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How to make the most of your outdoor space (even if it’s tiny)

a5717a775843268773f3db802c71bc13Small garden? Me too. And yet we’re currently spending nearly all our time out there. I started this post with my feet in a homemade tent (complete with tea towel “curtains”) and ended it perched next to the open doors as darkness fell and the (solar-powered) lights strung in the apple tree started to glow. Use it wisely, and even the smallest outdoor space turns into an extra room in the home. Here’s how to make the most of yours…

Our garden is a small London plot, but it works hard. This is largely down to the talented Joanna Archer who redesigned the space to my rather vague brief of ‘low maintenance, child-friendly cottage garden’. That was back when my daughter was tiny, and today I look out the French doors over a small (fake) grass area (perfect for fairy tents, cars and a bistro table and chairs); through an arch laden with jasmine; to a cobbled area fringed with lavender, hydrangeas, an apple tree and potted herbs and geraniums. I’ve added to it over time: we have hanging baskets (including strawberries this year) and some David Austin roses. It’s small, but lovely. On warm evenings (or even warmish evenings), after the little ones are abed, we like to sit on the bench and chat.

Seating

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We have two seating areas: a bistro table and chairs to catch the morning sun, and a bench for the rest of the day (and it’s the perfect spot for a glass of wine of an evening…). Our table and chairs were from Homebase (these and these are similar, and just £69.99). I love the blue set [above], £115 from Garden Trading. And how much fun is this from Oliver Bonas (table and chair both now £38 each)?

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Alternatively, how about a hanging chair? This one from The White Company currently has 20% off (now £260).

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Consider adding cushions. We have some tasseled numbers from The White Company which are thrown on our bench cvery sunny morning.

Add a mirror

0c5fe1f37390a61cf5431d929bcb459dI should really listen to my mother and do just this. I keep thinking if I put one on the back wall it would bounce light back into the garden – and make it appear as though it goes further. This one is from Sandedge which has a good selection. The one at the top of this post is £125 from Cox & Cox– they also have this very nice chapel mirror.

And some huge pots

74d5375118837009a8bf905c6706b344Wait, what? Small space; big pots? Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive, but forget cluttering small spaces with oodles of little pots (says she, looking out at her “herb patch” of several pots) and go for a few statement pots with bold plants. Try Crocus for a fine selection or the aptly-entitled More Than Pots still has a lot of, um, pots.

P.S. You can apply the same scale to plants

Dine al fresco

2dfee7078b6b2bd5eba29a989f3a6cc8Okay, so this is – admittedly – more by way of example (although since her move to the country, Alex truly has a garden with a view.*Makes mental note to visit her again soon*). I promise, a teeny bistro table and a bench can easily accommodate four diners. Just add great accessories. Like a water jug (go for something sensible, if you’re worried about breakages – it also comes with wine glasses. And they’re all on sale. Bonus).

 

 

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