Pimp up your patio with these nine ideas for outdoor spaces

Best in class: Fresh ideas for outdoor living from furniture and awnings to tiles and timber


There are many ways to work a small outdoor space that will transform it into a smart terrace, a space to enjoy now that the mercury is rising. The soon-to-open Terrace at The Shelbourne offers a plethora of ideas, like the 19th century cast iron columns, salvaged from a railway station, a gas-operated fire, selected by designer Guy Oliver of Oliver Laws, and fabricated locally that will make the outdoors seem welcoming on even overcast days. Special Ocean Master umbrellas by Tuuci, which stands for "the ultimate umbrella company inc", built to withstand yachting conditions, as well as shield sun and rain, have been installed with both heaters and lighting. These can be sourced from UK-based Gaze Burvill which supplied the outdoor sofas. The terrace opens on June 6th. theshelbourne.com; oliverlaws.com; tuuci.com; gazeburvill.com


This Babylon collection from Italian firm Varaschin is exclusive to Bushell Interiors and the elegant range includes a sofa, a side table and even a pouf in this varnished aluminium and weather-proof synthetic rope weave by Giopato & Coombes. It comes in both indoor and outdoor versions. The two-seat sofa, featuring dry feel foam and an outdoor fabric, costs €6,530, the matching armchair costs €3,210 while the coffee table, finished in Carrera marble, costs €2,490. The firm currently has a showroom display set that is being sold for €6,950, a saving of 43 per cent and includes free delivery within Dublin city. varaschin.it; bushellinteriors.com


This is an idea that you can, in theory, lay in an afternoon, conceal a lawn that is perhaps going to seed, without the need for mixing, pouring and levelling of concrete. The Ceppo di gres slabs, 60cm squares, are 2cm thick and cost €100 per sq m from Italian Tile & Stone. But while it is possible to lay pavers such as these directly onto the ground, if you don't want them to sink, become uneven or crack, you will need to do some digging and install a durable base on which to lay them. Tiles.ie


If you fancy eating al fresco on your terrace, why not invest in the same kind of classic, ambient lighting that illuminates guests in your dining room? These new ceramic and glass body, cordless lamps, feature battery cells and vintage-style LED bulbs, and are handmade in the UK by master craftsmen. After you've eaten you can move to a sofa area and bring the light with you. Prices range from €1,511-€2,910 for the standard collection but the firm also does one-off designs, its 24ct gold and blue lamp, for example. Prices for these start from about €18,600. alexanderjoseph.co.uk



Simple plinths can be used to form tables and seat bases that you then decorate with downy soft cushions as this imaginative idea by The White Company illustrates. The scatter striped seat covers, pictured to the fore, costs €46 each, while the Rivoli linen white scatters come in two sizes and cost €65 and €52, as do the herringbone covers respectively €46 and €33. The dark grey Chesterton lanterns, set between the seats, are priced €124 for the large and €52 for the medium; the black metal filigree hanging lanterns cost €33 each while the domed candle holder and small tray on the timber table costs €33. The tassel bunting, €26, is a delightful addition. thewhitecompany.com


Lay claim to a tiny back yard by colour blocking it using an intense shade of richly pigmented paint whose colour will deepen when the sun shines. MRCB Paints suggests Benjamin Moore Aura exterior flat paint. You can use it on pretty much any surface, tall wood panels, for example, to give you extra privacy. It costs €34.95, for a quart, and €99.95 for a gallon and creates a focal point, even on inclement days. But when the sun shines you can soak its rays on this smart Lois sun lounger, a metal frame design available in two shades of grey, that is set upon a durable, synthetic wicker seat. It costs €199 to order from Marks and Spencer. marksandspencer.ie; mrcb.ie


If your outdoor furniture has seen better days then some judiciously positioned, old-fashioned florals might be just the distraction it needs. A fabulous print can double as a tablecloth, as this floral stripe trimmed with Austen sunshine, both about €42 per linear metre; cushions, €46.50; seat pads, about €23.50; tumblers, €6 each; while the acrylic champagne flutes and wine glasses are all €7 each; the sandwich tray, about €14, and tropical sets of bowls, €21, plates, €20, tumblers, €12, jug, €19, are all from Laura Ashley melamine range. lauraashley.com


A secret place to lap up the sun is The Nurserie, at the Dylan Hotel. It has rope furniture by Ethimo and Gescova, and a smart striped awning whose tension system features a wave-format fabric that is visible when you look up and is available in about 100 different colour options, as well as a waterproof layer above. The med Quadra pergola is a custom, retractable design by Gibus that includes guttering and downpipes and costs about €30,000. Similarly high spec designs for the home cost from about €10,000 for an awning about four metres squared from Awnings. awnings.ie; ethimo.com/en; gescova.be/en; dylan.ie


A terrace can be constructed around mature planting and/or established trees. A mature tree, like the apple pictured here, in the back of a mews house project in Ranelagh by Phillippa Buckley of Studio 44, offers shade and colour to contrast with the granite paving underfoot. The white-washed Kettler wicker lounger, €450 each, can be ordered from Santry-based Outhaus. outhaus.ie