The weather is finally starting to cool down and it is pleasant enough to spend some time outside. So why not give your garden a revamp? We bring the best guide to the task!
THE FIRST STEP
When planning out how to set about reviving your outdoor space, the first step, according to architect Jad Nadim Ghostine of G Design and Build based in Bahrain, is thinking about both the hard and soft landscaping and the general layout of the space: “You would need to first decide on the zoning: the hard landscaping – wood, decking, tiles – and the soft landscaping – natural/artificial grass, plants and flowers.” You would then need to make sure the space has what Jad calls the five essential elements: furniture for seating and dining, shade (tarps, umbrellas, pergola), lighting, landscaping (flowers for smell, colour and beauty, trees for privacy and sun protection, and plants), and entertainment (fire pit, barbecue, pool).
“Having an outdoor space offers a place to getaway without leaving your own home. These areas don’t have to be super elaborate or even cost a lot of money to create. With the right idea, you could be enjoying your own private oasis by the weekend,” says Bre Doucette in her Rooms for Rent blog, where she discusses tablescapes, outdoor décor and patio designs.
TAKE A SEAT
Even though we know cooling weather is coming our way, we still have very strong sunshine that can cause damage to things in the garden, especially chairs. Jad says that “aluminium seating or teak chairs are best to resist harsh weather conditions and changes in temperature from day to night.”
Additionally, many of us use the seating in the garden for casual gatherings as well as dining. For those who don’t have the luxury of space, a good way to combine both, according to Jad, is having “low seating for comfort and slightly higherthan-average coffee tables” so we can enjoy meals without bending our backs. For tapestry, choose fabrics that are “outdoor-resistant and add warmth and colour” to your space, such as “earthy tones that have an organic feel to them and that blend with the surrounding area.”
If you are looking for brands that have this option, Calligaris, an Italian home furnishings company, recently released its Connubia Outdoor Collection with materials that are designed for outdoor use. Items that are easy to care for with quick cleaning, are water-repellent and stain-resistant, as well as UV rays and fabric-fading-resistant.
LET’S GET COOKING
A favourite activity among all of us is cooking outside; hence, a dedicated space for a barbecue or fire pit is a must and needs to be carefully decided. Jad recommends you think about the following factors: “the direction of the wind for smells and smoke, a hard surface underneath the barbecue or oven for security purposes, proximity to the kitchen for easy access and convenience, access to electricity, drainage and water”.
The fire pit can be a prominent part of your décor and an important factor when considering adding one to your garden is the style. Dancing flames help set a cosy atmosphere for entertaining and serve as a decorative element, while some can be used for minimal grilling and outdoor heating. Look for designs that complement your space and furniture.
There are four main styles of fire pits to highlight. Fire tables add a beautiful and functional element. These models feature a ledge suitable for resting glasses or plates around the parameters of the flames. Fire pit bowls add a touch of elegance and generate heat during chilly nights. They are typically lightweight units making them easy to move around.
Another alternative is the tabletop fire pits and bowls, which create a unique centrepiece, producing ambient light. And last but not least is the chiminea, a freestanding front-loading fireplace or oven with a bulbous body and usually a vertical smoke vent. They are a striking addition to your patio.
For additional ambience, flowers and accessories act as the cherry on the cake for outdoor design. “Choose bright and luminous colours for accessories and plants that add life to the space,” says Jad.
Bre recommends in her blog that you consider making your space as enjoyable as possible: “The more comfortable the environment is, the longer you will want to stay in it. Don’t forget to bring out some throw pillows, maybe even a throw blanket to keep at arm’s reach for those chilly nights.
“Think about how you will be spending your time in your outdoor space. What things can you add to it that will make the area feel cosier to you? I always like to ensure I have a comfy throw pillow nearby, a small side table to rest my drink on, and a footstool, if possible, to put my feet up.”