Eight ways to turn your garden into a summer sitting room
Heat, lights and lots of greenery create an outdoor space you’ll want to hang out in
The barbeque is the ideal centrepiece for an summer garden.
Is it finally time to ready our outside spaces? If you don’t feel like brushing down the mossy patio furniture set that’s been outside all winter, take a look at some of the alternatives.
A slick way to ready a patio or balcony is an outdoor rug. It takes two minutes to roll it out and covers a multitude of sins including a failure to powerwash the patio or restain the decking. Usually made of polypropylene, Woven sells designs that start from about €35.
The Oaxaca Nanimarquina, however, is in a designer league of its own and has the look and feel of an indoor piece but offers outdoor resistance. At the upper echelons of the outdoor rug scale it costs about €1,575 ex delivery.
Gathering around a fire outdoors is one of life’s great pleasures. Elementi Fires, in Mynagh Lodge, between Kildare town and Monasterevin, has a selection of slick modern centrepiece that will help keep guests outdoors way into the long evenings.
The Metropolis table is made of a lightweight fibreglass and concrete mix, and can be ordered to burn either piped natural or propane gas in bottle. The former needs a piped gas extension and the latter uses a three-metre connection, long enough to hide. It costs €1700, including VAT, and measures 142cm long by 81cm wide and is 36cm from the ground.
If you’ve invited people over for a bite then Penney’s tropical collection riffs on the sugar high shades of the Caribbean evoking thoughts of hot sun and cold drinks. Recreate the ambiance in your back garden or nearby park with these paper plates priced at €6.
The stem glasses and tumblers are €4 each for a pack of four. The range also includes cool outdoor cushions, €10 each, and a selection of neon coloured citronella candles in tins, perfect to keep the midges and mosquitoes at bay, for €5 each.
Chesneys Heat and Grill is a fire pit come barbecue all rolled into. It does double duty on outdoor cooking and heating. Its black cast iron form also looks rather good and can be wheeled into the sunny part of the garden.
You can burn lumpwood charcoal or kiln dried logs in its glass-fronted fire but not the smokeless coal nuggets that you also see on sale. There is a grill where you can whip up a whole other slew of tasty bites.
Available from Fenton Fires, in Greystones, it costs €2,000, inclusive of VAT and comes with gloves, thermometer and shelving, pictured as well as a bag of the aforementioned fuel.
Loungers and lights
If you’re still at the planning stage of a garden then consider these Petal loungers, part of the Missoni Home collection, to create a sculptural, almost Henry Moore, feel. Made of polyethylene, their round forms complete with the cushions pictured, and can be ordered from Bottom Drawer at Brown Thomas, where they cost about €1500 each.
The charming Cordula outdoor lights, also pictured, come in three sizes; 10cm, 20 and 30cm, and start from €490. The little vest the lights wear can be ordered in several colours. Orders take about 30 days.
If your garden fencing or decking needs some attention then check out Cuprinol’s range, of garden shades, which offers a host of fashion colours for every kind of surface.
One litre tins, perfect for giving small bistro sets a refresh, costs about €7.35 while a five litre tin costs €25.25. Its Ducks Back is a protective application that should sustain the material for five-years and comes in eight tint colour.
It costs €9.68 for five litres and can be used to create interesting colour block effects. Tired decking looks completely revived when coated in Cuprinol’s anti-slip stain, €17.99 for 2.5 litres. This comes in six shade options.
A few select purchases can make even the smallest of spaces feel like an outdoor room. Argos Home’s global monochrome story offers water repellant jacquard motif, 60cm square floor cushions, 60cm, for €42.99 each with a contrasting zebra print 45cm squares, €18.99 each set on a polypropolene outdoor rug, 170cm by 90cm, €17.99.
The melamine tableware; dinner, €16.99, and side plates, €14.99, for respective sets of four and bubble goblets and high-balls, €15.99 each for a set of four all help set the scene. Weaver Green at Arnotts is another brand offering cool outdoor cushions, all made from recycled plastic bottles.
A traditional verandah conjures up gloriously romantic ideas of porch swings and tea taken outside but in Ireland the feature can feel dark especially on the dark summers days of late.
A glass alternative will keep rain off but allow light in. Room Outdoors, in Lisnagry, just outside Limerick city, has a smart aluminium frame solution, available in four RAL colours. The five metre by three metre Legend Edition pictured, costs about €6,700, including fitting and VAT.
A polycarbonate version is marginally cheaper, €5,300. Additional extras to the design, which can also be set up as a stand-alone garden room, include dimmable LED lights, heating and glass sliding walls.