The Great Outdoors


Spring has sprung and our thoughts now turn to our benighted balconies, terraces and gardens.

In London, where space is at a premium, what does one do to maximise ever-precious outdoor areas? Like many parts of our homes there are colours and trends that go in and out of fashion, but in the case of the garden don’t think about the short-term impact, rather about how it will change in the long-term. The flowers, trees and bushes will mature over time and this gives the space a wonderful variety!

When planning your garden it’s important to consider its ultimate purpose. Is it going to be for children, with swings, a climbing frame and trampoline? These items take up space and require some thought before being built into the garden. Is it going to be an outdoor entertaining space complete with comfortable chairs, fire pit, dining table and barbeque? Or is it going to be a gardener’s garden – full of delicious fruiting trees, vegetables and glorious blooms? These three types of gardens require vastly different approaches. As with anything, the final finish is dependent on the initial planning.

Tiles or decking?
If installing tiles, look for the ones that have the correct texture (slip prevention ‘R’ rating for floor surfaces – the higher the number, the better the grip) so that you don’t slip when they are wet. When opting for decking, consider the fact that it won’t last forever and that it can become slippery when moss grows in the winter.

▲ Garden by Stefano Marinaz Landscape Architecture:

▲ Garden in Barnes by Claire Mee, Garden Design & Build:

▲ Cocoon Collection, Single Orange by Cocoon World:

▲ Florida high Cube by Round Wood:

Illuminating your garden is now so easy with a wide variety of LED lights – there are some fantastic new products on the market. You don’t have to install a wired-in system, a solar powered setup will be sufficient as LED lights draw very little power.

If you do install a wired-in system, garden and lighting designers recommend lighting from the bottom of trees and structurally interesting plants, as this throws interesting shapes and shadows. Add small LED lights to steps for lighting your way, and twinkling fairy lights or hummingbird lights in the trees for a magical effect.

Furniture for the garden is changing. All sorts of different materials are being used, one doesn’t need to stick to traditional wooden furniture.

Living Concrete produces some fun and funky furniture items, made of – you’ve guessed it, concrete! For the braver amongst you there are stunning planters in bold and vibrant colours which will give your garden that pop of colour even in the dullest of winter months.

One fashion item that should be enjoyed in all gardens is the fad for outdoor fire pits, like the round fire pit from

And the most exciting news for those of us living in Fulham is that the Fulham Garden Centre is reopening in the spring as a garden centre, the place to buy plants, bulbs and seeds for the garden.

▲ Timeless chaise by Living Concrete:

▲ Pro Series Festoon Lights by lights4fun:

▲ Yanartas Steel Fire Pit: