Living In… Living Out… this Bank Holiday Weekend.
August is coming to an end and the last days of the summer holidays are to be savoured as, sadly (sorry folks!), they will be over in a flash. If you have not yet made the most of your garden, get your notebook out and make a start now so this Bank Holiday will be one to remember!
Have you made your plans for the weekend? Are you going to grab a few days away catching some guaranteed sunshine, walk over hills and dales, spend precious time with friends and family, or with your feet up, in the peace and tranquillity of your own garden? If your plan is to stay at home, either with friends or a good book, here are some ideas to make your garden into the ‘place to be’ and, even if you don’t get it all done this year, you will have made a start for next summer…
Wander around your garden or outside space and find the place which feels most comfortable. Perhaps it has a hedge or a fence to protect it from a cool breeze; it might be in full sun or beneath a tree for dappled shade. Wherever you find yourself, is this a good place to sit with friends or relax with the Sunday papers and a mug of coffee?
Having chosen your ideal spot you will want to ensure it maximises its purpose. Some basic things to consider include:
- Make sure the seating compliments your intended use of the area. For example, if you plan to entertain, can everyone see and talk to each other with ease? Arrange the space as if it was indoors. Is there a corner which could be filled with a plant, a lamp or a sculpture. Would you prefer wooden or metal chairs around the table, do these match the table or contrast it? How about long benches for a more informal approach? Overwhelmed already? How about making up a Pinterest folder with ideas or, you could ask a professional to help.
Sitting Spiritually, based in south Dorset, have a range of beautiful designed and crafted garden furniture. With friendly staff on hand, Sitting Spiritually listen carefully and use their skill to create the perfect piece, just as you had imagined. If you like the look of their harmony swing seat below, or want to see more of their work, please browse their website: http://www.sittingspiritually.co.uk/
- Lighting is important and often forgotten as the garden is mainly in use during daylight hours. Make sure you have something romantic set up ready for late evening. Do you want the whole area lit or just around the dining space? Many lanterns and lights are designed for outside use these days so you can focus the light above the table with an overhead lantern or use fairy lights to give a general glow. On the other hand, don’t forget to find the perfect hammock spot, sheltered from bright electric light, for star gazing and watching moon beams…
Solar lights now come in many different shapes and sizes. Though reliant on the sunshine to work, they are easy to set up with no wires to plug in, and don’t cost you anything to run. Some solar lights can also be battery powered, should you want to make sure you can use them whenever you need!
- Sitting around a fire… there is something that hints of ancient times and of telling stories… a fire pit can create a comforting central focus to your outdoor room, as well as be a wonderful source of light and heat! A fire chimney or log burner might be easier to maintain and can be moved to a different spot if necessary; it might be more child-friendly too, keeping those bright and inviting flames well contained and safe from curious fingers. Candles also set the scene and light or enhance specific areas of your outdoor room, just be careful not to place them too close to your warm fire! You can use everyday glass jam jars or hurricane lamps to stop the wind blowing out the flames.
- Flooring. Are you happy with the grass growing under your dining table or would you like to consider somethng more formal, perhaps decking, stone slabs or gravel? There are so many options from which to choose it is worth visiting your local garden centre to see what is available.
- Privacy. We presume you want to be private and unobserved by neighbours and passers-by; here you need to be particularly clever! You could use willow or hazel hurdles. These come in all sorts of sizes and can be made to order by a local hurdle maker or bought from your local garden centre or online. Alternatively bamboo canes with quick growing plants will screen the area in time for next year or you could place large pots planted with dwarf trees or shrubs to fill the gaps.
- How about having an outdoor oven instead of the proverbial BBQ? It could make your outside dining experience so much easier and may well inspire you to create delicious new dishes. It is possible to make your own oven, but who has the time do so properly?! Our solution: The Bespoke Outdoor Kitchen Company! They provide a personalised service to create the space you have been dreaming of, completely hassle free. Find out more here: http://thebespokeoutdoorkitchenco.co.uk They were recently featured on ITV’s ‘Love Your Garden’ with Alan Titchmarsh (26th July, 2017).
- Whilst you may call on professional help with laying a new terrace or installing an outside kitchen, you might like to design and assemble the finishing touches yourself. Altfield London have a lovely range of outdoor fabrics which are specially designed to live outside so you don’t need to store them indoors. View the selection here: http://www.altfield.com/products/outdoor-fabrics/ We particularly like the Brentano material, pictured here.
The end result of all your research and inspiration should be an outdoor space where you can feel relaxed, entertain your friends and, whether it be day or night, you will feel cosy and comfortable without a care in the world – as long as the Pimms keeps coming!
Enjoy your weekend!
with best wishes
Susanne and Annie at Interior Design Exchange