Steve Tonks, General Manager at Boningale Garden Creations provides his top design tips
We may live in a temperate climate, but that’s no reason for our gardens to be used only during the few weeks that we enjoy hot, sunny days.
It’s easy to turn your garden into a room you can use all year round – all you need to do is take a little time to think carefully about the design, making sure it fits in with your needs.
The first thing to do is decide what your priorities are. If you want to use your outdoor space to cook and eat outside, then there are plenty of options to choose from, from barbecue to increasingly popular pizza oven.
Complement this cooking area with a cosy entertaining space, complete with a table, comfy outdoor sofas and chairs, so you can enjoy a relaxed meal in comfort.
Consider building a low wall around your seating area, and add some strategically placed lighting and heating. This will not only make it a more intimate, “room-like” space, it will also help you feel less exposed to the elements.
A canopy is another great option: not only will it shade you from the height of the sun, when we get it, it will also provide some much-needed shelter when the heavens open!
You should also consider creating a seamless pathway from indoors to outdoors (make the garden an integral part of the home). Use materials and hard landscaping in complementary colours. If you decide to use decking to complement a wooden floor, make sure the boards run in the same direction as the flooring in your home – this will ensure a better flow.
The choice of paving can also make a real difference to the look and feel of your garden. Get a few samples and see how they look in their intended space, particularly if they are right against your property. Pour some water on them, too; you may find the colours are completely different when they have been rained on!