How to make your garden the perfect late-summer retreat

Outdoor living room
Jennifer Morgan,-Interiors Editor

These garden styling ideas will let you make the most of the late summer nights

Picture the scene: you’ve finished work for the day, the kids are in bed and you’re looking forward to relaxing in front of the TV. But before you queue up the next episode of your boxset, are you missing a trick? Your outdoor space could take on a very different feel as an evening living area. Yes, you’ve made the most of it during those long, hot summer days, but could you revitalise your garden into an after-hours retreat? We think so…

Make it inviting

The key to using your garden into the evening is a comfortable garden sofa. Look for a corner design, where you can curl up and relax just as you would inside. If you don’t have a lot of space, an outdoor lounge chair or bean bag are fun options. The ideal positioning of your outdoor seating is a spot where you can enjoy the last of the sun’s rays, and ideally, catch the sunset.

Arrange your garden sofa set or chairs around a firepit, which will add warmth and a lovely glow, especially if your patio area is in the shade. Add a small side table, where you can pop a glass, a few nibbles and even an outdoor table lamp. Flexible seating, such as stools and pouffes, are great for moving around to follow the setting sun. If the temperature starts to drop, make sure you’ve got a few blankets to snuggle under – go for dark shades in case they get dropped on the floor. Try creating a little ‘date night’ corner with an outdoor bar table and stools set – just the place to sit and unwind together.

Dine out in style

If you normally eat your supper in front of the telly, then treat your outdoor table area to a few stylish buys and dine alfresco. Keep things casual with a table runner, a few melamine plates and pretty glasses. Keep insects off your supper with a few citronella candles. 

Talking of lights, solar stakes are a great way of illuminating your back garden without creating a floodlight effect. Group a few together in clusters to highlight garden features or planting schemes, or use them to line the path. Don’t forget candles and lanterns – these will all help to create a sense of calm and escapism.

Add atmosphere with plants

Clever planting can make all the difference to a late summer garden. Look for flowers with white blooms or silvery foliage to reflect available light. Plant en masse to create the maximum effect. Add night-scented plants, such as evergreen climbing star jasmine or flowering tobacco. Regal lilies are particularly fragrant at night – pop some in pots close to your seating area. A few herbs in smaller pots will also add fragrance to your outdoor table. If indoors has plants-a-plenty, then why not move a few outdoors for a dose of sunshine and a good water? Just pop them back inside when you go in.

Bring out the gadgets

Whether you want to catch up on your podcast list, stream Spotify or play your favourite tunes, being outside shouldn’t stop you. From bluetooth headphones to smart speakers kitting your patio out with tech is easy. See you in the garden…

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