10 tips for making the most of your outdoor space:
1.Firstly you need a place to sit whether it's a formal bistro set or an informal bench and picnic table. Whatever the size of your space, from large garden to courtyard, somewhere to unwind when you get home from work or entertain at the weekend is a must. Give wooden furniture a lick of fresh paint, I love cool and fresh sage green or go bold with many of the colourful outdoor paints available. Spray paints for metal furniture can create some exciting combinations. Don't forget the good old stripy British deckchair too!
|Image source; Bright pink chairs|
2. I love to decorate the patio area with bunting and lanterns for a party atmosphere. I buy big bright pin-wheels for fun, placing them into pots and when we are on holiday I usually look in gift shops for flags and other seaside trinkets to add to my patio collection. Many of these items just last the season, so cheap and cheerful is perfect.
3. Think about lighting for the summer evenings. Tea light holders and lanterns for romantic flickering light and citronella candles will keep the bugs away. My favourite lights are coloured solar powered fairy lights and I string them in trees and bushes around the patio; it looks magical in the evening.
|Image source: Cox and Cox|
5. In summer it's so much fun to go to the garden centre and stock up on tons of lovely plants to make up pots or hanging baskets for outside. I put themed plantings together so a Pimms basket with strawberries and mint or a salad mix in a terracotta pot with different types of lettuce, radishes and tumbling cherry tomatoes.
On the walls bordering my patio I look for quirky pots that I can attach with brackets and my main plant of the season is the geranium with their distinctive look and smell that gives a Mediterranean feel.
6. Prepare for drizzle, it is England after all. Have a patio umbrella and even if there is a summer shower you can sit underneath and listen to the raindrops, my favourite noise. Pitter patter. We also have a chiminea, to throw wood onto and keep us warm and cosy
7. What would summer be without a picnic? Bring out the coloured melamine plates, the checked blanket and lots of tasty picnic treats. The quintessential British barbecue must make an appearance, the smell of charcoal will always remind me of my childhood and burgers slightly burnt around the edges by my dad and a table with a bottle of Cinzano sat on it. It was pretty basic back in the 1980's , standard fodder of sausages on a bun but nowadays it's a more culinary exciting affair, have a look at these barbecue recipe ideas.
8. Keep the children happy with a selection of fun garden games and box of outdoor activities. We love chunky chalk for drawing on the patio or decking with, bubbles and hula hoops. My son loves water play so we have foam and squeeky bottles aplenty.
|garden games: Shutterstock|
9. Use what you already have and upcycle, saving money and creating a unique item. Paint up plastic plant pots to coordinate your colour scheme or create unusual seating made from old pallets. I inherited a dolly tub and that is now used as a seasonal planter.
10. Make your outside space more private using trees in pots as a screen or have climbers twining their way up the supports of pergolas. Extend the height of walls and fences with trellis to grow summer blooms clematis or honeysuckle against. A mini water feature with trickling noise will help disguise against outside noise and bamboos that swish in the wind will help with the feeling of seclusion.
*Blog featured post, words are my own*