazebos with climbing plants, which are also perfect for covering trellis and walls, adding colour and fragrance.
Modular sofas are ideal for easy lounging or socialising with family and friends, and bringing structure and definition to a patio or other area of the garden. If space is at a premium, there’s a corner of the garden that catches the evening sun, or you’re simply seeking a space for quiet reflection, an arbour or a couple of chairs such as a tea for two set nestled amongst choice planting can create an informal look with an air of country charm. Choose TDP’s eco friendly patio furniture made from recycled plastic and there will be none of the maintenance either compared with traditional timber products.
Choose an outdoor dining table that is large enough so you can invite family and friends round for a light supper. If fine dining is more your style then transform any table into instant chic with a fabric tablecloth, candles and dinner plates. For smaller spaces, opt for a bistro table and chair set. Position in a sunny spot and complement with choice planting – plant bold bright colours in statement pots to draw the eye whilst cascading roses will add some old fashioned romance.
Whether you’re looking for an understated elegance or the instant wow factor, choosing planting schemes carefully will bring any outdoor living space to life. Add matching pots or an assortment of styles and colours for an informal effect. If space is at a premium or to soften hard landscaping, plant containers of succulents and alpines, brighten empty spaces with sustainable planters of poppies, dwarf sunflowers and cornflowers, and encourage bees and butterflies with cosmos, wild marjoram and catmint. Add structure and texture with grasses such as Festuca with its leaves of green, blue or gold, or create a backdrop of greenery with ferns that are ideal for growing in more shady areas. For added height and depth add a living wall or plant up hanging baskets and window boxes. Climbing plants, including clematis, honeysuckle and roses are perfect for covering trellis and pergolas and will fill the garden with fragrance on summer evenings. Other scented plants have more practical uses too – keep flies at bay with midge repelling plants such as lavender, lemon balm, marigolds and rosemary.
Conjure up the relaxing sound of a babbling brook with a water feature. Available in a multitude of designs from the traditional to the contemporary, the gentle sounds will imbue your garden with an aura of calm and tranquillity. There is no need for wires either as there are numerous solar powered water features available. Alternatively, build your own small container pond to welcome birds and other wildlife to your garden – just remember to ensure they can easily get in and out of the water.
With such a great range of outdoor lighting available, there is no need to retreat inside on summer evenings when nights draw in. Instead install lighting that blends the aesthetic with the practical to extend your time outdoors. Place solar lanterns by the side of paths or sink lighting into decking to light the way. Showcase feature plants with spotlights or create dramatic effects with coloured bulbs, whilst stake lights in borders or containers will add an extra area of interest. For a more whimsical look, string light bulbs across your outdoor living space, attach fairy lights to gazebos and umbrellas, or dot decorative lights that glow like oversized dandelions in amongst flower borders for a touch of magic. On still evenings, add a little romantic charm with candles or tea lights – choose citronella scented ones to keep away the flies.
Bring the personal touch to seating and dining areas with decorative accessories. Add splashes of colour to sofas and chairs with water resistant scatter cushions and add further luxury with an outdoor rug to complement or contrast. Hang wall art to create interest whilst mirrors will give the illusion of greater space, revealing a glimpsed gateway into a secret garden. Introduce sounds with bamboo wind chimes, perfect for catching light summer breezes and add intrigue and curiosity with wire art amongst borders, flower beds or containers.