Although summer garden parties are now a fond distant memory, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying the most comfortable time of year outside in your garden. We’ve handpicked a selection of items designed to transform your outdoor space into a cosy place of sanctuary that you can enjoy, even during the Autumn nights.
You may be thinking, “Garden furniture? What about the rain?” but that is precisely why I have selected Teak furniture as this month’s bench of choice. Known for durability and its strength to withstand extreme weather conditions, teak furniture is ideal for anyone who seeks a comfortable bench with very little maintenance required.
Due to its durability, teak is unlikely to suffer from rotting, termites, and many other damaging wood conditions. In fact, choosing teak with high quality wood and a high oil content is set to be your greatest investment all year. Warm and golden in colour, a teak bench is an Autumn garden essential, and usually big enough for nearly the whole family to share. Of course, if you’d like to give your teak bench more protection, you can opt for a furniture cover during non-use.
Does anything scream Autumn like toasting marshmallows by the fire? The best part is, you don’t need a big bonfire to do it. Let the natural elements keep you warm outside this Autumn with an outdoor fire pit. In cast iron, this classic firebowl ties in traditional tones with hard-wearing construction. Whether it’s the warmth you like, or simply the sound of the fire crackles as the wood burns, a firebowl is guaranteed to set the mood for your Autumn garden.
It wouldn’t be a cosy evening without fluffy blankets now would it? It’s time to get the kettle on and wrap up under a big woven throw while you enjoy the crisp fresh air. Many gardeners will say, Autumn and Winter is when you work hard in your garden but Summer is when you get to enjoy it. With these additions, you can enjoy it all year round.
With Autumn, comes darker nights. Don’t let poor visibility stop you from getting outside and enjoying this season. Light up your garden into a magical magnificence with luxurious outdoor lighting. You could place these above your garden bench, by your back door, or even perfectly placed along your walkway. If traditional styles are to your taste, popular lighting options include decorative wall lights, stylish lamp posts, and glowing pedestal lights. Whereas, a favourite amongst modern gardeners are sparkling string lights and eye-catching hanging lanterns.
Sail shades are one of the most versatile ways to add shade to your garden. You can use them in lieu of an awning or gazebo, to create temporary or permanent shading. You can pair multiple sails together for an eye-catching centerpiece or simple to extend the shelter. With so many shapes and sizes on offer, it can be daunting to know where to start. So we’ve gathered a few inspirational shade sail setups to put you on the right track.
Pair square and triangular shade sails to keep a wider area completely covered – great for keeping decks and patios shady and dry. Mix and match colours for a stylish final look.
This modern alternative to a traditional gazebo is a stylish way to cover larger areas. Use a combination of sail shade poles and matching sized triangles.
Keep a patio or deck covered with a rectangular shade sail and posts. Perfect for creating a porch area that’s cool in the summer and dry in the winter.
Make a place for rest and relaxation on your patio with triangular sail shades. Criss-cross a pair of different sizes for a stylish alternative to an awning on a patio or deck.
Combine several shade sails for true versatility, perfect for large outdoor events like weddings and festivals. Mix-and-match a variety of shapes and sizes to cover a wider space – the only limit is your imagination!
You can even finish off a summerhouse or playhouse with a shade sail or two so you can keep cool and dry while enjoying your garden. Use existing structures to keep your shade sails taught and save money on fixtures and fittings.
If you need more space in your home but an extension or a loft conversion is out of the question, how about putting a log cabin in your garden? Garden buildings have come a long way since the ‘outbuildings’ of old. Contemporary garden rooms can be designed exactly to your specifications and to meet whatever requirements you may have. From teenage den to guest suite, music studio to home office, it all becomes possible with the help of a good builder.
Here are just a few examples of how your new garden studio office might look:
If you’re thinking of a garden office, this can be a clever and cost effective way to extend the usable space in your home, while adding interest by making use of your home’s natural surroundings. What’s more, a professionally designed and installed garden office will look fantastic and add value to your home too.
However, when it comes to specifying your new home office, there are some key decisions that need to be made at the outset to ensure that your log cabin offers the home comforts you need for all-year use.
As a starting position, all garden buildings that are designed for year-round use need to be fully insulated. When you specify your garden office, make sure you choose a twinskin log cabin which comes with cavity filled wall insulation, as well as full roof and floor insulation.
Standard levels of insulation provide a better thermal performance than you would find in a mobile home, while upgraded insulation levels are comparable to those of a modern brick-built house. Once insulated, the walls of your log cabin garden office can be the equivalent thermal value of a solid wall, which is much thicker.
Even with high levels of insulation and double glazed windows in your garden building, chances are you will need additional heating to keep warm during the colder months. There are several heating options.
Wall mounted electric convector heaters are the traditional choice
Wall mounted electric infrared heating panels are energy efficient as they don’t heat unnecessary space
Underfloor heating is unobtrusive and space saving
Wood burning stoves can be fitted to an outside wall for a natural solution and real fire comfort
Fully fitted air conditioning can be used to provide heat in the winter months
Standalone oil filled radiators or electric fan heaters can be wheeled into position for extra flexibility
It makes sense to install a heating system with a programmable timer, so that you can control the temperature to suit the times that you are actually spending in your garden office. The latest systems come with smartphone app controls, which may be useful.
