As the weather warms up, so does our intuitive desire to spend more time outdoors, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying fresh air.
Having contact with nature supports many aspects of our health by encouraging healing and helping to alleviate stress. As such, having a personal outdoor sanctuary to retreat to after a hard day is every bit as important as having a well-designed, comfortable and functioning space within the home.
Below are all the inspirational tips and practical solutions you need to help you spruce up your garden and create your own outdoor oasis in no time.
Design & Space Planning: No matter how large or small your outdoor area may be it is possible to embrace the joys of alfresco living. The key to a good design is to make the most of the entire space by maximizing its use. In order to achieve this, you need to carefully consider how you would like to use the area. Think of a garden as having outdoor rooms with different sections or purposes. Figure out which areas to cook, dine, grow, play, read, nap, exercise, swim, sunbathe, and (of course) relax! These factors will determine what you need and what you can actually place in your space.
Orientation & Up Keep: Considering the direction of the sun will assist you to ascertain how best to position plants, flowers and furniture. The type of plants and flowers you select will depend greatly on the amount of sunlight the area receives and, of course, your love of gardening. Do you prefer a garden that is easy to maintain with minimal effort, or are you a real green thumb who likes to spend weekends gardening?
Design Elements & Principles: Think about introducing colour, pattern, texture and shape, and consider how these elements will relate to the overall feel of the area. Envisage how plants will look with others around it, as well as against any garden backdrops, building elements, decorative accessories and furniture.
Colour & Pattern: If you are trying to create a tranquil space with an overall ‘Zen’ feel, then introducing too many strong colours or bold patterns could potentially overwhelm calmer shades of greens and browns. However, colour can greatly enhance a space and adopting even just a pop of colour will help to communicate a harmonious planting scheme, add contrast and create a theme or focal point.
Shape & Texture: Adding different shapes to your outdoor area such as garden sculptures, wall décor or interesting items of furniture are a great way to add interest, as is utilizing various textures. Repeating textures will help to create a sense of harmony but remember you want to keep things balanced, not boring. Don’t be afraid to combine textures such smooth pebbles, shiny sculptures, high gloss pots or mirrors to create a brilliant contrast against timber, brickwork and foliage.
Styles: It may help to do some research and select a style that you like as a guideline for the overall design. There are plenty to choose from, including Modern, Contemporary, Vintage, Shabby Chic, Rustic, Cottage, Coastal, French Provençal, English Rose, Mediterranean, Japanese, Industrial, which is an eclectic mix of rustic and factory-style imperfection drawn together by an eye for a bargain. This is a great option if you don’t want to be tied to an obvious style.
Inspiration: Create an inspiration/style file with images of outdoor areas that you love and things will begin to fall into place. Don’t be afraid to take elements from other designs and adapt them to suit your own space.
IMAGE VIA Top Dreamer