Outdoor Living - It’s so much more than a table and chairs on the patio
Summer is a time when we should transform our gardens into an outdoor living space. Spending time relaxing outside is a great antidote to the stresses and pace of life. It’s about relaxing, feeling the sun and warm breeze on your face, it’s about enlivening our senses, listening to nature, breathing in the intoxicating scents, entertaining with friends.
It’s different for everyone – it’s your space
So how can we make those areas more accessible and welcoming, a place of comfort, a place we choose to ‘be’ not just for the odd occasion.
Our climate can be tricky as summer can often come and go but there are now more products available that will transform that area just outside our doors. So when the weather’s good, it’s fun to get outside with your friends and family and make the most of the sun. And any outdoor space can be transformed into a social hub, be it for informal barbecues or elegant summer parties.
Take a look at your space and work out how much of it you want to allocate as a living area, think about how you want to use the area. It’s no good creating a sophisticated reflective space if in reality you want music and dancing whilst tucking into a burger and a beer as the sun goes down.
It’s also worth considering who’s most likely to spend time there. Will it be your neighbours and their children wandering over when they smell the barbecue? If so, you’ll probably want to buy the biggest dining table you can comfortably fit so everyone can eat together. If you’re more likely to have adults only soirée for cocktails and conversation you may prefer a few benches with soft cushions alongside an outdoor bar.
A wet lawn can take several hours to dry out so this immediate area will benefit from an area of decking or paving? Paving is robust, requires almost no maintenance once fitted and will last for years.
If you want something softer under feet where you can kick off your shoes then consider artificial grass. This gives you a lush-looking lawn all year round, plus it dries very quickly if there’s been an unexpected shower. Artificial grass will last a whole summer of dancing and mingling without turning brown or becoming patchy.
If eating outdoors, think about how many people you’ll be hosting. Our table ranges will seat up to twelve or more and there is also the option of modular so you can increase your dining capacity. For smaller, more intimate groups, go for a round table as everyone can easily see each other.
Whether you want to keep things simple or if you have a passion for outdoor cooking Weber barbecues will have a barbecue to suit. Their range of charcoal and gas barbecues are fitted with wheels or are portable so you can easily move them to any spot that suits – and once it’s done with you can put away in your shed or garage.
Be sure to offer your guests – children in particular – shade from the summer sun. Parasols are a quick and easy way to block out harmful rays and can move to where you need protection the most in the garden. Look out for overhanging parasols that offer even greater coverage.
If a particular area of your garden is a suntrap, consider a larger structure like a gazebo. These are available made from wood or fabric on a metal frame and look great when decorated with outdoor lights and many will double up as shelter from the rain should the weather turn bad. To sit outside under a shelter while the rain gently waters your garden can be amazingly therapeutic and our gardens come alive with a combination of sun and rain.
The right plants are essential for colour and ambience, Choose architectural shrubs for structure and perennials for a splash of colour every year without requiring much maintenance. Pots are a quick and easy way to add a floral touch and our lightweight pot options allow you to easily move them out of the way should you need extra space for socialising. You can add height with climbers that grow up and over walls or trellis and varieties such as trachelospermum will give a sweet scent from delicate white flowers – creating a sensual delight for all.
Adding a few features makes an ideal way to finish off your garden’s look. They don’t have to be massive to make an impact – simply position in the right spot and they can make an eye-catching addition to any space.
Why not opt for a water feature to bring a dash of drama? It doesn’t matter if you don’t already have a natural water source in your garden, as they can be introduced relatively easily. You could consider a pool or waterfall, or add a pebble fountain to your decking or paved areas.
Ornaments and statues are another way to express your personal style. They can be traditional or contemporary, a bit of fun or quite serious – it’s up to you.
Wooden structures, furniture or decking can be personalised with our range of exterior paints and stains. Cool shades like white, blue and grey create a sophisticated, contemporary look, while the warmth of terracotta creates a more brash Mediterranean feeling.
Don’t have your guests scurrying indoors on cooler evenings a fire pit or chiminea will create a focal point and they’re portable so you can move them around as needed.
Chimineas offer a large amount of heat and if you throw a woody herb like thyme, lavender or rosemary onto the fire your garden will be filled with scent as you and your guests talk into the evening.
You will want to add some lighting to your outdoor space and a little goes a long way. Instead of flooding the areas with light, carefully place them here and there. Table lamps and lanterns add a relaxed mood to dining areas, while solar-powered stake lights can easily be added to illuminate pathways with no wiring required.
The introduction of music is a simple task with rechargeable Bluetooth speakers but installation can often be made easier with an external power supply.