Whether you've got a tiny urban courtyard or manicured lawns sweeping down from a grand country house - or something in between - choosing the right garden furniture and ornament will create an inviting outdoor room to help you make the most of the summer. Contemporary furniture and statuary can look stunning in a period setting. Likewise, a pretty bistro set surrounded by frothy planting in clusters of different-height pots will transform a modern courtyard. When you look at your space, decide who will use it, how they’ll use it and when, and remember you don’t have to compromise on style, comfort or longevity. Here are our top tips for creating your perfect outdoor room, no matter how big or small your garden, or its age.
Pretty cottage gardens, sunny courtyards or bijou modern plots…the Artisan Gardens at RHS Chelsea and the Hampton Court Festival are always proof that small really can be beautiful. And size doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the style of furniture or ornament you choose.
Longing for an outdoor sofa? Smaller gardens may not have room for a big modular sofa, weighty armchairs and a large coffee or dining table, but there are plenty of options. Comfy three-seater sofas like the Compton, with plenty of room to stretch out in the sun, looks stunning in a small country garden dressed with striped cushions and linen throws. Paired with a simple teak table and clusters of terracotta pots, or stamped metal planters filled with evergreens like Buxus, or a topiary bay underplanted with frothy annuals, it’ll quickly become your go-to summer spot. Compact casual dining sets like the Ascot have plenty of room for eight adults to lounge and then dine in comfort thanks to the adjustable-height table - and it takes up just 3m sq of space. Teamed with galvanised planters filled with architectural planting to add height and interest, it is the ideal dual-purpose set for the smaller, modern garden.
For a contemporary courtyard, choose a bistro set like the Hellasgarden, with its edgy Scandinavian styling and nautical rope detailing. Place striking modern bronzes like Karen Bird’s ‘Helen’ in a shady border, or fill antique copper planters with decorative grasses and taller evergreens to add movement and texture.
No, the style of your garden doesn’t always have to mirror the style of your house. But when it comes to creating a welcoming garden in an urban setting, contemporary furniture, modern statuary, clever lighting and a striking water feature will help create a chic, industrial look - while keeping comfort high on the agenda. Think aluminium and rattan in modern shades of grey and taupe.
Smart sofas like the three-seater Ravello, with its two roomy armchairs, footstool and long, low coffee table is as home in a waterside setting as it is on a modern terrace. To dine in style, try the Salerno HPL table made from state-of-the art high-pressure laminate, which gives a beautiful patina and an incredible life-span. Team it with a choice of four different chair types in shades of anthracite and ice and add oversized French glazed pots in popping shades of olive and mustard to add a sense of scale and soften the look.
A formal dining set like the Monterey in stylish dove grey is made for long, lazy lunches on a modern patio, while the Scandinavian-inspired Hellasgarden sofa set - which comes with two armchairs, a footstool and two teak side tables - is both chic and supremely comfortable. Contemporary loungers from ranges like the Kona are perfect poolside for sunbaked holiday homes or English gardens alike.
If you’re lucky enough to have sweeping lawns and established trees and shrubs in your garden, your options are almost endless. It’s a chance to create different seating and dining areas, positioning statuary or antique urns to lead the eye from one area to another. Antique cider presses, old stone troughs, decorative stone planters filled with summer blooms and cast-iron pumps will make your garden look as if it’s always been there.
An elegant dining area is a must. Natural teak, which weathers to a beautiful silver, comes in the shape of the six-seater Rimini or Positano dining tables, with a choice of chairs to suit your style. Casual dining sets, like the Oakridge - which comes in left or right-handed versions to suit your terrace or patio - gives you a comfortable outdoor sofa with roomy benches, and an adjustable-height table to take you from lounging to dining in seconds.
Add pretty cushions grabbed from your sitting room, cosy throws for chilly evenings and vases of wild flowers and you’ve got the perfect outdoor room for day or night. Decorative wrought iron or smart teak benches are punctuation points in a country garden - places to stop and reflect, and to step away from the world for a while. Intersperse looping borders in full bloom with Roman figures and antique bird baths, place staddle stones artfully around your furniture and you have created an outdoor living room you’ll return to again and again.
Don't forget all our garden furniture is weatherproof and we are always here to help with your choices, answer your questions and chat through your ideas. Call 01886 884665 during opening hours to talk us.