Spending time in the garden is becoming more important to us, as the benefits for our health and wellbeing are widely recognised. It’s well worth giving some careful consideration to how you use your space, before choosing garden furniture that will help you make the most of the great outdoors.
1. Finding time for you
Focussing on the present and allowing enjoyment in relaxation are the keys to ‘mindfulness’ and there’s no better place to practice a little ‘you’ time than in the garden. Good for your spirit and wellbeing, 2017 is the year for switching off from technology and curling up with a good book in the fresh air – even if it’s only once a week. Choose a garden sofa that offers ultimate comfort with adjustable sides or a footstool, add in a parasol and a side table for refreshments and you’ll be set for an afternoon of pure relaxation.
Featured product: Pembridge Garden Sofa with Adjustable Sides
2. Indoor/outdoor entertaining
In recent years there’s been a huge rise in the popularity of bi-fold and sliding doors, blurring the boundaries between indoors and outdoors to create large entertaining and living spaces. For a seamless look, garden furniture should be as elegant as indoor furniture and provide comfortable seating for many enjoyable hours around the table with friends and family. Large-scale entertaining requires comprehensive outdoor cooking facilities and outdoor kitchens are big news for 2017. Offering more cooking possibilities than just a charred burger, an outdoor cooking station will challenge even the most creative chefs.
Featured product: Palermo Rattan Effect 6 Seater Garden Furniture Set
3. Enjoy some ‘hygge’ outdoors
No matter how small your space, you can always squeeze a container or planter on to a windowsill or front step. You can change, move or replant it as often as you like, giving you endless possibilities. You can choose soil to suit each plant’s requirements – acid-loving, free-draining, potting mix or just regular compost. In fact, plant pots allow you to grow a much larger variety of plants within the same area. You can water them individually, making the watering can a feature too, or put them on a drip irrigation system if you have an outside tap. Finding somewhere to store the equipment or tools can be tricky but the nifty Keter Capri Rattan box fits the bill perfectly and doubles up as a seat.
Browse our Vilamoura garden furniture range
4. The urban garden
Smaller gardens are getting a facelift in 2017, with courtyard and urban gardens becoming exciting places to spend time. Designed like an interior room, small gardens benefit from mirrors to reflect light and make the space feel twice as big. The combination of maximum comfort and flexibility is key to making the best of a small garden, using furniture that looks neat and stylish but stacks away easily as required. Adding height with a pergola or decorative screen gives structure to an urban or city garden and can be useful for privacy issues and shading.
Browse our Bayfield garden furniture range
5. Vibrant colour takeover
While neutral interior schemes still dominate, pops of vibrant colour are taking over in the garden, adding energy and drama. Painting a wall or fence in a strong colour is a great way to define the boundary of the garden and colour can also be used to direct attention away from less attractive features. Tables and chairs are generally a focal point and a perfect choice for adding colour to create a strong look. Blue is the colour of choice this year and will produce a serene, calming feel. Alternatively, choose red or orange for a lively, party atmosphere.
Browse our Austin garden furniture range
6. Light fantastic
As LED technology has become cheaper, there’s a much greater choice of outdoor lighting, making it easier than ever to create a stunning outdoor ambiance after the sun goes down. Environmentally friendly solar-powered lights can be strung above seating areas or used to define pathways for safety and general illumination. Lanterns are a perfect choice to add drama and cast beautiful shadows onto surrounding surfaces and will create an intimate atmosphere combined with twinkly string lights. The key to a successful lighting design is thinking of the garden as distinct zones and lighting each according to its use.
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7. Get the Mediterranean look
Driven by the current huge interest in cacti and succulents, the garden is set to take on a Mediterranean look this year. Introducing exotic and sculptural planting will bring a spirit of sunny climes and relaxed, outdoor living. A few key pieces like large terracotta pots, olive trees and a shaded seating area will combine to produce a space ready to enjoy whenever the sun decides to play. A water feature will add another dimension, cooling the air on the hottest days and providing a welcome water supply for birds and insects. A colourful bistro set is perfect for a smaller garden or, if you have more room, choose a large table and chairs to fit the whole family around, continental style.
Browse bistro sets
8. Colour fun for kids
It’s more important than ever to encourage children to spend time away from digital screens – and instead explore nature and enjoy good old-fashioned outdoor play. Giving children their own furniture and safe places to play will keep them occupied all day and, with luck, a sound night’s sleep. This year it’s all about colour mixing to create a happy, uplifting vibe for the kids to enjoy. Choose chairs that can be stacked and tables that fold away to keep them stored neatly after use and through bad weather.
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9. A different perspective
Trying a different viewpoint can be a great way to see your garden and home in a whole new way and can make the most of early or late sunshine. Find an unloved corner of the garden that catches the morning sun and put a bistro table there so you can enjoy a coffee and newspaper. Alternatively, position a couple of deckchairs to enjoy the last of the evening sunshine with a glass of wine. Treat the area as its own ‘zone’ and landscape it to create a perfect spot for contemplation.
Browse deck chairs & sun loungers
10. Go wild!
Key trends for 2017, natural planting and wild areas in the garden will encourage wildlife and create a relaxed environment. Leave areas of grass unmown, sow wildflowers and provide places for bugs and animals to feed and shelter. Children love to be ‘warden’ of their very own nature reserve and for the grown-ups, a corner sofa hidden in the deep grasses will provide a fabulous secret place to stretch-out and relax in peace. For those with the space and inclination, a wild swimming pool is a natural solution, integrating the garden with a swimmable pond that avoids the use of harmful chemicals.
Featured product: Alexandria Corner Sofa Set