Go with the flow
Create a sense of flow from inside to out by choosing furniture and decor for your exterior that complements your interior. Echoing elements from inside the home will bring cohesiveness to your space, making your garden feel like another room.
Light up your life
Approach outdoor illumination in the same way that you would interior lighting. Just as table lamps bring ambience to a living room, lanterns and garden fairy lights will create instant atmosphere after dusk.
Try stringing fairy lights along fencing to create a pretty perimeter or position lanterns along steps or in the branches of trees to add a magical glimmer.
Look out for touches that you would ordinarily expect to see inside the home to take your garden or patio from blah to brilliant. All-weather garden rugs now come in an array of styles, from bold geometric prints to stylish chevrons. Perfect for bringing a pop of pattern to an outdoor space, they will also anchor the setting making it feel much more like another room.
Bring a little zing to your garden by adding a few high voltage hues. Saying goodbye to that all-weather rattan sofa set in muted beige and hello to a splash of neon wicker in hot pink, electric blue or zesty orange will bring instant interest to your exterior, making it feel like much more of a feature space.
In the detail
Finishing touches bring character and polish to any setting and this rule applies as much in the garden as it does inside the house. A selection of oversized candlesticks on your outdoor dining table or some hand-blown glass vases filled with freshly cut blooms will make your space feel groomed and grown-up. Ceramic garden stools are another touch that bring a sense of grandeur to an outdoor space. Choose metallic designs for a touch of glitz or a bold bright hue for a pop of colour.
British weather is notoriously temperamental, so don’t fall foul of the inevitably inclement downpours. Install an awning or parasol where you are planning to dine to ensure that you can enjoy the great outdoors come rain or shine.
Always have a box of blankets to hand, which you and your garden guests can dip into once the sun has set to keep cold shoulders warm.
The perfect setting
If you’re entertaining outside, set your table with the same level of finesse that you’d use when hosting a formal dining room dinner party. A plush tablecloth, your best silverware and elegant stemmed glasses will add instant sophistication to a garden soiree, so don’t scrimp just because your bash is taking place al fresco.
When entertaining outside, consider wheeling your bar cart outside. Beautifully styled with colourful glassware, ice and plenty of refreshments, a trolley will act as a stylish serving station, creating a focal feature within your outdoor space while freeing you up from trips back into the house.
Comfort is king
Make sure that your garden is built for comfort as well as style. Pile on all-weather garden cushions, throws and pouffes aplenty, to create a setting where you and your guests will truly want to lounge. If your garden is big enough, create a chill out zone – a clearly defined space where family and friends can kick-back in style.
If your garden is on the pokey side, create the impression of extra space by investing in a garden mirror. Ideal for adding the illusion of depth, they also create a real sense of bringing the indoors outside. Position your mirror so that it reflects the most aesthetically pleasing aspect of your garden to really add to the al fresco ambience.
If you’ve got the space, consider installing a shed or summer house in your garden, which you can use to stow all your indoor-outdoor-wear. Having everything readily to hand will make you far more inclined to make use of your ‘extra room’ and you can even style the space as your own al fresco retreat.