Making the most of outdoor space
When working with a small space, it’s key to ensure that larger items have multiple purposes, storage bench seating is a great example of this. You can use a side table which doubles up as a stool for extra seating or the addition of large throw pillows which can be used as floor cushions. Foldable chairs are a great option for small spaces as they can be stored away without taking up too much space.
Even with a limited amount of space, you can still create a beautiful, vibrant outdoor garden. A great space saving idea is to create a living wall to house your plants and shrubs, which you can build by using recycled industrial materials such as pallet boards. Old shutters secured against a wall with the slots filled with hearty plants like succulents and mosses would also work well. Building your own living wall not only saves you money, but you also have the chance to create an individualised look by choosing your own selection of plants, herbs and climbers.
Is privacy and shade something you are craving from your garden or balcony? If so, a great trick is to add outdoor curtain panels which also help to create the feel of an outside living room. If you don’t have an overhead option to attach curtain poles, you can build a simple wooden frame to hang them on. The beauty of designing an outside space is having the freedom to be as bright and bold as your heart desires which can often be limited when working with a small space inside your home. Another great way to create privacy and shade is to use fast growing, tall plants such as bamboo. People are often reluctant to incorporate bamboo into their gardens out of fear that it will become invasive. Clumping bamboo has a non-invasive root structure and can grow up to 10 feet in one year which is a natural way of blocking out those nosey neighbours.
If colour is what you are lacking from your outside space, then outdoor rugs are the perfect one stop solution for this. As well as adding vibrancy and pizazz it can also define a perimeter of space which is a great way of breaking up specific areas but do make sure you choose a rug which is designed for the outdoors, so it can endure the ever-changing British weather.
For those lucky enough to have a larger outdoor space with ample room for quirky add-ons then why not incorporate a garden bar or kitchen area? Adding a bar is a great way to make your outdoor living more fun and entertaining. After a long day at work, what's better than to unwind in the comfort of your own alfresco bar or entertaining guests in the sunshine on the weekends. By creating your own bar, you can design a look which is unique to you and your needs. Don't let cost put you off building though, bars can be created using old wooden pallets, barrels, odd wooden off-cuts or even a combination of different materials that you have stockpiled in the shed or picked up from the recycling plant. Repurpose an old bookshelf, chest of drawers or other household items by upcycling them in a bespoke and individual way. To add the finishing touches whilst upping your hosting game bring in bright placemats, ceramic plates, metal cutlery and a statement pitcher which creates a luxury aesthetic and is perfect for cocktail time!
When creating your outside space don’t forget lighting. Outdoor lighting adds charm and instantly creates a welcoming environment. String lights are timeless and help define seating and dining areas. There is nothing like the magic of conversation under the lights on a warm summers night. If you have the space, why not incorporate an outdoor fireplace? The added warmth and light means that summer nights can roll into autumn - weather providing. It adds a sophisticated look to your garden as well as relaxing where you can bask in the glow of the dancing flames of the fire.
There is nothing better than indulging in the great outdoors when the weather is warm however putting together the perfect space that is stylish, comfortable and creative can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Take inspiration from other people's creations on social media sites such as Pinterest which has an abundance of upcycled and repurposed DIY projects which are enough to inspire even the least creative of us. Try to look at old furniture and materials as more than just what they are, what may have spent its life as a TV unit may have an entirely different purpose hiding behind the scenes given a splash of creativity and innovative redesign.
Not everyone is willing or has the time to create their own furniture and fittings so thankfully we are blessed with an array of garden centres and home décor stores which are bursting at the seams with everything you need to create your perfect outside space.