The benefits of a well-designed outdoor area are manifold and just a few pieces can add beauty, practicality and value to your home.
Starting with well-made, carefully designed outdoor furniture, use this buying guide to elevate your garden this season.
Choosing the Right Outdoor Lighting and Accessories
Accessories and lighting solutions are what make an outdoor space yours. When asked to share the secret to styling with outdoor accessories, Laura reveals, “We find less is more with outdoor spaces—keep it sophisticated but casual."
"We don’t like to clutter surfaces and tend to focus on a few oversized hurricane lanterns as centrepieces; big brightly coloured cushions that can be thrown on the floor if you want to lounge on the lawn; extra throws; and maybe a large basket or trays to carry magazines and refreshments out to the garden.”
Image Credit: Gardeco
Garden Sculptures & Outdoor Accessories
As Laura know, a home's outdoor space is as important a canvas as any living room or dining room, and accessorising shouldn't stop at the back door. Investing in some unique garden sculptures and outdoor accessories will put you on a fast track to an al fresco arrangement that feels as welcoming, well-thought-out and stylish as any of your indoor spaces.
Large garden statues are the most obvious choice (and a few well-placed designs can give a garden a polished, landscaped feeling) but outdoor coffee tables and dining tables can and should be accessorised too. Durable sculptures and accessories crafted from natural, aged materials are perfect for garden styling. Channel the same mentality you have when decorating indoors. Smaller sculptures, trays, storage boxes and vases transform even the simplest of designs into a curated outdoor vignette.
Cane, wicker, petrified wood and bamboo all add a casual al fresco feel to a table setting. Bamboo placemats, for example, look right at home in the outdoors, however, don’t be afraid to experiment with more delicate materials. Glass hurricanes work wonderfully in exterior environments, just be sure to invest in quality designs preferably with a heavy base to stay weighted.
Shatter-resistant drinkware and dinnerware is a great idea if there’ll be little ones at your garden parties but there’s no problem in using your fine tableware outdoors, as long as you’re careful with it—just as you would be indoors. A beautifully laid table of fine china is a real treat for special outdoor occasions.
Image Credit: Sophie Paterson Interiors
Durable, synthetic materials are the answer for outdoor cushions. Look for cushions with foam fillings and hardwearing, machine-washable covers that offer resistance against water, UV rays and mould and mildew.
“You can dare to be a bit braver in outdoor spaces,” Laura tells us. “We tend to go for much brighter colours and bolder patterns than we would use in internally. There is a huge variety of outdoor fabrics now but we ensure they are as soft as you would expect an interior fabric to be.”
Throwing some throws into the mix can achieve beautiful results. “We often use indoors accessories outdoors,” explains Laura. “It’s lovely to have a few cashmere throws dotted around for summer evenings, but of course they need to be taken in when not in use. Outdoor rugs are also a great way to zone individual spaces and add softness to hard surfaces.”
Image Credit: Helen Green Design
“Layering outdoor areas with extra lighting from candles to fire pits is a fantastic source of light and enables you to enjoy your outdoor space for longer in the evenings,” Laura says.
When it comes to electrical lighting solutions, opt for quality metal designs to guarantee years of enjoyment, such as solid brass and stainless steel creations with waxed finishes. Preempt the weathering process by choosing designs with a verdigris finish—the natural patina formed when brass weathers. The natural weathered finish not only looks incredible but means there’s no need to worry about deterioration.
Finally, remember to pay attention to your lighting’s IP (Ingress Protection) rating, which consists of two digits that reveal how resistant the design is to dust and water. The first digit tells you how resistant the design is against solids, such as dust, while the second digit explains its level of water-resistance. The higher the number the greater protection offered. Recommended IP ratings vary depending on exactly where you plan to place your lighting solution, but usually a rating of 43 and upwards is perfect for outdoor use.