The arrival of warmer weather, along with its clear skies and vibrant blooms, summons not just gardeners but all homeowners to design and create an outdoor space where they can entertain guests and enjoy the garden. However, the challenge lies in merging style and function, so the elements that usually bring us comfort inside can do the same outside.
Breathing indoor inspiration across your outdoor space not only makes it more visually appealing, but it generates an extension of your home so that no matter where you are, you’re in complete relaxation as if you were snug on the couch in your living room. From cozy pillows to fashionable rugs, lively artwork, and chic furniture, you’ll find a few simple outdoor additions that can boast enough elegance and sophistication to elevate your place to be the neighborhood’s go-to summer hot spot.
Read on below to find out our top tips for transforming your outdoor space into one that could rival any living - or dining room!
Creating garden rooms
Garden rooms add an element of whimsy and wonder to your landscape, no matter how big or small it is. You can design and create diverse sections for different uses and divide them from each other with features such as box hedging or screening, but ultimately it comes down to personal style and your resources.
Aesthetically, garden rooms make your outdoor space look more attractive and organized but also more spacious. Without rooms, the eyes take in the entire area in one glance, creating a sense of clutter. However, when the view is obstructed, your viewpoint becomes more focused, and the garden is observed in smaller portions, appreciating each area for what it offers. Creating segmented areas also allows you to experiment with different color schemes and styles. For example, you can create a tropical room within a relaxed, pastel cottage garden with no risk of having the flora or features compete.
In a practical sense, garden rooms allow you to create areas for different purposes, such as dining, relaxing, growing produce, or entertaining the kids. One approach is to view your garden like a house. Consider how you spend your time inside and how you’d like to transfer those feelings and atmosphere to your outside space.
Consider whether you’ll be hardscaping, mulching, or using grass or AstroTurf? What structures will you form within the room? Features like pergolas, birdbaths, fire pits, or water features might need to be installed before adding flora. How about other focal points such as ornaments, sculptures, or other outdoor artworks? Will you require electrical access for lighting and sound systems?
The options are limitless, but once the what and the where have been decided, you can put your creative hat on!
Make it your outdoor escape
The most important thing to remember when undertaking a project like this is that you can copy almost every item you’ve used to style and decorate your indoor setting with the proper setup.
Simply add an assortment of cozy cushions or brightly colored pillows, snug blankets, and lanterns to your backyard area to create a dreamy vibe. Don’t be afraid to throw in some lustrous, large-leafed plants and hanging pots as ‘green’ elements, while dangling chimes and beads will only add to the calming nature of your new outdoor haven.
Not only will your outdoor area encourage relaxation, but it’s also a great way to appreciate nature, listen to the wildlife around you, and get some sun. You might want to make a conscious effort to leave the screens inside and reserve the spot for reading or good old-fashioned family time. Drawing inspiration from your own indoor space ensures consistency across your property and offers multiple chill zones for your family and friends to enjoy.
Find your flair for furniture
A vibrant garden is all about memorable moments with those close to you and engaging with nature. Alfresco dining strikes a perfect balance between the two.
When picking a dining set for your garden, opt for an expansive rectangular table if you have a large space and frequently host big groups. With a smaller area, go for a round table as everyone can sit close together, encouraging group conversation. Sticking with the theme of smaller spaces, you might want to consider borders between your furniture and garden beds, as subtly blending the two can appear more visually appealing and make the backyard look even more spacious.
If you don’t mind a drink or two and love the atmosphere created by your local bar, then don’t be afraid to set up your own (trust us, you’ll be the hit of the town!) To build a space ideal for socializing and partying, consider adding sophisticated aluminum or wrought iron tables and bar stools.
The benefit of using aluminum or wrought iron is that it’s simple to clean, handle, build with, and dismantle when moving around the garden or storing away during the wet season. It can also endure volatile temperature changes and won’t rust or fray.
Sofas and sun loungers
Sofa corners are perfect for stretching out, relaxing, and having a snooze. They add character, classiness and provide more seating, allowing the family to relax in tandem; a true testament to bringing the inside out! However, they’re most suitable if you’ve got some cover to shield yourself from the rain. But why stop there? Throw in a rug and coffee table, and you’ve practically added an extra living room!
If you’re more interested in unwinding, working on your tan, and adding the vacation feeling to your garden, you might consider including a couple of sun loungers in your outdoor space. When looking for the right match, choose models that are durable, stain-resistant, portable, and easy to store.
Complete the resort look by adding a footstool and low-standing table (similar in size to a nightstand). By opting for easily portable furniture, you’ll be able to move your sun loungers and additional pieces along with the sun’s cycle and enjoy its warmth all day long.
Sparkle with solar
You can’t beat sitting outside in the garden on a clear summer evening. However, unlike our lounge rooms and bedrooms, which are usually set up with ceiling lights, lamps, and candles, our gardens can appear a little dim or totally dark once the sun goes down. The addition of carefully placed solar lights can liven up your outdoor space after sunset, creating a tranquil yet exciting atmosphere that prolongs dinner parties, spa nights, and any form of outdoor entertaining. Arranged correctly, solar lights can showcase ornamental trees, garden beds, plants, or unique features, turn patios into well-lit rooms, or illuminate dark walkways and borders to make it safe and easy to move around. Did we mention there are no wires or inflated electricity bills to worry about either?!
Light up a wall or fence
If you haven’t got access to an electrical power point outside, solar lights are a great alternative as they’re eye-catching, versatile, and rely only on sunlight. For covering walls, fences, screens, and other large flat surfaces with glowing glamor, choose wall lights or mounted spotlights instead.
Light up a path or walkway
It’s essential to illuminate any turns in your paths and walkways, particularly steps so that your friends and family can move around the garden safely. These lights also allow you to showcase your garden beds and the variety of flora you’re growing. These lights can be placed right up against your pathways or stairs so that the light washes over the ground, or you can set them a little further back to create dim pools of light. Try heading to your local hardware or outdoor goods store and find adequate path or ground lights. Just make sure you’ve angled them correctly to avoid a harsh glare.
If you’re lighting a balcony or terrace that’s attached to the house, opt for sprawling lights that cover more ground. Lighting features such as long tables, railings, or the ceiling of your pergola cast an intimate glow across your entertaining area.
Fairy lights and bulb string lights are the most versatile options. Wound around trees or ledges or stretched across the top of your fencing; they’re the missing link between warm summer nights and backyard festivities!