Outside Living Space

Storms Ciara and Dennis may have ravaged our gardens, but don’t despair – now is the time to plan for the summer months and consider whether your outdoor space is used to your best advantage.

Let’s face it, we could all do with more living space. Extensions are one solution, but they’re a big, often pricey, project. For a far easier and fabulously effective option, take a look at your space outside. Even a patio has the potential to become a relaxation zone or fun dining space – and if the UK evenings can be a bit chilly, well, that’s what throws and fire pits are for!

A thorough jet wash can rejuvenate the look of most patios and decking, finished off with a good coat of sealant. If your patio has seen better days maybe it’s time to invest in a new one. There are many different types of stone available to suit all budgets and to create the look and finish you desire.

Carry out any fence repairs and replace any wobbly posts. Give a lick of paint to all your outdoor panels and wooden furniture. This is an ideal time to do this while your plants are dormant, so you can painlessly reach your boundary without competing with shrubs and plants in full flower.

After this essential preparation has been done you can survey where the best place would be to place your seating or dining areas. Maybe the addition of a pergola – with or without a wooden canopy – which can provide a nice shady spot and even offer respite from a sudden shower so you can still enjoy being out in the open.

Maybe use an existing wall or fence as a backdrop, and make it more eye-catching by painting it or covering it with planters or climbing plants. Reflect light around your chosen spot with a mirror.

Another way to screen off your outdoor room is by introducing hard landscaping in the form of a trellis or fence, or using careful planting. Traditional climbers can often give a great effect but with less hassle. I recommend star jasmine as a climbing plant that works brilliantly in an outdoor living room. It’s very well behaved, produces masses of white, waxy, scented flowers throughout the summer and reacts well to being cut back, so is ideal for positioning behind a seating area so you can enjoy the scent.

Consider defining areas by adding planters made from sleepers, scaffold boards or made with breeze blocks which are then plastered and painted. Fill with scented herbs and plant up with evergreen scented plants, such as lavender and Choisya (Mexican orange blossom). These can soften and
outline seating or dining areas.

Try a line-up of potted trees to make a focal point. Magnolias, maples and dwarf lilacs are some species that will thrive in a pot.

It’s the details that turn a basic seating area into an outdoor room, so think about the accessories you’d use to update your lounge and apply the same principles here: waterproof cushions, pads for hard seating and throws for warmth. Choose citronella candles to keep bugs at bay, and dot smaller potted plants around the space.

Contact us if you would like us to help you with any landscape garden project. We are available to carry out all aspects of landscaping, paving, fencing or completely redesign your garden. Full details can be found on my website www.pdowning.co.uk

Heritage Landscape Gardens,
19 Claygate Lane, Thames Ditton KT7 0DL
Follow me on Facebook, telephone 020 8398 0100 / 07957 355040
Email: paul@pdowning.co.uk

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