Outdoor living: lets enjoy it!
By Linda Parker
I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time outdoors in the sunshine as I have in the last few weeks, so despite the chaos and uncertainty, the enforced ‘staying put’ has had it’s advantages. I still need to put a little more effort into the weeding though! So in the spirit of some stores re-opening for business, and the fact that on-line stores are making huge efforts to fulfil our orders (thank you, key-workers!) here are some home ideas for the rest of the summer sunshine …
Have you got the DIY outdoors bug? If your DIY skills are up to it, a small (ish!) tiled outdoor terrace, patio or balcony could be just the job to perk up your outdoor space. Patterned tiles make an immediate impact, and can be used on their own for a small space, such as a balcony, or as a central focal point in a larger area. These are Hanoi Star Blue porcelain tiles, suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and they’re available online from Tile Mountain – they can also send out samples too.
Ok, so you’re not the green-fingered type and maybe your borders and tubs aren’t exactly overflowing with joyous colour! But … this just goes to show that a minimalist ‘garden’ can look great … keep things simple with a gravel surface (most builders merchants are operating and will deliver!) and some stylish garden furniture. These rattan style chairs, table and parasol are all from a selection at Dunelm
On The Deck
Keep it natural with all-weather-rattan furniture … this clever little three-piece set nests together when not in use, so would also be a good choice if your garden wasn’t quite as spacious and verdant as this one! Just add fairy lights, candles and a G&T! Monaco Bistro Set in Natural, also available in Dark Grey, from Next.
Ahh … wouldn’t it be fabulous to sit outside on this deck with a morning coffee? We love the stylish retro 1960s styling going on here, this kind of look would suit all types of home, whether you’re updating a Victorian terrace or a 60s or 70s built semi. This is the White Camden Outdoor Sofa Set with a weather-proof galvanised steel frame, and accessories from a great selection at George at Asda, available online.
As we’ve had gorgeous weather for a good few weeks now, hopefully there have been purchasing opportunities to fine-tune your outdoor catering requirements! But instead of dragging an old table out of the shed to serve as an extra surface, why not go the whole nine yards and invest in an ‘outdoor kitchen’. We’ve featured some in previous stories, but wanted to draw your attention to this magnificent example as well. It’s the Modular Outdoor Gas Kitchen Barbecue kitchen from VonHaus. You may have to join a list if it’s out of stock, but we reckon it’s definitely worth the wait! The system has four gas burners, a cast iron cooking plate, bottle holders and chopping surfaces. At last, the possibility of an organised and logical BBQ experience!
The latest outdoor cooking ‘thing’ is a pizza oven, and no doubt all those sourdough starters have been turned into a few decent pizza bases over the last couple of months! So how delicious would a outdoor-cooked home-made pizza be? Think about the Forno Outdoor Garden Set from Morso. It consists of a grill (for barbecuing) and a pizza oven on an outdoor table on wheels, with log storage. This investment really will change your outdoor entertaining experiences!
If you’d rather just sit outdoors in this lovely weather, without the hard work of actually cooking outdoors, then a outdoor stove or firepit could be a great choice. The concept of an ‘outdoor fireplace’ that produces enough heat to warrant sitting outside even in cold weather is not something that appeals to everyone, but the Froya Outdoor Wood Stove from Jotul will definitely chuck out enough heat to keep everyone warm, even on very chilly nights.
Inside & Out
On a design note, it’s worth mentioning that many porcelain tiles that are used for the kitchen-dining-living space can also be specified to run through to outdoor entertaining areas. And when the space in question has fully opening folding-sliding doors, the seamless look from indoors to outdoors becomes very impressive. These are Dakota Light Grey Riven Slabs in porcelain, from Tile Mountain. The Riven texture means these tiles have a high slip resistance, so are particularly suitable for outdoor use, as well as being safe in kitchens and bathrooms too.
We think the Green 90 barbecue system from Steel Cuisine is a pretty smart investment. It has four burners, ceramic heat spreads, insultated drawers, a telescopic lid and also comes with the all-important teak deck-style surrounding surfaces. Which are invaluable and make all that prep and serving slightly easier!
Oh You Pretty Things … three ideas to bring joy to your outdoor living space; from left, Woven Textured Stripe Cushion; Rattan plant stand, from the Outdoor Living collection, and Ribbed Plastic Jug, all from the impressive ranges at Matalan. Remember though, you may have to check to see if items are in stock at the moment …
Country Candy Colours
So your outdoor living budget may be somewhat low-key, in which case we are very happy to point out that a coat of paint can provide a very effective new look for a modest investment and an couple of mornings wielding a paintbrush! We love the finish and colours from the Sadolin Superdec range of outdoor paints and stains. Colours used here include Conifer, Candied Grapefruit, Pendle Hill and Wiswell.
This outdoor space looks amazing – and it’s not just thanks to the glorious selection of colourful garden furniture – it’s the difference that blue wall makes! What can we say, make a dull space look amazing by adding colour … we would suggest Sea Blue Weathershield Smooth Masonry Paint by Dulux for this colourful Mediterranean look. The furniture and accessories are all from the outdoor ranges at John Lewis & Partners. Enjoy the sun!