Plan, style and shop for your garden – your summer sanctuary starts here…
Surveying your outdoor space in the dead of winter can be a truly depressing sight. It’s usually water-logged or carpeted with snow, and the gale force winds mean there’s at least one deck chair overturned. It’s difficult, when the elements are demanding you to batten down the hatches, to imagine a time when it will become a place of refuge and well-being again, to relax in the warmth with a good book and a cold drink.
In order to truly make the most of the warmer season, having the exterior ready for whatever activities you have planned – working on your tan, entertaining, dining alfresco – is a necessity so that you can spend time actually enjoying being outside.
No matter its size, zoning sections is a way to manage the planning of the area. Decking offers a simple solution if you want to incorporate seating – it provides a low-maintenance, even surface for furniture and creates a simple layout which will help identify its function and flow.
This poolside hideaway (1) draws inspiration from the azure water and natural greenery by introducing this exotic palm leaf parasol from East London Parasol Company and vibrant striped throw cushions. Create a similar look by incorporating summery touches such as Sunnylife’s aptly named Malibu umbrella (6).
Havwoods’ calm oasis takes a cooler approach: the smooth, grey decking (4) gives the garden a more refined yet minimal aesthetic while, simultaneously, softening the concrete and L-shaped angles of the architectural water feature.
Furniture and accessories are important considerations after the terrain is determined. For modern living, Stecca’s green lounger chair from Italian designer Colos (1) is quirky and colourful but not overpowering. Jonathan Adler’s sunshine yellow planter (10) is practical and punchy, while the bright orange gnome (page 52) plays on tradition and adds humour.
For a more casual ambiance you can’t go wrong with a hammock, such as this striped, multi-coloured design from Lagoon (9), or, for a more family-friendly alternative, the Cacoon hanging chair at Smithers of Stamford (5) combines safety and fun in equal measure. If you want to hang out in the garden but not in such literal terms, Bazaar Group’s recliner bean bag in this vibrant turquoise shade (8) is as comfortable as it is contemporary.
For keen cooks seeking an entertaining space, invest in robust appliances and devices. Take Garden House Design’s lead with its heavy-duty outdoor kitchen (3), which provides everything needed to prepare meals hassle-free. And don’t forget about those cooler evenings – a heater can make all the difference when kicking back after a generous barbeque. This rusted fire pit from Lime Lace (11) is industrial chic at its finest, and will work just as well for toasting marshmallows with the kids under a blanket of stars.
Think practically about outdoor fabrics. You might be refreshing a tired corner or redesigning an entire space, but having a few well-chosen textiles will help to tie it all together and encourage a comfortable, outside experience. The sensible way to do this is investing in weather-proof materials to help minimise damage and waste. Mimic nature’s strong colour palette by opting for plenty of prints and bright hues.
Regardless of whether your space is to be a retreat for several generations to enjoy or just a cool corner to make the most of the lighter evenings, the most important thing is creating the right place that exudes relaxation, one that’s functional as well as artfully designed.