From the 29th March Brits have been given the go ahead to socialise with one other household or within the "rule of six" in our private gardens!
For many of us this will be the first taste of hosting we've had in a long long time. So to help you get visitor ready, we've pulled together our top tips for creating a comfortable and sociable outdoor space.
Did you know we help can help with outside spaces too!? From just £195, one of our designers can help you transform your patio, terrace or balcony to become a real extension of your home. Book a free no-obligation call to find out more:
Bring the inside out
Image credit: My Bespoke Room
One of the most over used phrases in the biz: 'Bring the outside in' is now being flipped on its head. With our gardens taking centre stage for our social lives this spring we're now all looking at how we can take inside comforts out.
Outdoor rugs are an absolute must have for taking homely comforts to your garden. Not only do they instantly add a feeling of warmth but they're also British weather proof and great for hiding unsightly garden paving!
Layer on comfy bean bags, cushions and blankets to create a truly comfortable space for entertaining your guests. Use similar colour palettes and patterns on your outdoor soft furnishing as inside to make it a true extension of your home.
Don't forget about storage for all your outdoor cushions and throws though to protect them from the unpredictable British weather. Bench storage works wonders for this and provides extra seating for your guests too.
Host a movie night
Image credit: @marzena.marideko
If we can't go to the cinema, then we'll bring the cinema to us! Outdoor projectors have become much more affordable and the technology has come on leaps and bounds making them suitable for casual back garden cinemas.
You don't even need a fancy, expensive screen - just a clear white wall where you can position a projector against will do the trick.
Just add in cosy blankets, fairy lights and popcorn then you're open for business!
Create different zones to maximise your outdoor space
Image credit: Colin Poole
The principle of zoning which is so key to interiors can also be applied to the outside too. Create different spaces that serve separate functions to get the most from your garden or terrace.
Your garden can be so much more than a patch of grass! Clever zoning can make your garden work harder and provide you with a dedicated kids area, a private reading nook, and also a sociable section to entertain guests for just some examples.
In the same way we would use furniture or screens, large planters can work wonders to define different areas.
Tall grasses are very effective at softly screening off areas while allowing light to still filter through. Bamboo can be wonderful for this too but make sure you don't get the fast growing one as it will take over your garden (speaking from experience here!) Alternatively keep them contained in large pots.Another way to define a zone is to hoist a sail! We fell in love with these last summer because they are so versatile and provide a nice shady spot in your garden when the sun gets a bit too intense....granted, the rain is more likely to an issue this time of year though.
Image credit: @espo_inspo
Outdoor kitchens were all the rage in 2020 and it's unlikely a trend that will slow down this year. After all, there's nothing worse than being stuck inside slaving away over the stove while all your guests are having fun outside!
You can create a seamless connection with your indoor and outdoor kitchen by installing similar styled cabinets along one wall:
But don't worry if you don't have a small fortune to install an all singing, all dancing outdoor kitchen - we've seen some fantastic DIY projects that are just as affective and arguably way more unique. Like this one by Spencer & Fox who transformed an old chest of drawers into an outdoor pizza kitchen....
Image credit: Spencer & Fox
If you're short on garden space or just want a bit more flexibility then consider using a freestanding kitchen island that can be rolled in and out instead. That way you can do all your major prep work inside before your guests arrive and then ceremoniously wheel the feast to them!
Did you know we help can help with outside spaces too!? From just £195, a professional designer can help you transform your patio, terrace or balcony to become a real extension of your home. Book a free no-obligation call to find out more:
Disguise & lift unsightly areas with garden murals
Image credit: Lucy Tiffney
For those of you constantly troubled by a scruffy neighbours fence or an oppressive concrete wall obstructing your garden vista then you have a wonderful opportunity to create a real talking point (in a good way!)
We're loving the trend of bringing in local artists to create a murals on gardens walls. It's a genius way to not only hide what could have been a real eye sore, but transform it into something completely bespoke and super creative.
Not got the time to create your own version of the Sistine chapel in your garden? No problem. You can still create a fantastic focal point with a single block of bright colour which makes a fantastic backdrop for pops of green planting.
Looking for a little colour inspiration? Why not look to your favourite summer cocktail?! Aperol (yup!) have just launched an interiors collection which includes a bright orange Aperol Spritz coloured paint - the true colour of summer in my book!
If it's the floor rather than the wall that's causing you grief then fear not - your only option isn't to fork out a small fortune to replace it. Scruffy outdoor concrete floors can look fantastic simply pained a dark colour which will mute it out and create uniformity. A light bright colour might look great on the first day but it will quickly show up any scuff mark or stain taking you right back to square one.
Image credit: Marie Claire
...or with planting
Another alternative is to create a living wall like the one from our project below. If you don't have the time (or patience) to wait for it to mature, then shop around for some of the artificial living wall options out there. MBR co-founder Laura installed one in her garden and it's instantly disguised the neighbour's tatty fence.
While this works well for some sections of your garden, we'd suggest not installing them in places where your guests can get up close and personal though as the jig will be up!
Image credit: My Bespoke Room
...or hang a mirror
An even quicker option is installing a mirror. It will not only hide the offending wall but it will also make your garden space feel deceptively larger.
A serious word of caution though - be careful where you position the mirror as it could start a fire if it's in direct sunlight.
Image credit: @THERESA_GROMSKI
Image credit: @laurabutlermadden
Speaking of cocktails, no self respecting garden entertaining space would be complete without some kind of bar so we'd be remiss not to give this a whole section of its own!
If you have a kitchen window looking out to your garden patio then this is the perfect place to open your home cocktail bar for business! Simply open up the window wide and pop a couple of bar stools there and you'll quickly find your guests gravitate towards it.
Image credit: Dwell
Drinks trolleys also work incredibly well and can be wheeled in or out when needed and to anywhere in your garden.
Open all hours
Image credit: @KYLAMAGRATHINTERIORS
Seeing as we can't take the party indoors yet when the sun goes down, lighting is also a crucial ingredient to creating a sociable garden space where we can keep the long overdue conversations with our loved ones flowing into the night.
Fairy lights and festoon lighting add instant magic and spotlights create drama especially when positioned within planters or against a feature wall.
So there you have it - our guide to getting your garden ready for spring-time lockdown entertaining. We'll look out for our invite in the mail!