Summer’s here! Celebrate with brunch on the terrace, Pimm’s on the patio or picnics on the lawn – and make the most of your outside space
Just as the barbecue has moved on from the sausage sizzle that ended up, inevitably, in the garage, the kit required for garden parties has evolved far beyond nasty white plastic. These days, entertaining alfresco can be as exuberant or as minimal as the hostess’s frock.
The trick is to match the furniture to the outdoor space. A new-build apartment with a lavish wraparound balcony, for example, can soak up a sizeable dining table. A homeowner with the luxury of a generous decked patio and plenty of storage space can indulge in tub chairs and stools to make a dramatic statement.
Those with a basement flat or titchy old-school veranda, however, need something neat and practical that can slot into the hall cupboard when it’s raining and quickly fold out the minute the sun shows its face. If it’s a cheery bright colour, with washable surfaces for those Pimm’s-related accidents, even better.
[Top] Italian company All+ specialises in extremely stylish weatherproof furniture, ideal for the Milan penthouse. [Above left] These tribal-influenced beauties from Go Modern are perfect for a hard-landscaped garden – too many flowers would compete with the bold pattern. [Above right] Small spaces need neat solutions such as Wilkinson’s olive patio set. The colour modernises an otherwise traditional design.
[Below] Villeroy & Boch’s playful Lina tableware captures the mix-and-match vintage look perfectly. It’s ideal for summer brunch in the garden. Just add croissants, coffee, Sunday papers… Reclaimed glassware and random blooms complete the look.
Colour can work brilliantly in a garden. An unexpected pop of a primary shade is a visual treat in a grassy space, while a geometric shape is a pleasing contrast to the organic forms of nature. Having several small tables, or arranging seating in clusters, encourages chatting and mingling.
When it comes to dressing the table for alfresco dining, colour comes into its own. An architectural garden cries out for a bold single colour, while a pretty cottage garden can take clashing patterns and shades.
This is the time to mix and match textiles and china, to show off that 1950s Melamine picnic set rescued from the Oxfam shop and get creative with the floral decorations. Nautical red and blue is a summer perennial, but spots and flowers give it a new twist. Raid the beds for whatever is in bloom, arrange the treasures in reclaimed glassware, sit back and watch the party get started.
Emu’s painted aluminium Mia range is also available in white, black or grey for those less courageous in their colour choices. Ligne Roset can be relied on to add a bit of French chic to any deck or patio. The wire mesh Grillage range is like buying Isabel Marant ankle boots for the garden
Organic fabrics such as wood and rattan always work well in a garden. And while a battered Lloyd Loom chair or weathered sunlounger has its charms, there are modern alternatives.
The addition of metal brings a hard edge to the organic shapes and natural curves of the garden. This can then be softened with fabrics and cushions when the occasion demands.
A steel-framed gazebo is the perfect garden nook, offering shelter from blazing sun or protection from an unexpected shower. For high days and holidays it can be dressed up with pretty fabrics, to add extra shade and colour.
Cushions – upholstered in weatherproof fabric – make a metal bench more welcoming and encourage guests to stay and enjoy the party until the sun goes down.
Stripes, florals and crisp whites from Jab Anstoetz transform a metal-framed gazebo into a pretty party venue. Anthony Logothetis’s La Seóra hammock, made from marine plywood on a stainless-steel frame. Go Modern’s sculptural rattan dining set, for those who worship the natural look.
This is just a taster, you can browse more features and garden inspirations in issue 89.
Words Anna Burnside