Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are integrated into hard landscaping and used as social focal points just like they are in the home.
Architectural canopies add to the indoor-outdoor vibe – try a modern pergola or an asymmetric sail awning for shade in the summer and year-round shelter.
Depending on how much space you’ve got and what you want to use your garden for, there are a few more substantial structures you could include too.
Modern arbours can add a sculptural focal point for family get-togethers; a garden office or studio is great if you work from home; an outdoor bar or built-in barbecue is a sophisticated addition for social gatherings.
Lighting really helps make the most of the outdoor space in the evenings and many gardens use lighting in a big way.
Carefully integrated lighting effects that add warmth to the outside living areas, highlight key features and plants and light pathways and seating areas.
Strategically placed lighting can transform the look of the garden at night. Warm LED lights and recessed spots set the tone while illuminating the edges of pathways, low walls and seating areas. Up-lighters and downlighters bring sculptures, decorative wall panels and garden structures like pergolas to life.
Fountain lights or underwater spots can look really atmospheric. Even the plants can be lit up – either to cast bold shadows against walls or to create soft glowing light through finer foliage. When planning your lighting there are a few things to think about.
Any lights that are powered by mains electricity need to be installed by a qualified electrician. lighting around any potential hazards like steps, sudden drops in level, pathways and water features enhance the garden and the safety of everyone.
Selected plants or sculptural features highlighted look ethereal in the evenings. Solar post lights are very contemporary and look great in beds lining pathways – and they’re environmentally friendly.
Recessed paving lights look sleek and won’t interrupt the look of your garden during the day. For more dramatic effects, or neon deck lights with coloured floodlights against rendered walls.
Furniture and the smaller finishing touches are what brings any garden together and makes them into warm, inviting spaces where we can relax and entertain.
In all gardens you need to exercise a bit of restraint; you don’t want to end up ruining the carefully planned look and feel you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Choose furniture with clean lines that compliments the materials, shapes and colours you already have in your garden.
Wood is a good choice for adding warmth to a cooler landscape; large rattan loungers add a bold laidback touch, and moulded plastics in bright colours add a playful edge.
Large, unfussy cushions look best - to add some interest choose brighter shades, but it’s good to try and mimic colours from the planting for a more unified look and feel.