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Garden Patio Ideas

Thinking of sprucing up the patio for summer?

Need some ideas and advice for giving the outside of your home a makeover?

Want to know the latest trends for your outdoor spaces?

Whether you have a small patio or a large space, it’s time to think about giving your outdoor space some love. Need some tips on how to spruce up that patio and give your garden a maekeover?

Read on…

Gorgeous garden setting with outdoor rug piled with cushions in greens and kilim style cushions. There is a picnic on top of rug, a tray with wine and olives on a stool and a directors chair.
Weaver Green has a fabulous range of outdoor cushions and rugs.

Hopefully when you read this, the sun will be out and the sky WILL be blue. I can’t wait to enjoy a glass of wine in the garden watching the sun go down or to be chatting with friends late in to the night around the glowing embers of a fire pit. There really is nothing nicer than a warm summers evening spent outside and this year, I’m sure we are all going to be getting social outside. To do that, you may want to consider ways to give your patio area, garden or even your roof terrace a makeover. No matter how big or small your garden may be, there’s not reason not to give it a bit of tic, just as you do inside. Outdoor spaces are now viewed as part of the house and you can buy furniture, accessories and even artwork to add some style and make them super comfortable. 

First things first though

Patio makeover starts here

Get that jet wash out, or go old school with a stiff broom and a bucket of water and get cleaning. Clear away a winter’s worth of dust, dirt and muck – not to mention half the Sahara desert (if you live in Essex as I do you’ll know what I mean!) Pick a dry day and really give everything a good hose down. Remove any loose cushions and give all of your furniture a good clean and leave to dry thoroughly. If you have cushions that have seen better days, contact your local soft furnishings specialist and have a chat about getting them re-covered.

There are some amazing outdoor fabrics available nowadays in every colour and pattern you can imagine, so you can really add interest to your outdoor sofa or patio chairs. Some of my favourites to look out for are those from Andrew Martin, its Glacier range is stunning. Romo do a wide range – I chose its Nicoya range for my own cushions recently.

Andrew Martin Glacier fabrics

Garden Furniture

If it’s new furniture you need, the world is your oyster. But choose carefully and think about how you live – honestly! How diligent are you at covering and putting away furniture? If you’re anything like me you’ll say you’ll get the furniture covered and cushions put away at night, and then the heavens open late one summers evening and you remember you didn’t. Anyone else kicked their other half out of bed just because you’ve not brought the new cushions in and you hear it’s going to pour down?!

Consider where your furniture is to be sited (think about your feathered friends), and its size and shape – obviously it needs to fit the space, so measure and measure again. Consider the style and age of your house – an older property would suit rattan and wood whereas aluminium and colourful Upvc works better in a more modern property. Although outside you can mix things up and go for contrast.

The material you choose is all important and there is a wide variety of wood, rattan and metals to be found. Again, think about how you are going to maintain it before buying. If you are fastidious about upkeep and would treat wood annually, then opt for a beautiful teak set that will last years. If you’re a little slapdash and leave your furniture out uncovered, a synthetic resin is best as it can be pretty much ignored all summer. Wrought iron will obviously stand the test of time but is heavy, so not ideal if you move your furniture around to accommodate guests and so on.

To keep your carbon footprint down, why not have a look around your local antique centre, or check the Facebook ads for someone selling their old garden furniture. You’ll be amazed at what some people no longer need and you can always update with a lick of paint or a coat of varnish/wax. 

Also, watch out for the likes of Lifestyle Garden, a company that’s ticking all the boxes for me – producing outdoor furniture that is made from ethically recovered plastic whilst not only helps fight ocean pollution, but also improves the lives of those who collect it. Each of its Nassau chairs are made from the equivalent of 175 recycled plastic bottles!!

I discovered a new range at Clerkenwell Design Week recently called Cane Line that I managed to get a snap of (see below). Really lovely colours and the finish was beautiful. I had my eye on the green chairs!

Cushions for your garden furniture

Ok, get ready for every non interiors fan in your home to groan.. .

