Summer is on the horizon, warm weather is on its way (at some point, I promise!) and it’s time to zhush up your garden…..
Late spring/early summer is my favourite time of year and outside is my favourite place to be, so it only makes sense that zhuzhing the garden (ie getting it ready for eating, sitting and relaxing in is up there in my list of top home-based pursuits. Just to clarify – I’m not talking about gardening here – I may love my garden, but I’m no way an expert – nor am I going to touch on furniture sets – what I’m talking about are the added extras that add the finishing touch to your outside space. Whether you have a large country pad or a small city flat with a balcony, there’s a lot you can do to get it ready for that first baking hot weekend of the year…
I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to have a reason to decorate your garden. If it makes you happy, then that’s enough, and paper honeycombs make me very happy. I’ve previously used honeycombs as inside decorations, but last year, I strung them up in the branches of a tree in our garden and was thrilled with how pretty they looked. Surprisingly hard-wearing they were left out for weeks, although if heavy rain is forecast, I would take them down. Deco Pom Poms has a fantastic range of honeycombs in different colours and shapes including pretty blush heart-shaped ones, which would be perfect for a wedding. Also try Talking Tables for honeycomb decorations available in mixed size or single packs in traditional honeycomb or bauble shapes. If you prefer the look of lanterns, then The Hanging Lantern Company is a great source. Then, of course, there’s bunting which can be hung almost anywhere from the railings of a balcony to between trees in a larger garden. My White Company cotton bunting has been going for years and is incredibly hard-wearing, having been left out in all kinds of weather (although this probably isn’t advised!) And this bunting incorporating LED lights is a very clever idea from Waitrose.
I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like a string of tree lights at dusk or in the evening, and thankfully most garden centres sell them. Solar-powered lighting is brilliant, although for darker areas, battery operated lights might be the answer. Cox & Cox are fabulous for garden decor and have a great selection of outdoor lights including these bulb lights, which can be strung up in the trees or along a fence. These garland lights are also very pretty. Having popped onto the Waitrose website to hunt out the solar bulb lights I bought last year, I was pleasantly shocked by the amount of outdoor light options they have. These vintage lightbulbs are solar-powered and coming soon. I also really like these bauble tealight holders and these vintage tealight holders. Finally, Lights4Fun is an online company that I discovered through Dr Google. They have a huge range of fabulous indoor and outdoor lights as well as a host of swoon-worthy garden light imagery (as above).
There’s a whole school of thought (and retail) dedicated to the idea of making your garden an ‘outside room’. When the sun shines, I’m totally on board with that, which is why I love the idea of an outside rug. Green Decor is a new-to-me company specialising in eco-friendly outside decor. Their site is a treasure trove of loveliness and their recycled rugs (which are wipe clean and UV treated so they won’t fade in the sunshine) are stunning and very reasonably priced. There are so many to choose from, but this dark blue fresco style, Nirvana pink and white rug and Gala turquoise rug stood out for me. John Lewis also have a small selection of washable ones, which would make a nice base for an inside/out look. Maisons du Monde‘s selection is even better with cushions, parasols and other garden deco to add to the mix. La Redoute also have a good selection ranging from striped to palm print, although it’s this faded red geometric one, which ticks the boxes for me. On top of the rug you may need some cushions and these Moroccan-inspired flat cushions from The White Company would work perfectly for garden picnics or even as chair cushions. Whilst they’re not outside cushions per se, I love the look of Anna Cox‘s colourful Moroccan designs and think they’d be perfect in the garden on a hot day. Her throws would also make great tablecloths.
Natasha wrote about table scaping in a previous post, but I wanted to tell you about some of the gorgeous dining sets I’ve discovered whilst idly window shopping online. I was given some Anthropologie melamine plates for my birthday a few years ago and I loved them so much, I went back and bought more. These are similar and are as good for summers outside as they are for winters inside. M&S are also very good when it comes to picnic/outdoor tableware – I use their melamine bowls for my children – these are quite kitsch and fun, although there really is a whole host to choose from. Laura Ashley are also in on the garden act and have lots of outside tableware to choose from (and on sale) – this flamingo platter caught my eye. And, for a pretty (and easy) touch, just pick flowers from the garden to place in small vases along the table.
Finally – what’s a summer garden with a few added extras? Wandering around John Lewis this morning, I spied a croquet set, which is always fun after a few glasses of wine. Or how about giant jenga or a game of boules? Parasols are probably quite a niche requirement, but having seen these ones at the House & Garden Spirit of Summer fair last year, I’m fully on board. Handmade in India and Bali, the parasols sold by the East London Parasol Company are true works of art. Just add sunshine. They also sell beautiful block printed table cloths and cushions, which are well worth checking out. And then? Just add sunshine…..