- Get Your Hands Dirty First
First things first. Before you can create your outdoor Zen, you need to be prepared to put in a little dirty work first. As with any garden spruce up, the annual clean-up jobs need to be done and dusted beforehand.
A few of the key chores you will need to undertake are:
- De-weeding your grass, border and patio.
- Cleaning your patio with a strong cleaning fluid and scrubbing brush, or power jet cleaner if you have one.
- Ensuring your lawn is in tip top condition with added grass seed and lawn fertiliser.
- Digging over your borders and cutting back any overgrown shrubs.
- Planting any newly purchased shrubs or evergreens.
- Zone your Space
As you would indoors, do not treat your outdoors as one big open space but rather a selection of outdoor areas to define and add definition to. Plan garden zones according to what you like to do in the garden. If you are a sun worshipper, different spaces can be created to make the most of the sunshine as it travels around the garden during the day. If the sun shines on the bottom of your garden first thing for example, a small decked area with a carefully placed wooden bench with comfy padded cushions can be the perfect spot for that first cuppa of the day.
A stone patio outside your double doors with a brick barbeque is perfect for late afternoon alfresco dining of course. Build in a touch of privacy with some well-chosen evergreen shrubs to shield your neighbour’s view. A pretty wooden pergola can also add interest and dimension to your garden and can be used to grow beautiful climber plants.
- Create a comfortable and attractive outside entertainment area
With so much choice in garden furniture available to homeowners now, you can create an outdoor entertaining space that really wows – even on a relatively tight budget. When creating this outdoor space, keep three key elements in mind. Comfort, colour and light.
Choosing garden furniture that is comfy as well as looks great, will be the key to really getting the full use of your outdoor space not only this summer, but for years to come. Comfy furniture doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. If you have the budget to blow, then by all means, purchase a fabulous corner sofa with all the works. If, like most of us, you are working to a tighter purse string, there are some fab rattan furniture ranges now available to purchase with padded seat cushions.
- Colour Sensations
Add a pop of colour to seating arrangements with colourful outdoor cushions in zany patterns. Instead of boring brown or black, match the colour of your sun umbrella to your cushions to create a sense of fun to your outdoor space. A couple of outdoor candles add both scent and colour to your table and outdoor plastic tableware and glasses now come in a fab range of outdoor zesty primary colours too.
Spritz up your border fencing and trellis with a new lick of outdoor paint. You can now purchase a fabulous array of outdoor fence paints to bring an instant injection of life into your outdoor space. From Forget-me-Not purple to Cornflower blue, corner sheds and outdoor woodwork can benefit from an injection of colour straight from the tin. Alternatively, why not choose black? Paint your woodwork and masonery in black and provide a fabulous contemporary and modern backdrop for your plants and flowers; allowing your flora and fauna to stand out from the crowds.
- Light The Way
Light is an essential element to consider when planning both your outdoor entertaining space and your garden as a whole. As the sun goes down and dusk settles, you will need a good selection of outdoor lighting to allow you to carry on entertaining into the night and create that all important ambience.
Solar lighting can work well; particularly if you have a south facing garden that enjoys a lot of sunshine. As well as solar ground lights, you can now opt for a pretty selection of solar string lights – fairy lights or funky bulbs – to string from tree to tree and create a sense of romance.
Of course, an outdoor security light is an important addition to deter unwanted burglars and some have the added advantage that they can be switched to permanent mode for those times when a little added outdoor lighting is required.
- Add Multi-functional Garden Elements to create interest
Carefully selected garden items can be used as excellent focal points to draw the eye and add interest to the garden. Certain elements such as water features whilst creating a sense of calm, are also useful in masking unwanted noise from external sources such as traffic.
- Make Use of Clever Storage Options
If you are short on storage space indoors for all your garden paraphernalia, invest in a smart and discreet outdoor storage space instead. This doesn’t have to be as big as a shed. Large DIY stores now sell flexible plastic storage containers in a variety of dimensions for all your storage needs. When the kids are nicely tucked up in bed, keep the garden tidy and store away unused children’s toys, paddling pools and outdoor games at the end of the day.
Then, of course, it is time to kick back with a glass of wine and some nibbles, switch on your garden lighting and enjoy your beautiful garden with some much welcome YOU time!