As with most rooms in the house, cushions are THE way to add colour and pattern to your outside space. Weaver Green are top of my list when looking for outdoor ‘soft furnishings’ mainly due to the how they produce their products – they are made from some of the millions of discarded plastic bottles and look and feel like wool. But most interiors stores and garden centres now have a wide stock of brightly coloured and patterned offerings so just pick what speaks to you and enjoy. 

If you have a lovely grassy area in your garden, why not throw down a blanket and pile on lots of cushions and create a cosy picnic area. Leaving some of the grass longer is the way forward it seems and can give your garden a whole new feel. Beanbags are also perfect for relaxing in the garden too and the likes of Bean Bag Bazaar have a great selection of styles, colours and price range.

A selection of blue and grey and white outdoor cushions sat on outdoor rug
All made from recycled plastic bottles!

Decorate your patio      

Now your furniture is sorted, the seats are re-covered or cleaned, it’s time to think about a little ‘zhuzing’ (if you don’t know what zhuzing is where have you been, luckily I have a blog for you!) .

You can’t have failed to miss the trend for outdoor rugs. They are great way to zone a seating area on a large patio and they can really add a touch of elegance to the space. It also does keep things a bit cleaner oddly. There are many companies now offering what are called indoor/outdoor rugs including Kukoon Rugs who have an amazing selection from just £15.95. Again most garden centres and large stores are now offering this kind of thing as standard so keep an eye out. Or, do what I’ve done and keep an old rug on standby for this type of thing – it’s one that was the wrong style and colour for a newly decorated room, so I’ll whip it out when we have guests over next. Doesn’t matter if it gets the odd spillage and I can roll it up and put it away again when done.

The Rug Retailer has a fab selection of outdoor rugs

Have you thought about how you’re going to keep warm? Let’s not pretend we’re living in the Med, we do have to allow for chilly evenings. Now you could of course, let your bbq do the talking here but there is now such a wide selection of other options available, why wouldn’t you have a look?

A fire pit or fire stove of some sort is perfect for keeping the summer chill at bay and can add a focal point to a seating area outside. The choice is endless. Copper bowls, brick built, wood burning grills, fire pit tables, chimeneas, even outdoor fireplaces. Whichever you choose, be sure to think about safety – keep water close to hand and children far away.

Firepits Uk

If I suggested some artwork for the garden you’d think I was getting all ‘interior designery’ on you right? Well, there’s some truth in that. But, I have recently come across some ‘masterpieces’ that I would actually consider for my garden. Yes, actual art that is MEANT to be hung outdoors. It has been specially treated so that it can withstand the elements and I think hanging art outside could really be a a thing. Nothing too serious mind, I’d keep on the lighter side of life and go for something a little different to indoors maybe.

Take a look at a company called Yard Art as they have the most amazing selection of art you can hang in your garden. All created by real artists, digitally printed with UV protected, weatherproof, colourfast inks they can be hung anywhere outside. I can’t wait to hang my first piece! They are also a small local company nearby to my studio in Essex and you know how I love to support local.

Artwork for the garden – why not?

Outdoor Lighting

Don’t forget about your lighting outside too. It really can make a huge difference to how you use the garden. You need to think about functional lights – so make sure that you light up paths, dark spots and entry ways etc. But also think about mood lighting in the garden.

Use spike lights in beds, light up large trees or plants, add some lights to expanses of wall. Just remember keep your lights shining in your garden and avoid lighting the sky – that’s the job of the stars! String fairy lights or lines of lanterns to add some twinkly mood lighting, or look at the rechargeable options available. Pooky has some very stylish rechargeable lamps that can be brought outdoors when needed and can be sat on tables to add light where needed. And, of course, there are a multitude of solar powered options.

Plants

Lastly, don’t forget about the real stars of the garden. The plants. Everyone has some old terracotta pots hanging around somewhere – if you don’t, most second hand shops will have some. I adore the look of aged terracotta pots planted with bright red geraniums. Or why not paint old pots in bright colours and plant them with anything colourful. No pots? No problem! Old crates, teapots, tin cans, wheelbarrows and even old butler sinks can hold plants and add real character and fun to the your outdoor space.

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