The coolest backyard on the planet? That’s a big ask I hear you say, but actually it’s pretty easy if you think outside of the box. The big trick is not to buy everything from a nursery or garden store. The reason so many gardens (also I might add bathrooms and kitchens) look so sterile and dull is because we tend to fall into the trap of buying pieces made for these areas from specific stores rather than mixing it up.
The minute you start looking at your outside space as a living area is the minute you turn things around. Having just had my garden shot by one of the coolest garden mags on the planet I can tell you it’s definitely got nothing to do with having a greenthumb or being savvy with plants, because I’m not at all! What I do is simply apply the same kind of principles to outside as I do to interiors.
Lighting is key: I love fairy lights and string lights – nothing looks cooler on hot summer nights than doors flung open and string lights suspended in your garden to illuminate tables, plants, and trees. I also put indoor lights outside, so a 60s vintage pendant hangs over my outdoor table, a plastic light from Conran sits on an old rusty side table and another plastic lamp from John Lewis sits on the outdoor kitchen. Super cool!
Also go crazy with lanterns. I’m not sure why we aren’t so into lanterns in this country as everywhere else but I love them scattered throughout the garden, along the path, clustered under a tree. They’re so pretty at night, come summer or winter.
Move indoor stuff out. How many times do I say that hey! I might take a couple of big slubby cushions to put on the terrace for a bit of after dinner lounging or plop a sheepskin over an outdoor plastic chair. Simple trick but softens the outside no end!
Fire pits and fires. I am obsessed with firelight. From autumn through to spring at home there’s a fire gently puttering away in the grate every night. Once I get a wood burning stove for the cabin I am going to have way too many choices about where to hang out fireside, but that is a whole other post. Nothing beats a fire pit, stove or fireplace outdoors. Love!
Supersize your plants: Just like I’m forever banging on about supersizing pieces inside, try the same trick outside with your plants and pots. Nothing grandifies a small garden like mucking around with scale.
Seating zones. Texture, scale, limited colour palette, lighting… all the stuff that we do indoors can so easily be transferred to out. Throw in some intriguing little seating areas and you’ve nailed it. I’ve got a zillion seating areas all over mine. From a couple of chairs in a shady nook under the bay trees to seats on the decking in front of the cabin, to a big old trestle table top (propped on an upturned bucket under the bamboo) to the seating and dining area on the terrace. It’s only a small garden, but it can pack in a lot of zones! It breaks up all the planting and once you put lanterns, lights and the odd plant on top you’ve created lots of little outdoor rooms. Perfect vibe.
I’m off to hit the pool, didn’t swim once last week as there were too many 4am starts but this week I’m on it! Have a lovely day.