British summers can be hot, and usually when you least expect it! Some form of ventilation is recommended to keep the temperature comfortable, so make sure your garden office design takes account of this.
Glass panels can look very stylish in a contemporary garden building, but don’t forget to include an opening window in the room design to keep their airflow circulating
If you wish to avoid the clutter of a desktop or floor standing electric fan during the summer, think about a ceiling mounted electric fan that can be switched from the wall.
For full comfort throughout the year, whatever the outside temperature may be, air conditioning systems can be fitted.
4. Natural light and shade
Maximising natural light is the holy grail of many interior designers. And what could be nicer than having a garden office where light floods in through large expanses of glass? Using insulated glass panels in your home office design will provide plenty of light while blurring the boundaries between indoors and the natural environment on the outside.
That said, you may also need to make provisions for shading to screen your eyes from the intensity of direct sunlight and to cool down. If you work with as computer screen, the sunlight reflecting onto the screen can be very uncomfortable and cause long-term eye strain.
Think about where the log cabin is situated in your garden. Positioning your home office near a deciduous tree means that the leaves will shield you in the summer but not block out valuable winter light. Consider the design of the building too; deep eaves will offer a degree of natural shading.
Of course, fitting window blinds (or even curtains) to your garden office is a simple trick you shouldn’t miss. Whether you go for Venetian blinds, pleated or blackout roller blinds such as these ones, there’s no shortage of choice to give your building the right degree of shade. For a top end solution, look out for double glazed window designs that come with Venetian blinds fitted within the glass panes.
5. Electric lighting
Your home office will come fitted with standard electrics, and lighting is typically installed in the form of track spot lights or downlighters set into the ceiling to provide a general level of artificial light. Among garden building designers and customer alike, LED lighting has become an increasingly popular choice to provide good quality and energy efficient ambient lighting.
In addition, you may need to consider specific task lighting to aid your work. Depending on the amount of detail incorporated at the garden room design stage, task lighting can be built in – perhaps as a pendant light over a sitting area, wall-mounted picture lights or outside entrance lighting.
If you’re not sure how exactly the room will be configured, why not add more power point to provide flexibility later on? Then, when it comes to furnishing your home office, standalone lamps or desk lighting can be added as required.
6. Data cabling
Finally, in addition to wiring for power and light, it is essential that your garden office’s IT connectivity requirements are fully covered. Tapping into your home wireless network may not be the best solution. Very often, your computer’s WiFi reception may be patchy, particularly if your home router is in the main building and high levels of insulation in the garden office disrupt the signal.
Specifying data cabling when you order the design of your log cabin garden office will give you a much more reliable service when you need it most. You will need data connections for telephone, broadband and possibly TV too. You may also wish to consider cabling for alarms and entry systems, so you can answer the front door or gate when you’re in the office at the bottom of the garden, and to protect your garden building from intruders.
Dakota Murphey is an independent content writer who regularly contributes to the horticulture industry. She enjoys nothing more than pottering around her gardening in the sunshine. Find out what else Dakota has been up to on Twitter, @Dakota_Murphey.
Spring is a time of new beginnings and your garden is a great place to be, as long as you pay it a little attention of course. From hanging fairy lights to planting seasonal blooms, you can transform your garden with some creativity and effort. Yes, you’ll get a little dirty, but as long as you know how to get grass stains out that shouldn’t put you off working on the garden with enthusiasm. Now, let’s check out four ideas to spice up your garden this spring.
1. Fill your garden with flowering shrubs
Without a doubt, the best way to transform your garden from nice but plain to beautiful and spectacular is to fill it with colourful blooms. Not only will you get to enjoy an array of colours and tones that’ll really transform your outdoor space, you’ll get to benefit from sweet scents too. Evergreen shrubs, colourful pansies, pretty snowdrops, lilacs, crocuses, daffodils… all these flowers and more love the spring and you will love the way they make your garden look. Just make sure you research how to plant and care for your chosen shrubs and you might just get to enjoy them over and over again.
2. Grow your own veg
Developing stunning borders full of seasonal blooms will no doubt look and smell amazing, but what about using your garden for more practical needs? Growing your own vegetables is a very satisfying project and you’ll get to enjoy all of that hard work by eating it! Choose an area in your garden that you can section off, raise if need be and sow produce that flourish in spring. Certain vegetables love growing in the spring, and following advice about what to plant in April and May should see your vegetable patch thrive:
May: Sweetcorn, courgettes, pumpkins, runner beans, cucumbers and squashes.
3. Light it up
Just as lighting can alter the look and feel of any room in your home, it can spice up your garden too. A few strategic wall lights, a string of fairy lights or some garlands hung on a tree will help bring focus to different areas and allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labour when the sun goes down. Speaking of the sun, solar lighting is a really good solution – cost effective and environmentally friendlier too.
4. Sit and relax
A new piece of furniture plays two roles when it comes to re-styling your garden. One is to act as a feature and two is to create an area where you can kick back and relax. Whether it’s a comfy outdoor sofa to chill out on, a hammock to laze away sunny afternoons or a love seat to enjoy with your partner, they’ll give you the chance to enjoy what you’ve accomplished in comfort.
Put these four tips into action to freshen up your garden this spring and enjoy!
Eleanor is a freelance writer. She loves to write about everything from gardening to travels. Her favourite part of her outside space is the fairy garden she created with her daughter.