Reclaim the Outdoors
In an age when staying in is the new going out and our homes are having to meet more needs than ever before, once-neglected outdoor spaces are becoming prized real estate.
Words by Natasha Were.
Lockdowns have highlighted the fact that, rather than automatically seeking recreation, relaxation or entertainment elsewhere, we can build those experiences into our own homes. Outdoor spaces – whether it’s a terrace, deck, garden or yard – are brimming with possibilities. REAL LIFE asked local outdoor specialists and garden suppliers for their tips and recommendations for getting maximum use from outdoor spaces.
With crowds having become something to avoid, and prolonged periods in enclosed spaces no longer advisable, entertaining outdoors is the preferred option for social gatherings. And for that you need the right set up: ready-made outdoor bars and weather-resistant bar carts have seen a surge in demand from those who like to whip up a cocktail at sundown, whilst keen cooks are increasingly looking at the option of cooking outdoors, rather than being stuck in the kitchen while guests mill outside. The options range from building full outdoor kitchens, with a sink, fridge and oven to more portable barbecues and grills.
For those with limited space, the versatility and quality of the Big Green Egg, from Bon Vivant, is hard to beat. Available in various sizes, this gem grills, bakes, roasts, smokes and sears food to perfection, in one compact but hard-wearing device.
For the show-cook, A. L. Thompson’s stock the Bull BBQ 4-Burner Gas Grill, which can be built-in or free-standing. A 30-inch grill hood conceals cooking grates, stainless steel burners, a warming rack and a rotisserie kit, all lit by built in lights, ideal for the ultimate cookout.
EXTENDED LIVING SPACE
When the aim is to make outdoor spaces an extension of the indoors, you’ll want to create an easy flow between the two. Sliding or folding glass doors that allow a complete indoor/outdoor living experience are the first step, but to create a truly seamless transition, continuous flooring is key. An excellent option is the Woodspirit Collection wood-look tiles, available in a variety of warm and cool tones from ITC, that are suitable for both indoor and outdoor settings.
Outdoor furniture needs to be able to weather sun, salt and humidity, but consumers are moving away from plastic and increasingly opting for natural materials that are durable, attractive and more sustainably manufactured. Four Hands’ collection of outdoor furniture (available at Living.ky) made from teak, rope and ethical, sun-resistant textiles delivers sophistication and longevity in soothing shades of beige and grey.
A POOL TO KEEP COOL
For those with the space and budget to do so, a private pool is a must-have. Whether that’s a pretty plunge pool for a quick dip, a splash pool where the kids can play, or a long lap pool where you can get a daily workout in, companies such
YOUR PRIVATE RETREAT
If the garden is where you go to get away from it all, appropriate a section that you can turn into a reading nook, a meditation corner or a workout space. If what you really want is to chill out, install a decadent daybed: we love the Panama Jack Bridge Hampton Daybed, available at Brand Source, which allows you to draw the curtains around you and lie back in blissful solitude.
SOUND AND LIGHT
Whether you love to entertain or prefer to keep home time for family, if you want to use your outdoor space at night as well as by day, you’ll need lighting and music. There are endless options for LED garden lights, solar-powered lights and strings of fairy lights to illuminate the outdoors, and speaker options range from a simple Bluetooth speaker to a fully landscaped loudspeaker system like the Paradigm Garden Oasis available at Creative Tech – but perhaps the ultimate accessory is the Graycastle Blazing Beats Firepit, from Home Gas, which plays your music whilst the flames move in sync with the beat, for your very own sound and light show.
The benefits of proximity to nature are well documented and today’s homeowners see gardens more as places to nurture nature than to dominate it. From growing your own herbs and vegetables to creating a safe haven for wildlife, the more diversity the better. If you’re limited by space, even a few herbs grown in pots – such as the 3” porcelain planter set from Vigoro - will add life, greenery and fragrance to your outdoors, while Design Studio’s hanging Birdy Bird Feeder will attract feathered friends without taking up any floor space at all.
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