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The Outside In And The Inside Out

August 21, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-19.jpgIt’s without doubt that the popularity of garden design over recent years has enabled many people to transform their gardens into an additional and possibly the largest “room” of their property.

Millions of pounds are spent every year on products to transform gardens into outside rooms, gardening books are always among the best sellers lists and television and radio programmes regularly feature one garden make-over programme or another.

However, even with a lot of time and a bottomless wallet there is one thing in this country which really can throw a spanner in the works with regards to our outside rooms… and that’s the weather.

Many gardens are extensions of the house, giving extra room, a place to entertain, to play and to relax.

As with many years, this particular summer hasn’t been great weather wise, but there are a few things we can add to our garden designs which can enable us to enjoy our summer days and evenings for just a little bit longer.

An awning is a great addition to any garden and can be pulled out from against the wall of the house to provide a bit of warmth on a cool day, shelter from that unexpected drizzle during a barbecue and even to give some shade during any hot sunny weather. wwwgardendesignercouk-24.JPG

Verandas are coming into fashion in many gardens as they are not only useful but can be decorative structures in themselves and some friends of mine have vines growing along the inside with delicate green garden lights intertwined among the branches.

Just like awnings, a veranda can lengthen an evening garden party before either people start drifting indoors or having to nip inside to grab a cardy. Also, a well-built veranda will also provide protection for outdoor furniture and thus extend their use.

A summerhouse will also give you extra living space and a ‘real’ outdoor room, but do check with you local authority about regulations in your area. A decorative gazebo will also provide you with covered garden area to sip your drinks under and also make an attractive focal point in the garden.

Most of us enjoy an outdoor barbecue but our evenings tend to get cool quite early, so investing in a free-standing gas patio heaters might be worthwhile for true garden party aficionados. Instead of a barbecue, how about a decorative cast iron or fired terracotta Chiminea oven, which can double as a barbecue as well as a source of outdoor heating?

Remember those holidays abroad when you spent long sultry evenings perhaps outside in the hotel’s gardens or at an outside restaurant, nursing a drink or three and pecking at nibbles? Remember how you remarked that “if only we could do this at home”? Well, with a well thought out garden design together with some consideration of our climate, we can make the most of our summer gardens without having to go inside early, grab a jumper, put the kettle on and call it an evening… and early evening.

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