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Article by Sarah Giles | 10th July 2019

Take It Outdoors!

Forget bringing the outside in – as we move into high summer, bringing the inside out is what it’s all about.

Alot has been said in recent years about the merits of being inspired by the garden when it comes to interior decorating, but this year it’s the other way round. The idea is that you make your garden and patio spaces as comfortable and as enjoyable to spend time in as any of the rooms in your house, with proper, sturdy and attractive furniture – such as the lovely new Longstock range from John Lewis, paving that looks as though it has migrated straight out of a contemporary “country chic” kitchen, and even outdoor rugs that can stay outside in all weathers.

Floor show

Deck porcelain pavers by SACW Paving, shown here in a lovely rich colour called Cognac, for example (also available in Honey and Nordic), are ideal for outdoor use such as patio, terraces, and around swimming pools. They’re a high-tech alternative to natural wood or composite wood and they’ll stay looking good for many years with very little maintenance. As well as being durable, frost-proof, and anti-slip, they are easy to install and can be adhered to screed or installed directly onto grass, gravel or sand with no need for screeds, mortar or adhesive.

Alternatively, Otto Tile & Design’s Terrazzo tiles are also hard-wearing, anti-slip, long-lasting, and resistant to stains, algae and moss – and they will add a luxurious dash of sparkle to a patio or pool surround, thanks to the marble, granite, quartz and glass they contain.

Pick A Paint

Whatever the weather, a summerhouse allows you to spend time outdoors without being exposed to the elements, and although there’s no upper limit to how much you can spend on one, it’s possible to find surprisingly good-value examples, such as the 10ft x 10ft Pavilion summerhouse shown here from Waltons, at just £1,299.99.

Made from 12mm interlocking tongue and groove timber on a strong 44mm x 27mm wooden frame, it’s built to last and the contemporary pent roof is supplied with high-quality felt, while floor-to-ceiling shatterproof styrene bi-fold doors and windows provide plenty of natural light. It makes a fabulous home office, craft studio or just a relaxing retreat – and it can be painted in any colour that takes your fancy!

Indeed, much consideration is being given to outdoor paint colours now, on everything from sheds, summerhouses and fences to dining furniture. We love the new paint range launched at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show by upmarket greenhouse manufacturer Alitex, who found that they were increasingly being asked to supply an extra pot of paint to match a garden bench, fencing or gates to a recently installed greenhouse. There are 15 colours, available as exterior or interior eggshell, as well as masonry, full gloss and a chalky matt for interiors.

Bold and bright

With more and more of us investing not only in new outdoor furniture but also all-weather soft furnishings on the back of our amazing summer last year, The Rug Seller has seen a big increase in demand for their weatherproof rugs and they have expanded their range with some great new designs and fabrics. Daniel Prendergast, their design director, says: “Customers are searching for bright colours and bold pattern when it comes to outdoor rugs – something to add the wow factor to their outdoor entertaining areas – and the open space in gardens means they can experiment with large scale and bold use of colour more than in interior rooms.

“Geometrics are a popular look, and pinks and yellows work really well, mirroring the colours naturally found in the garden. Used to extend living space beyond the house, rugs help to define a living space in a garden as well as tie your outdoor scheme together. They are practical too – bringing less dirt indoors from underfoot and covering less than perfect grass.”

Alfresco fun

If it’s going to be another scorching summer this year, many of us will be spending more time cooking outdoors than in and if a new barbecue is on the cards, it pays to opt for something that’s going to last. Danish firm Morso are best known for their wood burning stoves, but they also make a range of quality outdoor ovens that are as stylish as they are practical, having been designed to maintain a consistent temperature for better cooking results. And when you sit down to enjoy your alfresco meals straight off the grill, Dibor’s lovely Helmsley Blush range is the perfect way to dress the outdoor table – a beautiful flower print design on a crisp white background that epitomises a balmy English summer.

Image Longstock 6-seater outdoor table, £539, stacking garden chairs, £160 each, showerproof outdoor cushion, £12, all from John Lewis, Tunbridge Wells (johnlewis.com)

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