Turn your outside space into a gorgeous hub for family and friends
With spring on its way and new rules meaning we can soon meet friends and family outside, our gardens and outside spaces can be the hub for our social gatherings – whether you have a small courtyard or a wide open space. The essential factors are the same: comfy and inviting seating, atmospheric lighting and somewhere to perch food and drink. Go all out with a luxury outside lounge, or pimp up a courtyard with a lick of paint on the walls, floor cushions and an outside rug.
GIMME SHELTER Our British weather is hardly predictable so make your garden usable come rain or shine. Throw up a gazebo for outdoor dining. Or if you have the room, invest in a more permanent structure such as a stylish wooden canopy or even a pod.
FIRE STARTER When the evenings turn chilly, curl up in front of a chimnea, firepit or patio heater. Check out the eco credentials for each as some are worse for the environment than others. The most eco friendly option is, of course, a blanket – they can also look fab draped over each chair in tonal colours.
A NIGHT AT THE CINEMA For balmy summer nights (we’re hoping), recreate an outdoor cinema. Paint a wall for your backdrop or throw up a white sheet, source a projector (the higher the number of lumens the better the picture in bright light) and space out some bean bags on to outdoor rugs. You could also paint a couple of pallets for your table. Add a Bluetooth speaker or headphones so you won’t disturb the neighbours.
CHEFFY SOLUTIONS Eating outdoors has become so much more sophisticated and there are some stunning options, from counter-top ‘islands’ where your guests can chat while you prep to the full-on kitchen, complete with fridge and ovens. Ensure you’re close enough to the eating area so you can serve easily but somewhat sheltered on a breezy day so your guests aren’t being pummelled with smoke. A herb garden trailing from a nearby wall looks pretty and is useful, too.
LOUNGE STYLE Creating a seating area is, of course, essential. But if you don’t have room for a dining table and chairs and a sofa area, consider what you will use the most. If you’re going for a dining area only, make the chairs as comfy as possible.
TABLE SETTING Create ambience with your table. A beautiful linen tablecloth with a vase of hydrangeas gives a vintage vibe. A parasol will help to shelter guests from glaring sun, and in the evening you can trail fairy lights around the spokes.
CHAPLINS Fenc E Nature Outdoor Sofa, Armchair and Coffee Table by Cassina
Outdoor Kitchen by Garden House Design
Outdoor cinema. Cuprinol Garden Shades, 2.5L, £29.76, www.cuprinol.co.uk
Colours: Wild Thyme, Fresh Rosemary and Dusky Gem, Lavender
Charlton Island: Firebowl & Oval Console Cement
Solus Decor: Elevated Halo 36″ Gas Fire Pit