Small Gardens
Helen Stone,-Interiors Writer

Even the tiniest plot has big potential for summer living so whether it’s a balcony, a patio or a tiny patch of lawn, here’s how to step out in style

Like a boutique bar or that gorgeous little taverna you fell in love with on holiday (cast your mind back now), you really don't need acres of space to create an inviting outdoor living space. And, looking on the bright side, this is a relatively quick project – a place you could transform in a weekend and still have time to enjoy it before sundown.

In a small area, it pays to think big picture, planning carefully to create a cohesive scheme with breathing space. The furniture is a good place to start. Armchairs with side tables will give the most flexibility for dining, entertaining and lounging without dominating in the way that larger pieces can. ‘Look for slimline seating that won’t take up too much of your valuable outdoor space and think about how you will store it when it's not in use,’ advises Ian Ellis, Partner & Buyer, Outdoor Living. ‘Folding or stacking items are always good,’ he adds.

Paint walls and fences to create a seamless boundary. Dark grey, dark green and black make dramatically stylish backgrounds for bright furniture and vibrant planting in a suntrap but a cooler, darker space may need a paler, warmer tone to see off any chill. In all spaces, think texture and height. Going high with planting and climbers creates natural privacy and has the potential to add scent in summer if you chose fragrant plants such as honeysuckle or jasmine. 

Pots and planters come into their own here too. You can move them around so the best are always at the forefront and look for sculptural shapes or mini trees that build on your theme. Finally a herb garden is always a winner. It doesn't take up much room, it's full of texture and fragrance and great for summer dining – so much nicer to be able to grab a handful fresh herbs as and when you need them. Add some outdoor lights, perhaps a water feature if you like the sound, and settle back into your own little patch of paradise.

Extending out on to an open decked area or patio will really expand your living space. Small additions such as festoon lights and a pop of colour from the Salsa furniture will give it a real feel of a living room for outdoors

Alexandra Fox,-Partner & Home Design Stylist

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