How To Get The Most Out Of Your Outdoor Space This Summer
So, we can all officially eat again indoors, but guess what if the weather is good then all we want to do is eat outdoors! Crazy isn’t it….such are these crazy times we live in!
The biggest bonus though is that now we can entertain our friends and family once again, so of course the rush begins to scrub up our patio’s balconies and gardens ready for BBQ season.
The chances are your outdoor furniture hasn’t been used in a while and might need a little freshening up, or your family has grown since the pandemic and now your garden requirements have changed. Or you could just be feeling refreshed, creative and ready to get your outdoor space all spruced up and ready to start entertaining again. If so, here are my top ideas on how to get the most out of your outdoor space this summer.
Firstly: Think about your existing furniture.
Situations, environments, people or just the way you use a space could have all changed since the last time you used it. So, pull everything out and have a good look at it.
Does it still work?
Do you still need the 8-seater dining table?
Was that worn and tired bench ever really used.
Do you even need that extra storage box?
Not only is it amazingly cathartic to get rid of items, it also frees up space and could earn you a bit of extra cash in the process……who doesn’t love that!
You also might have just moved into a new place and inherited pieces of furniture. Do not feel obliged to hang on to them, if it doesn’t really work with your style. Also, question how the previous owners used the space, just because they had a huge dining table setting on the patio, doesn’t mean to say you should also do that. Bring on the hot tub eh!
TIP: What style is your interior decor? Remember to carry on this style into your ‘other room.’ Because that what it is, an extension of your home.
Next: What do you want out of your garden?
For those who read my blogs a lot, you will know that I am always going on about how you want your space to feel and how you want to use it. It really does amazes me how many people will just go with the flow and automatically get a dining setting (for example) because they feel that’s what an outdoor space needs. Only to realise that they never sit at a dining table indoors, so why would they start sitting at one outdoors!
If they had stopped and actually thought about how they lived, they would have known, formal dining wasn’t for them and a seating modular with areas to put plates, would be a lot better suited to their style of living.
So, if you do nothing else, just please think about how you want your outdoor space to work for you. Things if you there are just two of you, but you have a large family or friends and you love putting on a BBQ. Then purchasing an extendable table is a must.
A friend of mine got very excited when they moved into a new place and inherited a brand new patio. Rushed out and bought a fantastic BBQ complete with dining setting. Only to realise he dis-liked putting on a BBQ or even food for that matter. He much preferred his friends to come over for snacks and drinks and relax on the sofa. The outdoor table became a waste of space really and…… yup ended up on Ebay, to be replaced with a comfy outdoor modular!
He got there in the end, but what a necessary stress and waste of time.
It is starting to sound like I am really oppose dining settings doesn’t it!
Haha not the case at all, It’s just that they are a high price ticket item, a pain to return and take up a lot of space, so just be sure it is the right thing for your garden. The same goes for seating areas.
Think about which plants are going to bloom and when. If you are anything like me and not very green fingered. Ask someone to help you at your local garden centre. They should be only too happy to point you in the right direction, just as long as you give them some basic information.
Think about the age of the kids that are going to be using the area. Teenagers are not necessarily going to be wanting as much space as pre-schoolers, but still might want there own little bit of sanctuary.
This is an essential piece of information you need to know before any purchasing takes place.
I talk more on this later on in the blog, but please just do your self a favour and work out when the sun hits your ourdoor space and write it down!
Then: Where does the sun hot and when?
Now, I do find people are a lot more onto this when it comes to their garden. For the main reason that certain plants need more sun than others. So, if your green fingered this point will come as no surprise.
But for the rest of us, it is a huge thing to consider. For example you really don’t want to set up your entertaining area, in a part of the garden that only receives the sun in the morning (North/North East- East) Or have a dining setting fully exposed to the sun with no umbrella for shade, especially when there is food involved.
I do understand, you get what you are given a little bit when it comes to outdoor space and you have to work with what you have. So if the only space you have to put anything, is in a less than desirable spot for sun. Just roll with it and get a few extra blankets and cushions and make it a really cosy spot.
