Sandra Rothwell shows the many ways you can prepare your outdoor space for the summer months
I always make the most of sunny days in my garden in Cookham Dean – the garden table covered in fabric swatches and visuals for my next mood board, accompanied by a morning coffee! It’s a little oasis I have created and furnished just as I would a room in my home and I love spending time in it. Essentially, it’s an outdoor room and increases the footprint of my house each spring/summer. Comfy seating, natural daylight and an abundance of greenery draw me outside each day and fill me with inspiration and positivity.
Even the smallest spaces can work brilliantly with careful planning. Just as you would indoors, it’s a great idea to zone your outdoor space too, breaking up areas with screens or tall plants. Outdoor rugs create the illusion of an extra room and having the correct size rug can make all the difference – large enough to fit comfortably under the furniture.
For bright sunny days, a parasol is perfect and provides vital protection from the elements. I love Symo for stunning designs, but they also supply built-in lighting and heating for darker and cooler evenings. A canopy or sail is another good option for weather protection. You will also need some throws – I use gorgeous, practical ones from Mariaflora, who also make a great range of indoor/outdoor cushions and rugs. Just adding a few new accessories to your existing furniture can make a huge impact and create a very welcoming space.
Outdoor kitchens are a huge trend with built-in BBQ’s and sinks – so sleek but very practical. An outdoor bar is perfect for entertaining; add a counter with a fridge and bar stools and you’ll have a very sociable space. Incorporating an outdoor fireplace will let you enjoy your garden well into the evenings (a simpler option is a fire bowl or contemporary chiminea).
Lighting is especially important for evening entertaining. You can have a tailor-made lighting scheme installed, which will make the most of your outdoor space by highlighting key areas – well worth the investment. Candles are perfect too in hurricane lamps and lanterns.
Solar garden lights are also very decorative and a cost-effective alternative, used to either highlight paths and steps or simply strung in with foliage. Planting at different heights helps draw attention to specific areas of the garden, and mixing structured and soft foliage adds interest, depth and movement. I love scented plants too, which release their perfume well into the night.
For advice on creating your perfect outdoor space, please mail [email protected]