If you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space, be it a small back yard or a lovely large garden, you’ll probably want to feel sure that you’re making the most of it. To create the perfect outdoor living space for yourself and your family, here are some tips to try:
The first thing to do is sit down and make a list of everything you want it to fulfil. Do you want your backyard to be filled with beautiful, heavily-scented blooms in summer? Would you like to be able to entertain your friends and family outdoors? Jot down your ‘must-haves’ to ensure that you design yourself an area that works for you.
If you want to…
…grow flowers: head to your local flower nursery to pick your favorite blooms. Talk to the experts to find out how best to look after your plants, and let them know about the quality of your soil and the amount of sunlight your lawn receives. You can buy plants that are already fully grown if you don’t feel confident growing them from seed, or you would prefer your garden to look mature a bit more quickly.
…relax in the sunshine: treat yourself to a comfortable recliner or hammock. There’s nothing lovelier than taking a nap in the sunshine or reading a book on a hazy summer’s day, so make sure you have somewhere comfy to sprawl out.
…eat outside: set aside an area for dining. Invest in high quality outdoor furniture including a table and set of chairs, and consider making it more comfortable (and more stylish) by adding comfortable cushions and seat pads. A parasol can be useful if you live in a particularly warm location as it will mean you can eat outdoors without worrying about burning in the midday sun, and some outdoor heaters can be a great addition if you want to stay outdoors well into the night at colder times of year.
Pick a theme
You don’t have to pick a theme or style for your garden, but if you think you might enjoy planning your outdoor living space by having one (or find it easier to make your design look coherent and well put-together), consider identifying a theme. For example, if you’ve enjoyed vacations to Europe, you might want to recreate aspects it by painting your fencing in a shade of blue that’s reminiscent of the Mediterranean Sea, or perhaps you could simply include plants that are native the destinations you’ve travelled to.
Even if you’d prefer to not to use a theme, think about how your outdoor space relates to your indoor space if you want to create something that feels as though it belongs to the rest of your property. For example, if your kitchen-diner overlooks your lawn, consider how you can make the two spaces blend seamlessly – ensuring the flooring is at one level or positioning your eating area beside the door that leads inside.
Pay attention to the details
Finally, details are important. Whether it’s choosing beautifully arranged pavers rather than concrete, or hiring a qualified professional to add more lighting to your back yard, it’s these small-but-significant things that will make your back yard feel like a lovely place to spend time. Another detail you should pay attention to is scale, which can mean mixing large plants with smaller ones, or installing a tall water bath (for birds) among a cluster of low-growing greenery. The key is to add statement pieces that dominate – but don’t overwhelm – your outdoor space. The occasional unexpected detail is a lovely surprise for guests, and an interesting way to add layers and texture to your back yard – consider hanging a mirror on a wall or placing a potted fern on a small metal table.