I am in a predicament at present with my own garden. Directly outside the kitchen is the perfect spot for a small dining setting. However it is also the spot that gets the most sun through-out the day, therefore lends itself to some relaxing seating. Also, the spot where the seating would look best, is also the shadiest part of the garden, so perhaps not as comfortable………….see, even interior designers don’t have all the answers and yes it is still not resolved!
Finally: Time to get personal
Now you have figured out your furniture, where it is going to go and how you are using your space. This is the fun bit, time to make it yours and give it some personality.
Yes, we all know plants, trees flowers, herbs etc all do an amazing job at giving your outdoor space some punch. But that’s not all you can do to inject a bit of personality into the space.
I’m talking fairy, contemporary, LED, the list goes on. From expensive, functional and architectural, to cheap battery operated and fun. It really is up to you, but don’t overlook how much of an impact they can have on the space.
String over areas you want and need light. Obvious I know, but the fence might be an easy place to drape them around, but if it leaves your guests in darkness, then it doesn’t really matter how pretty they look. Better still, try not to rely upon them for direct light, only for decoration. That way you can put them anywhere you like.
These have to be my favourite garden lights – Solar powered but give 8-14 hours of lights once fully charged. 4.5m with 8-different modes, so you can be twinkly at Christmas or more peaceful and ‘fading’ slowly while entertaining. Cost effective and 1-year warranty. I also found their customer service was great and the product was so easy to install – bonus for me, as I am not the most electrical savvy.
For a more contemporary and modern look. These are auto-sensing garden wall lights really do look fantastic. The are perfect for generating a functional light in areas such as walk ways, pathways and balconies. They offer a gentle and warm light, so are also aesthetically pleasing and would finish off a contemporary outdoor space nicely.
Throws, cushions, outdoor rugs are all a fantastic way to really inject colour, personality, and comfort into the area. Even if you only have a small metal café setting on a balcony, drape a knitted throw over one of the chairs and see how cosy it looks.
These have to be my all time favourite cushions and poufs by Izabela Peters. As well as being water proof, they are all designed, printed and handmade in the UK. The cover is easily wiped clean or machine-washed.
Click on the pictures to view her full range:
If you are wanting a cohesive flow from your interior to outdoors, be mindful of the colours you choose in your textiles. Keep them consistent or the very least keep all of the outdoor areas in the same colours and keep to only a few.
For example, if you have pots, an umbrella, seat cushions and scatter cushions. Stand back and look at everything as one. Naturally seat cushions, pots and the umbrella are harder to replace. So try and tie everything together using your scatter cushions, smaller seat pads and throws.
The overall effect will be a smooth transition from your indoor to your outdoor, which will in effect give the illusion of another room….bonus!
Err what! you say. But outdoor artwork is huge right now, from from metal screens, to outdoor mirrors, paintings and even bespoke graffiti and why not!
Like I mentioned above, now more than ever people have realised the benefits of being outdoors. Not only does it do wonders for our physical and mental health. It relaxes us, inspires us and as soon as the weather is good, we are all outside. So our outdoor spaces have become incredibly important to us and that means making them as personal and ‘you’ as possible. That’s where these quirky ideas come in.
So there you have it, quite a few different ideas, product suggestions and things to think about, which might not have even crossed your mind before. I really would stress, that taking a little bit of extra time to go through these points, BEFORE you advance on retailers, will honestly save you a lot of time, stress and money in the long run. You will also inevitably get the outdoor space that is exactly right for you and your household. Not just a picture perfect outdoor scene, but it is highly impractical and a pan to use……..Not what we want!
So have another read, take down your notes and start praying for some sun 🙂
Until next time
PS: I fully understand that reading blogs is very different to actually going out and doing it. So if it all just feels a bit like it is in the ‘too hard basket’ or you just don’t have the time, but still want a fabulous space – indoors or out for that matter. Then do not forget to check out the various design services we offer. From a complete guided and hand holding consoltaion to a service that just offers you some brilliant ideas along with where to buy everything. Check out our ‘Work with me’ section and pick the right sort of help you need:
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