With summer well and truly upon us, our thoughts turn to the great outdoors and taking advantage of every sunny warm day we get (or let’s be honest, every day it’s not raining – but we’re not being picky). While you might want to give your borders a good weeding, prune a few bushes and mow the lawn, there’s plenty more you can do to create a space outdoors that you’ll want to spend time in and one that will beckon you out of the house and into the sunshine.
Step 1 – Zone Your Areas
If you have a larger garden, then you can easily zone various areas depending upon the activity. Even in our smaller garden, we’ve got a spot for dining, a spot for relaxing and a BBQ area. You can delineate various areas with outdoor rugs which are made with recycled plastics that are hardwearing and can be hosed down when they get dirty. Not only are they practical, they add a bit of colour or pattern to each zone.
In the dining area, be sure to have enough seating for everyone in the household with space for a few additional guests. Top your table with a parasol for the hottest days and decorate the table with a few lanterns and pots of flowers or plants.
For a relaxing spot, you may want to add a bench that looks on to a pretty patch of garden, a few sun loungers or some interesting seating to a sunny spot. Be sure to add a small outdoor coffee table so there’s somewhere for you to pop a cold drink down!
If you have kids, you may want to consider a corner of the garden that’s visible from the house as a ‘Kid zone’ with activities like a sunken trampoline, a sandpit, an outdoor chalk board or a Wendy House.
Defining the various areas of the garden is a great way to take advantage of every available space.
Step 2 – Add some Lighting
When the evening falls but it’s still nice and warm, you’ll want to spend a little extra time outside. There are so many ways to add lighting to your garden. Consider uplighters along a path or under plants with architectural leaves to make them a feature.
Consider stringing solar fairy lights or festoon lights around a pergola or across a decked area to create an ambient glow in any spot.
Add hanging lanterns or candle holders with citronella candles on tables and flooring to create small pools of light and keep mosquitos at bay! Check out our tutorial for making your own citronella candles here.
Step 3 – Add visual height
Just like inside the home, you’ll want to add some visual height to your garden area. We constructed a pergola this year to hide an unsightly view and to draw the eye towards the back of the garden. You might want to also consider adding planting or trees that when mature, will provide not only height to your garden but also privacy.
For plain walls, consider going vertical with your garden. Wall planters are a great way to add interest and greenery and draw the eye up and around your garden. Selecting a few climbers will also add height and if they are flowering, will create a burst of colour as well.
Step 4 – Add in some creature comforts
When settling down outdoors, we may miss some of those creature comforts from inside the house. Why not pull a few cushions and throws from indoors to the outside to make your seating areas a little more relaxing and give you something to curl into when the temperature falls a bit? You can also consider purchasing cushions especially made for use outdoors which won’t fade in sunlight and which can withstand a bit of a rain shower. Just be sure to bring everything back in if thunderclouds arrive and store outdoor cushions away in winter.