I don’t quite know what this hormonal weather is doing at the moment, but I want it to get its act together and get warmer! While I’ve put the heating back on and pulled out my winter coat that I had prematurely put away, I’m dreaming of relaxing in the sunshine on my balcony – opening the French doors wide open (without having to put a blanket around my shoulders) with a good book and coffee in hand. Come on summer, it’s nearly time.
It’s also time to give your outside space a bit of TLC so its prepped and ready for summer.
While I love my sunny balcony, I have always dreamed of a garden of my own (from previous posts you might know that I’m moving house and top of the checklist is a garden!). I’ve been daydreaming about what it might look like and how I would create a relaxed space to entertain and un-wind. So, with a little help from Cox & Cox, I wanted to share some ideas on how to create that perfect outdoor space – an outside living room if you will – somewhere that is comfortable and stylish, and where you can feel connected to nature.
First up, is to treat it no differently to the inside of your home. Give it the same care and attention, and you’re more likely to create a space that you actually want to spend time in, even if it’s a bit overcast. Plan the space carefully, clearly defining intimate areas for eating and entertaining, lounging and gardening. You can do this with different floor materials, for example decking, as above, for a dining table, then low-maintenance gravel or grass elsewhere, if space permits. In smaller spaces you could also use tall plant boxes or climbing plants for a bit of privacy.
Think about how you’re going to use a space and choose outdoor furniture accordingly. If you get it right, you can end up spending half your summer in the garden instead of indoors, so comfort and function are key when it comes to buying outdoor furniture. If you’re going to spend most of your time entertaining and are a dab hand at the barbecue, maybe something like this large chunky, grey dining table above (£675.00) is a good bet, with garden benches (£275.00 each) so there’s space for everyone around the table. If you’re more of a solitary soul who likes to relax and recline, maybe this French-inspired, striped double cushion (below, £150.00) is a better option.
Get those green fingers out and make a commitment to take care of plants. So often I buy plants at the beginning of summer, only to forget to water them and leave them to wilt. A beautiful garden needs upkeep, you can’t expect it to maintain itself. If you’re after something low maintenance, pave areas and decorate with plant pots and varieties such as lavender and herbs like rosemary that need less up-keep. This handy plant stand (£80.00) is perfect for displaying plants in small spaces and you can always bring it inside once the weather starts turning.
Remember the details! It’s always the little things that make a space extra special, and an outside space is no different. String up some lights to make the most of your outdoors even when the sun goes down. Make a hard bench inviting with a comfy cushion, or have a blanket at the ready for when the evenings become just a little bit too chilly.
Get creative. While a lovely grey bench like above can be a real classic, an outside space is somewhere where you can be a bit braver, whether it’s with colour, styles or shapes. (Almost) anything goes. Now I’m not saying these slightly Scandi chairs (£125.00), below, are totally out there crazy, but you know me, I’m not one for crazy… But, a beautiful sculptural shape can look a lot more modern than a more traditional table and two chairs set if you get what I mean. These are great because they can work inside as well.
For me, those are the key ingredients to a beautiful outdoor space, but what do you think? How do you make your outdoor space inviting?
This post was written in collaboration with Cox & Cox, all images courtesy Cox & Cox.