In a vain attempt to eek out the last of the great British summer, today I am celebrating the good old outdoors. In particular any space that is an extension of your ‘home’. This can be large or small. It doesn’t really matter.
It’s truly amazing what you can create with a little imagination and not a lot of money. In my garden at home we have created various ‘rooms’ within the garden. Decking has been made from reclaimed scaffold boards as has a vast long table with benches where my whole extended family can sit and eat al fresco quite happily under the pergola covered in climbing vine… I’ve managed to bring a little chunk of the mediterranean into my East Sussex garden. Flower pots are fashioned from old tins and dotted around the garden are flamingos, gnomes (every garden should have one), and a variety of random ‘sculptures’. It is the perfect oasis where I can sit and listen to the birds while contemplating everything or nothing at all. The only thing it lacks is a pool!
The greatest extravagance in the garden is the Tolix chairs… I couldn’t resist. But you really don’t have to spend a lot of money at all. Disused crates make great stools if painted. You can run up some cushions very quickly and easily from scraps of fabric you have laying around. Pallets are brilliant for a number of things. You can add legs and transform them into tables or you can suspend them from the wall or a fence and hang pots with hanging plants in them to fashion a vertical garden in a small space suggesting additional depth and height. Mirrors are great too for creating the illusion of more space. Just prop them against a brick wall or fence. They will bounce light around beautifully. And even tree stumps can be painted and used as stools.
Take a trip to your local tip too. You’d be amazed at what people throw away. I found a gorgeous set of four metal chairs that I sprayed in bright colours and then reupholstered in a waxed fabric. Hey presto! Outdoor chairs. And all for £10!
Involve the kids too. I will be the first to admit that in certain parts of my home I get a bit precious, but in the garden anything goes and the kids love that. They can paint and make to their hearts’ content and it all goes on display. I see outside space as somewhere that can be magical and a little bit whimsical, so indulge yourself and go for it!