Creating a cosy outdoor living space
O U T D O O R L I V I N G
How to create a cosy outdoor living space, with tips from garden designer Lisa Cox
In the interior world, we often talk about bringing the outside in, but to make the most of your garden in the summer months, you need to think a little differently. We've created a guide on how bringing your interiors outside can create an amazing outdoor living space this summer.
As a living area, our gardens can easily be overlooked with the extent of most home owners garden furniture being a few deck chairs. However, garden designer, Lisa Cox wants to teach people the benefits of utilising their space correctly.
"Most people don't put the same value on their garden as they do on their house. This is crazy as its normally at least the size of the whole footprint of the house."
"I think of the garden as an extra room which provides space for the whole family and connects your home with the surrounding landscape. If it's designed specifically for the owner and fits their lifestyle, they'll spend as much time as they can outside. A well-designed garden really does have the power to make you love your home!"
Picking your furniture
Choosing the right furniture comes down to individual style, taste budget and also practicalities. Think about how many people you want to seat and what your furniture's purpose is.
"If you want to eat outside then the rule of thumb is to allow one and a half metres of clearance around the table to make it comfortable to navigate around when people are sitting there."
"Over recent years its become more common to bi-folding doors, so you may already be dining alfresco from the inside. In this case, why not think about lounge furniture for your terrace, giving a more relaxed feel?"
With garden furniture having to withstand the elements, investing in the highest quality pieces you can afford is advisable and remember that they will need up keeping.
"If you like the look of timber, you need to be aware that it will go silver if you don't oil it regularly. In my opinion, furniture should ne left out all year round - it often acts as a focal point, drawing you out into the garden. Who wants to look at a tarpaulin cover when they look out of the window?"
Adding the finishing touches
Creating a cosy environment comes down to the structure and plan of the garden, but it can certainly be enhanced with the plants you choose and also the furnishings and finishing touches.
Lifestyle blogger Jenny Taylor from Let's Talk Mommy uses interior touches to create an outdoor living space which reflects her style and personality.
"From cushions, to blankets and even outdoor rugs, you would be surprised how many home accessories you can find around your home that are perfect for outside.
I love sitting outside on our patio surrounded by our lovely things from inside. It's more inviting and comfortable in your garden when you put your personal touches on it.
I even use indoor mirrors for outside during the summer time because it makes your space look bigger. There is nothing more lovely than seeing your flowers reflecting in a large mirror on the side of the fence or the wall of your house. You just have to take a moment to look around your house and envision a place for your accessories outside."
It may seem like an unusual concept but soft furnishings should be used outside as they would be indoors. The addition of throws and rugs will create a cosy environment you will want to enjoy all summer!
An outdoor rug in a lounge/dining area of your garden is a great way to create a warm feel underfoot while segregating that space for its particular function. There are also ranges of cushions, like our rugs, which have been specifically designed to endure the elements.
Garden lighting is a great way to help create different moods within a space and also serves the practical purpose of letting you stay outside later.
Lisa advises that "up-lighting trees plants or special features can really help to keep the connection between inside and out."
"Fire pits are really popular now and some are available which burn bioethanol. They don't give off heat and are fume-free. Sometimes it's about creating the cosy atmosphere, rather than needing the heat of the fire."
A living space on any scale
Whether you have a small concrete yard or a large green expanse, any space can be transformed into a little piece of paradise.
Designing a smaller space can often seem much more difficult because every square inch counts. However, with some tips from Lisa, even the smallest space can become a living area.
"Planning is key in small spaces because you need to think about every detail upfront. Even the placing of pots and ornaments should be planned; otherwise they'll just feel like clutter.
Using clever storage is a really good way of maximising the floor space so , for example, a built in bench seat can double up as storage space and helps to keep space for the seating area to a minimum."
With a larger area it's important to work out which area of the garden would work best for your needs, when placing a living space. Think about where the sun will hit, where is sheltered from the wind and which area gives you privacy fro any neighbours prying eyes.
No matter your budget or space, you can create an area in which to appreciate the outdoors. We would love to here how you're making the most of your space this summer? Show us your own garden spaces @Modernrugsuk on Twitter!