It is the perfect season to make the most of our outdoor spaces, with long lazy afternoons on the patio and summer evenings spent with friends. The benefits of spending time outside for both our mental and physical health are well documented. Pottering in the garden can improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and help you top up on vitamin D.
The experience can be made even more enjoyable with some well-chosen comfortable garden furniture. With the right accessories, our gardens can be truly transformed into a welcoming sanctuary that helps us wind down, or have fun with the family. Here are some inspiring ideas to help you make the most of your outdoor space this year.
Refresh seats and sofas with new cushions
This is the cornerstone to make your outdoor time both comfortable and stylish. You don’t even need to invest in new furniture, as your existing items could simply be refreshed by adding some new seat pads and cushions. Choose a water-resistant material, so you don’t have to rush them inside for every passing shower of rain.
There’s plenty of opportunity to add a splash of colour to add interest to the garden. You could go for a pattern, or plain and understated. Choose colours which complement the interior curtains or other soft furnishings of your home to create a sense of continuity, if that is important to you.
Choose outdoor furniture to complement the house
If you decide to invest in some brand-new garden furniture, you may want to consider the overall style of your house. Patios are now used as outdoor living rooms, with all the level of style and comfort that brings us. Long gone are the days of making do with flimsy camping chairs or uncomfortable plastic seats!
If you have a traditional country style garden, a set of rattan furniture would be a great choice. The muted earthy hues and hard-wearing style has a timeless elegance, and are the perfect way to blend outdoor and indoor living. In the wintertime, rattan sofas, chairs and tables will look perfect in a conservatory or garden room as well.
If you have a more contemporary style of house, then you might prefer the Scandinavian style of garden furniture. This makes use of natural materials with simple silhouettes, to create an effortless minimalist look. Alternatively, aluminium can be used for a durable lightweight alternative.
You may even want to create a more industrial look, with blocky bold furniture which is clean and fuss free. This type of look lends itself to recycled or repurposed materials, in wood, iron, or even concrete. Create contrast with eye-catching seat covers and outdoor table cloths.
Once you have got your furniture in place, it’s time to add those little finishing touches that add to the whole outdoor experience. Some outdoor lights can be the perfect addition, whether you want to enjoy evenings outdoors watching the sun go down, or add accents and highlights to enjoy the view from a window.
There’s a wide choice of outdoor lighting, from practical wall lights and pathfinders, to decorative lamps and lanterns. Feature lamps, which create a soft ambient glow as the twilight descends, are the perfect way to create a night-time atmosphere as you enjoy summer evenings with friends and family.
Festoon lighting is now an outdoor classic, and they are the perfect way to light up drab corners and soften garden structures such as sheds, pergolas, and fences. Choose from strings of miniature lanterns, traditional style bulbs, or fairy lights for that year-round festive feeling.
If you have a smaller garden, the latest trend is to create a sense of space with a mirror. They have long been used by interior designers to bring the illusion of space to a room, and now the idea has transferred to the garden. They are perfect for terraces, balconies, and courtyard gardens, and also work well in corners of larger gardens.
If your patio is in a shady spot at a certain time of day, you can create an extra dimension and reflect more light into the area with a mirror. If you have a wall which casts a shadow over your favourite spot, choose a window mirror, with cross sections to resemble panels.
If you can, position it to reflect flowers and foliage, to create the impression of a secret garden on the other side of the wall. This will soften the space and add interest.
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