Whether your outdoor area consists of a small balcony or a large yard, now is the time to prepare it for warmer temperatures. James Treble, qualified interior designer and instructor with Renovating for Profit, shares his tips for making your outside space look the best it can be – ready for all those barbecues you have lined up!
Add pots of style
Pots are the perfect way to add greenery and colour to paved outdoor spaces and balconies. Large pots look best when layered in groups with smaller ones, creating interesting layers. For very small areas, plants in pots can sit on shelves, tables or securely attach to handrails. There are also many cost-effective vertical garden systems, which you’ll be able to find in a local nursery or hardware store.
Choose the right mix of furniture.
It’s important you choose furniture that fits the scale of your outdoor area, and takes into account the number of people you’ll be regularly accommodating. You can more easily add extra guests to a round table than to a square one, however a rectangular table will pair well with a bench. Armchairs, long chairs and benches can be added to create separate seating and relaxing areas, but don’t overcrowd the space.
Select your plants wisely
The size of your outdoor area will dictate the size of your plants. Be careful to choose the right kind of tree, as roots can damage the surrounding area and maybe even the foundations of your home. Native trees are generally bullet-proof in our climate and can survive very dry times. A deciduous plant, however, provides the dual benefit of shading you from the strong sun and heat in summer, and allowing warmth through when the leaves fall in winter.
Make sure you have shade
On hot days you’ll want to go outdoors to sit in the shade and enjoy the breeze. Perfect for a relaxing snooze, reading a book or sipping a drink with riends, the canopy of a large tree will offer shade and that uplifting contact with nature. Umbrellas, sails and cane canopies are all shade options to consider.
Can you add a water feature or bird bath? This helps with cooling down the area, and the soothing sound of water adds another relaxing element to your outdoor experience. It also attracts birds. Scatter around colourful cushions, add lighting and candles. If it’s truly to be an ‘outdoor room’ then you need to make it as inviting as possible!