Balcony terrace seating design

Top tips for updating your garden - even if you don't have one!

Holidaying abroad and feeling that warm air hit you when you step off the plane. Strolling along the promenade of a British beach on a warm summers day, with only a little wind chill. BBQs with all your friends and family on a blistering hot afternoon that soon becomes chilly, but you all committing to alfresco life with jumpers and blankets long into the night. Busy music festivals, dancing along to  your favourite artists and feeling a little sick (but in a totally ok way!) from the hot weather, excitement and too many ciders. 

Yep, that's the British summertime that we all know and adore, however, we're not sure when or if this will happen this year. Don't worry, all these events will happen again and we just need to adjust and try something new this year. 

This is the perfect time to put some work into the garden, which you've been putting off for years. Or, for those without the luxury of a garden and feel like your limited freedom is driving you a bit stir crazy, how about creating an 'urban garden' oasis to escape to?

We hope you stay as safe, healthy and happy as possible, so we've pulled together our best top tips on creating a private, personal and stylish home garden - or something similar if you don't actually have a garden! 

 

1.  If you don't have a garden, create one

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Image credit: List Kampus

For those who aren't ready to leave the city life behind, but still want a green oasis to escape to, then it's time to turn your attention to your townhouse, patio, balcony or roof top terrace. If you have limited space, tall potted plants, trellises, wall mounted greenery and hanging vases are all ways to enhance the space and create your own little touch of wilderness in a concrete jungle.

Green rooms are great if you don't have access to an outdoor space; they're the gardens you never had. A room (or part of one if you can't transform an entire room!) dedicated to indoor greenery are becoming increasingly more popular, especially in city homes. Filling a room with all things blooming and organic gives you a green oasis to escape to, a sanctuary to de-stress in and a place to retreat.

Plants are the easiest and cheapest way to update an interior, and as well as looking gorgeousthey provide oodles of health benefits such as anxiety relief and purifying the air.

One of the biggest indoor greenery trends at the moment is the living wall. Whether this is just a panel, a living frame or an entire wall, it's the perfect way to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces, or create an indoor space that feels like it could be outdoors. It's also perfect for those who love nature, but hate that evening summer chill that seems to arrive as soon as the sun goes in in England.

2. Blur the lines

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Image credit: Dwell 

There are so many ways to blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors; to create harmony between nature, your outdoor space and your interior, connect with a feature window/door such as bi-folds or sky lights. Large glazing makes a room feel brighter, lighter and larger, whilst allowing you to see the outdoors.

Also, bringing natural textures such as timber, exposed brick and concrete into the home will give an organic finish, whilst taking out soft furnishings, living furniture, potted plants, indoor/outdoor rugs and accessories takes the indoors, outside. 

The idea is to make the outdoor space an extension of the indoors and this trend is set to be huge in the coming years. Zoning your garden is like a replica of zoning an open-plan living, dining and kitchen. Outdoor kitchen sales are on the rise and patios and deckings are more commonly treated like living and dining rooms in the way they are dressed, styled and furnished. Another place to cook, eat, drink and put your feet up? We won't say no. 

 

3. Go green

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Image credit: Tribu

Remember the saying 'always eat your greens'? Now we urge you to surround yourself with them. No, no we aren't talking about bowls of spinach on your patio or a broccoli centrepiece; we're talking REAL plants (or gorgeous, faux alternatives). Indoor greenery is the quickest, cheapest and most health beneficial interior update out there and potted plants are joining us outdoors too. No, plants found outdoors isn't groundbreaking, in fact, that's where they started. However, we're talking about plants that are potted in stylish planters, or hanging pots. Big leafy plants and cute, little succulents are right on trend at the moment and they add that extra chic oomph to your outdoor space. 

Top tip: Add greenery at different heights. Whether it be different different sized pots or plants, ivy cascading from your fence, plants climbing up a trellis or hanging planters with falling flowers - it's going to look fabulous. 

4. Have fun with furniture

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Image credit: Locality 

If the combination of bright, summer hues and sunshine don't make you feel cheerful then you're lying. It's time to steer away from our grey comfort blankets and bring colour back into our lives. Strong, muted tones in yellow, pink, green and blue are the palette you're looking for this summer. Whether it's starting small with accessories or making a statement with your garden furniture, if it's bright, you're doing it right!

Don't have the budget right now, or isolation halting your shopping habits? Hopefully, you can get your hands on some bright pigmented paint and up-cycle tired garden furniture. 

 

5. Mirrors

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Image credit: Adam Robinson Design

Mirrors aren't just for the indoors, in fact, we recommend you have at least one outdoors! Not only do they reflect all the beautiful greenery that you've surrounded yourself with, but they also make your garden look tremendously larger. Just don't put them in direct sunlight, facing something flammable...

If you're making an indoor green room or urban garden, we really recommend including a mirror to further enhance your space and make it feel bigger, lighter and brighter. 

 

6. Paint the fence

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Image credit: Hudson & Grey 

Yep. Do it. This will add a stylistic edge to your garden or terrace, as well as making it feel more personal and designed by you. We love a dark and dramatic black fence, but don't hesitate to go for a stunning light grey or even a bright pop of colour! 

