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Picture this: the weather forecast has delivered on its promise of a heatwave, the sun is shining, and an extra-long weekend of frolicking is stretched out in front of you. You’ve got friends coming over shortly for dinner al fresco, but first there are a few hours of sunbathing to attend to. Refreshing drink in hand, magazine in the other, you sit back and relax…
Is there a better bank holiday scenario? As we near Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the celebratory four-day weekend in June, hopes are sky-high for sunshine. Whatever the weather, a garden primed and ready for every eventuality will help you make the most of the four days off. If you’re entertaining friends and family, or simply looking forward to a few days of uninterrupted relaxation, get your outdoor space ready with these decorating tips and tricks.
Your outdoor space is an extension of your home, so its design should be given the same thought and attention as any other room. While the warmer months often see us taking interiors inspiration from the outside world, for your garden we’d advise doing the opposite. Start by thinking about the pieces that make your life most comfortable and look for outdoor-friendly alternatives. An ottoman or trunk, for example, can act as both a handy storage solution and a surface on which to balance a tray of drinks, while a comfortable sofa and armchair is a must. Coffee tables and side tables will only add to the homely aesthetic, and can also be useful tools for dividing larger outdoor spaces – if you’ve got lots of room to play with, consider dedicating one area to dining, for example, and another to relaxing. This will make your space feel more in line with the rest of your home, with separate “rooms” for different activities.
While we’ve got our fingers crossed for a sun-filled bank holiday, British summers never fail to surprise (and yet somehow be utterly predictable). All-weather accessories provide an easy way to decorate your garden without the worry of sudden downpours. Outdoor cushions, such as our showerproof Huaca and Contorno designs, will provide colour and comfort come rain or shine. Consider dedicating a couple of throws to outdoor use, too; while you won’t be able to keep them outside all the time, they will come in handy on cooler evenings when the sun sets, or as makeshift blankets for at-home picnics.
In the rare event that Britain really sizzles, you’ll want to seek some shade (and some Factor 50). The perfect garden accessories for seriously hot days, our Hanway Garden Parasol and matching table-cum-base will keep you and your drinks cool as the temperature rises.
What’s a garden without some foliage? Whether your outdoor area is decked, paved or short on space, there’s always room for a little greenery – and pots and planters also offer an opportunity to add some character. Group planters of different sizes together for a display that will feel considered, or balance flower pots on a windowsill for an eye-catching row of colour. If you’re not blessed with green fingers, you could use your plant pots as garden ornaments instead – try filling larger designs with stones or dried Pampas grass, for example, and use smaller styles to decorate an outdoor dining table. Add an arrangement of your favourite faux flowers for a hassle-free display that can be enjoyed both indoors and out.
When the sun sets, there’s no need to retreat inside; garden lights allow you to make the most of warmer evenings, and, if done right, can give your outdoor space a romantic feel. While specialist outdoor fixtures can provide a more practical type of light, for moments that call for ambience, don’t underestimate the power of a candle. Add tea lights, pillar candles or LED alternatives to garden lanterns for a soft shine; they look great arranged on patio steps or in the corners of a dining area. Fairy lights strung on trees or along the edge of a gazebo will further add to the ambience – all that’s missing is a group of friends and a cocktail with which to raise a toast.