I’m no gardener, so it’s been a weird position lately (but very flattering and exciting I must say) to have my little city garden photographed for not one but two fabulous gardening magazines. I think the thing is that because I don’t know the rules of planting I just treat it as another room of the house. It’s no different to me just because it’s outside – I still want to create layers, intrigue, cosy little seating nooks and most of all amazing lighting schemes. I’m a firm believer that this makes the garden about a zillion times more magical, and also useful. People never believe how much time I spend out there all year round, but it really is the final room of the house for me. You’ll often find the M’s and I hanging out there for morning coffee, or we’ll spend even chilly evenings around the fire pit. I successfully managed the team’s Christmas meal last night on the outdoor kitchen too. Phew! Big relief.

I think this obsession with bringing the indoors out (and outside in) shows in my favourite outdoors spaces I’ve picked above. None of them are traditional gardens per se, instead there’s al fresco dining rooms, cosy living areas, suspended chandeliers, fireplaces, rugs, lanterns and textiles, and even a shower and bathroom. I love these and keep returning to them whenever I need inspiration for my own garden “zones”. To me this approach to gardens is playful and exciting. After all if I can have a giant faux banana tree inside, who’s to say that I can’t have a chandelier outside? The second you dispense with the rules and just create spaces that sing to you, your style, and the way you use the space, is the moment your outdoors will come truly alive. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got acres of space, a small backyard or even just a minuscule balcony – decorate it for you and treat it like another room and you can’t go wrong!

The final thing is that a fully decorated garden makes the inside cooler too. Why? Simple reason that you have something interesting and inspiring to look at – so much better than just a square patch of lawn. The garden is your chance to control your own view, so why not make it fab?

Also if you’re looking for a little procrastination (hey it’s nearly the holidays), all my round up posts for every room in the house can be found here. So many gorgeous spaces, so little time!