Lounging around outdoors, enjoying a drink in the sunshine or dining al fresco, has been a dream rather than a reality so far this summer.
But one day the clouds will clear and reveal your patio in all its glory, so take steps now to ensure it’s looking pretty and kitted out in preparation for all that relaxation that lies ahead.
If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space, it deserves as much attention as your indoor rooms.
A survey found that over the last year Irish families spent millions turning their gardens into luxury havens.
Our holiday budgets may still be tight, which is all the more reason to make the most of the summer at home.
The survey found that furniture, hot tubs and summerhouses are increasing in popularity while sales of plants declined.
“We are valuing our garden spaces more as the trend to improve rather than move continues,” says Frances Tophill, presenter of UTV’s Love Your Garden.
“As homeowners have become too time-poor for gardening, features like decking, summerhouses and leisure items have moved into prime position in our gardens.”
On average, our individual spend is €900 on outdoor furniture and accessories, with the equipment in our gardens totalling around €2,000.
“Designers are helping to transform our outdated perceptions of garden spaces. They are focusing on outdoor furniture as never before and using state-of-the-art materials and marine-grade fabrics to produce innovative, weather-proof collections,” says Tina Mahony at Go Modern.
“People now want to create the ‘wow’ factor when they entertain outdoors. The modern approach is literally to take the indoors out and conjure a sophisticated, beautifully-furnished area which seamlessly blends with the interior.”
Make outdoor living an affair to remember with furniture and accessories for stylish social spaces...
Pure white has been a star on the fashion catwalk and is playing a key role on patios this summer.
“The disadvantage of white furniture, that it was hard to clean, has disappeared with the use of durable, modern materials,” says Luke Albery at Encompass Furniture.
“White reflects the light, and can make a space look larger and is an ideal choice for those who want to make an impact with a makeover.”
Raise the temperature in the garden no matter what the weather with zingy coloured garden furniture teamed with bright accessories. The setting will be reminiscent of the dazzling shades of foreign hotspots.
“The colour revival indoors is being reflected outdoors,” says Tina Mahony at Go Modern. “Vibrant pops of colour - bright yellow, sky blue, pink and leaf green as well as interwoven patterns - enliven a space and give it an exotic far-away vibe.”
Natural materials like wood and stone are in favour indoors, and they’re perfectly at home outdoors too. “Wooden furniture is a classic with many ranges needing little maintenance, and weathering over the years adds to their charm,” says Nicola Gidlow, buyer for outdoor living at John Lewis.
Weave a spell
Ensure your space works as well as an indoor room by keeping a close eye on design as well as comfort. Woven or rattan-style furniture is ideal.
“Woven furniture collections have an advantage in that they sit well in a conservatory area, or outside on a terrace,” says Nicola Gidlow at John Lewis.
Down to the wire
Metal and wirework seating is an elegant choice and works particularly well in small spaces, including balconies and compact urban settings.
“Decorative ironwork is enjoying huge popularity because of its good looks and also, I believe, because there’s a renewed interest in craftsmanship,” says Adrian Rayment, founder of Rayment Wire.
“We often find people feature a piece in a room adjoining the garden and another outside, which helps to bring continuity between the outdoor and indoor space.”