7. Design your decking 

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Image credit: Regards et maisons

If you're planning to add a decking yourself during this time, or update an existing decking, don't forget our all important rules on zoning spaces - these still apply to outdoor spaces!

Decking can zone a 'sitting and relaxing' space an 'alfresco eating' area and also create paths to the 'playing with toys in the garden' part. Painting the decking in different tones or using different materials for different areas can also add extra dimension to your space. 

Wood-effect tiles are already huge in interior design, but now they're joining you in stepping outside and are set to be the next big thing in garden design. Why? Well for one, they look gorgeous. However, porcelain tiles have lots of practical benefits too, such as being extremely hard-wearing, scratch, stain and heat-resistant and they can be used both indoors and outdoors therefore creating continuity from the interior to the exterior.

 

8. Finishing touches 

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Image credit: Old Brand New 

Think of your outdoor space like your living room or dining room: style it with items you love to make it feel like home. Planters, vases, ornaments and cushions will make your garden or terrace feel more personal and look fantastic whilst doing so. 

 

9. Artificial grass

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Image credit: Homify 

Artificial grass is a neat way to transform your garden and keep it looking neat (it can be hoovered!), but is also a fantastic way to add a bit more 'green' to terraces, balconies or even a green interior room.

10. A good jet-wash

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Image credit: Smart Explores 

Is there anything more satisfying than a good pressure wash? If you have a hose and can have access to a jet wash, then prepare for cleaning that is minimal effort and gives almost instant gratification. You won't believe the transformation of your patio or decking thanks to a pressure wash. It might even shock you how you ever coped before those steps were cleaned.

 

11. Give old furniture a new life 

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Image credit: Home Talk

One of the best ways to incorporate storage or an interesting way to display plants or a new veggie garden is to up-cycle old furniture. If the tired furniture is too knackered for inside the house, jazz it up with some new handles and brightly coloured paint and plonk it in the garden -  trust us, it won't look 'plonked', it will look placed, like that's where those old chest of drawers were always destined to go!

The need for storage isn't changing - it's sort of a necessity. With garden space as a premium for the majority of homeowners, we're a bit apprehensive to use it for a big, old shed, aren't we? Well, it's 2020 and storage is now aesthetically pleasing, finally! Combine open storage for the bits and bobs that can look neat and tidy, and then incorporate some hidden storage options for everything else. Storage benches are fab as a dual function piece of furniture, providing a seat whilst hiding away your knick knacks.

 

12. Take your diet back to basics

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Image credit: Growing Spaces

Brits choosing a plant-based diet has risen by 360% over the past decade, and the growing appreciation of organic food doesn't seem to be slowing down. Is it time we all ditched the veg isle, which is looking quite scarce during this pandemic anyway, (and the huge amount of not-so-friendly packaging) in the supermarket and attempted to DIY our diet? Growing your own veg and herbs can be a feature in your garden, either decorating with pots and window boxes, or you could even cordon off a patch of your garden.

 

13. Eating alfresco 

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Image credit: Apartement Decor 

Ok, so we don't always have the Mediterranean weather, but it doesn't mean we can't live the Mediterranean lifestyle. Sales have soared in garden furniture, barbecues and outdoor heaters and fire pits have risen considerably and are expected to continue to do so in the coming years. Despite our unpredictable weather, alfresco dining is a key trend that isn't going away any time soon, and we're super happy about it. What's better than some ice cold Rosé, BBQ grub and good company (with those who live with you until further notice) all enjoyed in the fresh air? We all feel better for it, well, maybe not the Rosé the next day. Outdoor dining tables, benches and chairs, bars and seating are all an ideal investment for the coming summers (and winters if you're brave enough!).

Remember when we said you can enjoy all the furniture of an indoors living room outside? Well, would you believe us if you said the same for your indoors kitchen too? Outdoor kitchens are all the rage right now, and guess what? We think they're better - you heard it here first. Imagine your dream kitchen, then incorporate an outdoor bar and add a pizza stone oven? Yes, that's what we thought... The. Dream.

14. Build your own benches 

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Image credit: Growing Spaces 

Building your own bench out of pallets is a really cost effective way to have bespoke seating in your garden or on your terrace. The rustic look is on trend and can be styled, painted and accessorised however you like. Plus, if you're handy with your tools, you could make it a storage bench to increase storage AND seating at the same time. Genius. 

15. Glow up your garden

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Image credit: Homesense

Lighting is more than just a practical accessory to help us see who we're chatting to at 10:30pm when the sun has gone in and the jumpers and blankets have come out. Lights can transform a space; string lights can decorate trees and fences, whilst lanterns and lamps can act as decorative pieces either on the floor or tables. No outdoor power? No problem. There are a huge amount solar and battery powered lighting options available on the market.

19. Get a rug that can do both

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Image credit: Juniper Home 

We're all for feeling warm sand between our toes or stepping across sun-kissed concrete, but if you don't have a beach on your doorstep and don't live in a tropical climate then we suggest you invest in the next best thing. A rug. Okay, we understand that this option doesn't sound quite as lavish, but an indoor/outdoor rug is such an affordable way to update an outdoor living space, zone the area and add that extra bit of comfort! Neutral, textured rugs, monochrome geometric patterns or brightly-coloured prints are the front-runners of the indoor/outdoor rug world.

 

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