If you have a garden party coming up over the summer, or would just like to use your outdoor space a bit more socially, the best way to get it ready is to think of it as an extra room. So, consider everything from heating, lighting, furniture, decor – just as you would if you were revamping your living space. Use a bit of imagination, and you’ll have an amazing outdoor room!
We may have had a hot and long summer in the UK last year, but that doesn’t mean the same will follow this year (fingers crossed it does though!). Always be prepared for mixed weather with some shelter in the garden. You may choose to build a pergola with a roof, or put up a large garden parasol. Alternatively, a gazebo is an excellent temporary yet convenient structure – it can be a brilliant way to give yourself and guests ample overhead cover above and with the sides down some protection from strong breezes too. They also look really nice and summery in the garden! Why not buy a pop up gazebo from Garden Camping to give you that element of shelter.
Garden furniture has really improved in recent years with a wide choice of chic patio furniture available that wouldn’t look out of place inside the home as well as out. Boutique hotel style sofas and coffee tables designed for the outdoors in hardwearing waterproof plastic rattan are a great option. Just remember to bring in the cushions if they aren’t weatherproof. If you can’t stretch to a new seating set for the outdoors, have a look at what outdoor furniture you already have – can you update it with some paint and new seat pads? You can see how I upcycled my picnic table here for some inspiration. Or why not check Gumtree, Ebay or similar local sites to pick up some bargain second hand outdoor lounging or dining sets.
String Lights, solar lamps, lanterns and candles all add illumination and atmosphere to a garden in the summer. It really isn’t the same without some ambient lighting as dusk falls, so make sure you treat your garden to some lovely lighting. Solar powered lamps and festoon lights are great if you don’t have an outdoor plug. If you do have access to electricity though, you can go to town with lots of lovely string lights overhead – use the trees or any garden structures to loop them around the space above your seating areas. Battery operated tealights are a good, safer alternative to real candles if there are children around.
It can get quite chilly as the sun goes down, so make sure you have something to keep yourself and any guests feeling cosy. A chiminea, patio heater or firepit are all great ways to add some heat and provide a warm glow. You could ensure there are blankets available, too, to pop around shoulders and over knees.
One of the best things about summer is all the great value bedding plants you can fill your pots and planters with for a cheerful splash of colour. Dig out your old terracotta pots and give them a spruce up – clean off moss and why not paint them with some aztec style designs for a fashionable boho look? Don’t just use conventional planters, either – random objects such as old wellington boots, chimney pots, wheelbarrows – anything in fact can look cute and kitsch when filled with trailing flowers and plants.
You can even add decorative items such as bunting, outdoor clocks and mirrors to add character to your space – and just as you would repaint the skirting and walls in a living room, use some garden paint to spruce up fences, decking etc.
Storage & Maintenance
Having some adequate storage in the garden is a must and just as important as having indoor storage. Whether you’re lucky enough to have a garage or even just a small shed, it will enable you to store tools, outdoor toys, BBQ supplies etc out of sight to keep your garden or patio looking neat and tidy so you can enjoy an uncluttered view. And don’t neglect those jobs like mowing the lawn regularly or fixing a loose hinge or creaking gate, so that your outdoor space to feels pleasant and well maintained at all times.