Are you sitting comfortably?
If you’re planning on doing lots of entertaining outdoors in the summer months, there is a huge range of outdoor table and chair options. Some include an umbrella to provide a bit of shade. Wicker effect or wooden furniture is much more informal than steel or glass options. Other possibilities include a bench, a swing-seat or large outdoor bean bags. If your garden contains some sturdy trees, you could even go for a hammock! Whichever option you pick, add lots of cushions for extra comfort. Avoid bright, over-stimulating colours such as red and orange, and go for a neutral palette or pastel shades of blue, green and pink – these colours are known for their calming and therapeutic effects. Remember to buy an outdoor storage box to put the cushions in when they are not in use. This keeps them dry when the weather changes, but the box can also double up as a coffee table!
The sound of trickling water is said to have a very calming effect, so having a pond or water feature could be beneficial. As well as helping you to relax, they also provide a great talking point for visitors. If you would like to create a pond in your garden, get expert advice on the best location for it, and the appropriate size and shape for your needs. Water features come in a variety of sizes and designs to suit all tastes, but if you are looking at including one, set it to have a gentle, quiet flow rather than loud, fast gushing. Flowing water is an effective way of blocking out traffic and other noise, which will help you to unwind. You could also invest in a few wind chimes or set up outdoor speakers so you can play soft music into the garden.
Flowers and herbs
If possible, stick to just one or two colours for flowers to avoid everything looking and feeling overpowering. Choose flowers with a pleasant scent such as honeysuckle and jasmine. Lavender is another good suggestion, as its flowers are beautiful and the smell is known for being relaxing. To make sure the garden stays looking its best from month to month, go for some plants that flower for long periods, or even some that last all year. If you work long hours and are not keen on having regular work to do to in the garden, go for options that are low maintenance as well. Speak to staff at your local garden centre for advice on what is best to buy. Other herbs with nice scents include rosemary, thyme and mint, so these would be ideal additions to your herb garden.
Look into lighting
The right lighting can really set the mood. Solar lights are a popular option for on tables, because they don’t require electricity to use and are an environmentally friendly option. The lights automatically come on at night. Candles are also great for entertaining after dark, and there are many different scented options available. If you’d like lights for a special occasion, why not check out some outdoor party lights? These sets plug in much like Christmas tree lights and are a really effective but simple way of decorating the garden.
Be welcoming to wildlife
If you put bird boxes or bird tables in the garden, you can pretty much guarantee that birds will love them and will keep coming back looking for food.You can buy these or have a go at making your own. The sound of birds making themselves at home can really lift your mood after a busy day.
Privacy is paramount
You’re never going to relax if your neighbours can see everything you’re up to. If noisy neighbours or prying eyes are a concern, either hedges or fencing can great options for ensuring your privacy. Another option is trellis. Plants and flowers can grow around this, giving you beautiful things to look at as well as the privacy you want.
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