Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Outside living in style

Interior designer Sarah Berry advises on how make the most of your outdoor space

It is officially summer time and, whatever the weather, as I am determined to spend as much time outdoors as physically possible. While we can't rely on not needing umbrellas and wellies with depressing regularity, we can add a few things to our outdoor spaces that will allow us to enjoy the fleeting time between rain storms.

I've done a lot of work recently for people who are renting or don't plan on staying in their homes long term, so investment in their gardens isn't a priority. They do however want to maximise their enjoyment of their gardens and patios, so you have to think more about portable design strategies. Pots are the obvious solution here, allowing you to change the layout and structure of your garden with ease.

Berry's best bits

I love architectural grasses. Grasses hide a multitude of sins, camouflage ugly fences and have fabulous screening qualities as well as being gorgeous. Buy grasses in various sizes, colours and textures to create interesting backdrops, light them from underneath with plug in uplighters and marvel at the shadows and drama this will add to your garden at night. Pot up grasses in big beautiful pots and take them with you when you move.

Sarah Berry

I love fire pits. These are such a great addition to an outdoor space. You can fill with logs and have a manageable, contained fire in your garden - perfect for roasting marshmallows or huddling around as it gets cold. Or you can use it as a barbecue by adding grill and necessary accoutrements. They also provide a lovely decorative focal point which you canbuild your garden design around, plus they are portable, so perfect for renters.

Sarah Berry

I love globe lights. These look sensational strung around the garden with abandon and while normally paper lantern lights make me run for the hills, this is the place to use them to great effect. To create a lovely ambience for sultry garden supper parties or to just celebrate the lighter evenings (make sure you take down the paper ones when it rains though...)

I love succulents. These are one of my new obsessions, they are so pretty and come in so many beautiful shapes, colours and varieties. I love to see various containers and bowls of all sizes filled with these hardy little beauties and scattered liberally all over the garden as well as indoors. I used them recently in place of a traditional flower arrangement for a dinner party, they are perfect for a low key, laid back California vibe.

Sarah Berry

I love a garden swing. Few people have space for a full hammock or extensive garden seating, so this round swing seat is the perfect compromise; cosy with enough room to curl up with a book or snuggle with a loved one but compact enough not to entirely consume your patio. With outdoor seating I love to add lots of rugs, blankets and cushions. Don't be afraid of hauling your indoor furnishings outside, they work beautifully as long as you take care and don't allow them to get wet. I love to add a rug to gardens for parties, chuck on some cushions and you will find people sprawling cosily.

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