The perfect garden for summer outdoor living

The perfect garden for summer outdoor living

One area of the home to come the furthest in terms of design over the years is the outdoor living space. These were once just spaces to place a patio furniture set and maybe a barbeque. But these days, people are including pizza ovens, entire kitchens (including the kitchen sink) and dining areas fit for a restaurant.

These outdoor living areas are often complete with relaxing furniture, protection from the sun, and even a fire pit. All of these elements together create the perfect outdoor retreat to enjoy with family and friends. Creating the ideal outdoor living area to meet all your needs is a lot easier than you may think. Here are some helpful tips and steps that you can take to build your outdoor oasis and keep it looking great all year long.

Planning First

Before you begin, you need to determine how you plan to use the outdoor space. Do you intend to entertain for meals, or will the patio serve as more of a relaxation area? If you plan to enjoy meals outdoors, you will want to incorporate an outdoor dining table with flexible seating to accommodate intimate meals and larger dinner parties. You can also enhance the area by adding an umbrella for sun protection and comfortable and portable chairs for after dinner chats. If you plan to use the space on a more casual level, you can decorate with deep-seated furniture and possibly add a fire pit for some marshmallow roasting on those cooler summer nights.


No outdoor living space would be complete without the added beauty of planting. When selecting flowers and plants, you should select blooms that coordinate and complement the rest of the elements in and around your space. If you really want to make your flowers pop, set them next to items from the opposite end of the colour spectrum. For example, place a huge potted plant full of bright yellow blooms next to an energetic red outdoor sofa. The two colours will highlight one another and make a bold statement.

Outdoor Kitchen Spaces

Nowadays, outdoor spaces feature entire kitchens. This means there are spaces for small refrigerators, a variety of worktops and sinks outdoors. Modern outdoor kitchen appliances also tend to come in stainless steel, since that makes the appliances more resistant to the weather and other wear and tear. A common design aesthetic is to put stainless steel in stone or brick. The rustic stone and modern stainless steel combination create interesting contrast.

Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits

A classic mainstay of an outdoor space is the fire pit. Many of us have spent fond evenings relaxing around the fire as the heat of the day dissipates. However, fire pits have adopted an artistic bent over the years, looking more like “fire features” than traditional fire pits.

Outdoor Dining Spaces

Perhaps it wouldn’t be a full outdoor living space without bringing the dining room outside, too. Outdoor dining spaces these days are so detailed that they look like they belong indoors – that is, until you look closer and realize that everything is designed to stand up to the elements. Some outdoor living spaces boast long, full tables similar to what you would see in a dining room. Others make use of bar areas. Still others resemble kitchen islands.

Small Garden Ideas

Your garden doesn’t have to be big to make a statement. A small garden offers plenty of opportunities for design creativity. Small gardens do well with bright colours. Think of your garden a bit like a canvas: if it’s large, then colourful accents are more likely to be lost in all that space. With a small garden, on the other hand, you can really make the most of colour, be it manmade or natural in the form of planting. Think bright furniture and pendant lamps.

Zone Your Garden Into Different Areas

Small garden design ideas can be quite subtle. Using zoning, a trick usually reserved for breaking up large indoor rooms into different areas – say, one for relaxing, and one for dining. The key to garden zoning is using different textures, colours or materials to differentiate between the areas. Flooring, for example, is perfect for doing this, and will create a larger-feeling, more interesting space.

Save Space with a Folding Garden Table

Even if your outdoor space is really tiny, you can still enjoy a proper afternoon tea or al fresco lunch – you just need a garden table that can be folded away when you’re done.

Choose Garden Pots in Multiple Heights to add Dimension

Container gardening is the perfect planting solution for many small gardens, especially if yours has a patio or decking. The trick is to go for as many different types and heights of garden as possible: this will help add dimension and texture to the space. For instance, mix and match large terracotta pots with tall and slender glazed pots. And if you have a really small space, stack them up like this or wall-hang them to pack more in.

Introduce Indoor Comfort to a Small Decking Area

Want a small garden idea to liven up a tiny decked area? A top tip: don’t buy a full dining set, simply take your comfy indoor dining chairs out when it’s time to dine out.

A Small Garden Idea for Cool Nights

Outdoor fireplaces are actually even better suited to smaller gardens than larger ones, for the simple reason you will really feel the cosiness in a smaller space. If your house won’t permit the addition of a fireplace structurally, consider getting a chimenea or fire pit instead. The easiest way to create shade and protect your dining area from rain? A large garden umbrella. Simply remove when you want to enjoy the sun (if it’s out, that is).


Clever lighting is the perfect small garden idea for visually enhancing your space.To make your garden look bigger, you may choose upward-facing spotlighting or  accenting a tree with fairy lights.

Plant a Green Wall

Another trick that emphasises the height rather than width of your garden is planting a green wall. Choose fast-growing climber species such as jasmine, honeysuckle, and ivy.

Maximise Seating Space with a Garden Corner Sofa

There’s no hard and fast rule on where to position your garden furniture in a small outdoor space, but generally speaking, it makes sense not to place any heavy, non-portable pieces centrally, because everyone will inevitably keep bumping into them. Instead, opt for a corner sofa and a compact coffee table.

Keep your Lawn Pristine

Small garden design ideas that include a tiny lawn? Here’s a great one. But don’t neglect it; a neat and sculpted lawn, however small, will give your garden a smart and spacious look; like a large formal garden, but in miniature. To keep your lawn in top shape, mow it regularly.

Upgrade your Small Garden in just a Weekend

Planning to transform your small garden in just a weekend. Might be a challenge, but by painting your  fences in bright, sunny colours for the summer this can really improve your space. What’s going to look nicer? A slightly faded, peeling wooden fence or a super stylish vivid colour? You can always soften the look by adding a trellis and growing climbing plants over the top.