Over the last year, our lives have been completely topsy-turvy… Bedrooms got turned into home offices, the dining room became a school room, and the lounge became a makeshift gym/dance studio… Very little was normal, except for our outdoor space. Whether you own a large or small garden, a patio space, or even just a balcony, those spaces have become something we have all relished and escaped to for moments of ‘just feeling normal’.
Even though restrictions are lifting, our outdoor space continues to be a focal point. People everywhere are looking at ways they can improve or enjoy that ‘natural’ space, making it a bigger feature within their lives. So here is some inspiration for you to enjoy outdoor living this year…
Want to re-scape your outdoor space?
If you have a space big enough to completely renovate, then have a good think about changes and take a look online or in magazines for inspiration.
Create some movement by letting a path meander to different locations – a path should take you on a journey, so you can see and experience all areas of your garden – don’t just focus on going straight from A to B! Use hedging or borders to change the direction of your path, weave your way over a lawn to a pond or cosy seating area. Let your imagination flow and you can create a journey even in much smaller spaces that can lead you to some magical outdoor living areas.
A cosy snug or relaxation space
Is there anything better than escaping outdoors with your book or watching the stars of an evening? Snugs are perfect areas to relax in and where you can enjoy your space even in wet weather. On a grand scale this could mean an all-out summer house, whilst on a smaller level it could mean fitting a closed-gap timber frame or arbour for an element of shelter, or just a simple hammock where you can lie back and let your worries slip away…
But, a snug is not a snug without comfort. Here you can be as arty, extravagant, or as minimalist as you choose!
Outdoor cushions are fantastic at adding a splash of colour and comfort to your seating. Many outdoor cushions are made using water repellent fabric, so they can withstand the odd rain shower; others don’t have any weather protection – always be aware of what the fabric is made of when you purchase them so you can care for them appropriately.
If you purchase standard cotton-based cushions then prepare them for use outdoors. Don’t risk your cushions gaining weight from water absorption and taking ages to dry out; by applying a water repellent coating with Nikwax Cotton Proof, they will withstand rain and dry out quicker, thereby protecting the fabric from deteriorating if they get caught in the elements.
For water repellent cushions, be conscious of cleaning away dirt from their time spent outdoors. We all know that dirt will prevent the water repellency from working to its full potential. Tech Wash® is the best way to keep your water repellent cushions clean and looking good as new, plus, it will help revive the water repellent coating.
Add comfort underfoot
Perhaps you have a patio, balcony or decking area, whereby you sit and enjoy the surrounding view, or perhaps entertain friends and family on a warm summer’s day when the bbq is sizzling. However, you feel it is missing something…. An outdoor rug?
It may sound a bizarre item to have outdoors, but yes, rugs are rising in popularity. A rug not only provides a sense of luxury underfoot when its warm and you want to kick your shoes off, it also gives an understated touch of style around your seating area. A rug can define a living area in your outdoor space, especially so if you keep the rest of your surroundings focused on nature and plants. They are designed to be hard-wearing to cope with all manner of weather, so don’t make the mistake and simply pop your indoor rug outside because you could quickly find it deteriorates due to exposure to rain and UV rays.
Made out of similar fabric to garden drapes, rugs are often water resistant, meaning they will dry quicker if caught in heavy rain. But, you still need to keep them in prime condition and performing well if they are to last. Like garden drapes, simply use our Tent & Gear range if your rug is made from Olefin fabric, to ensure they last.
Spruce up your pergola
Pergolas are popular in outdoor spaces, both for their architectural impact as well as their ability to provide an area of shade. Weave wisteria across the roof so you can breathe in its heady scent during summer, perhaps attempt to grow grapes, or just leave it bare over the top with the beams providing a shading element. But, what if you want to add just that different touch to it?
Drapes can soften the look of rugged timber whilst giving you an element of privacy, plus, depending upon the fabric, they can dampen out noise whilst you sit leisurely within the space.
For a more ethereal look, you may choose a gauzy fabric that moves lightly with the breeze and provides a degree of visibility. Surround yourself with beautiful meadow or cottage garden flowers and you have your own ‘secret garden’ space to enjoy.
Many of the hard-wearing pergola drapes (or curtains) are made out of Olefin (polypropylene) fabric, which is UV-resistant and easy to clean. However, don’t just clean with any standard detergent. To ensure your outdoor drapes last, keep them cleaned and proofed with Nikwax. Tent & Gear SolarWash® is easy to apply by hand to remove all dirt that builds up. It will revive any water repellency on the fabric whilst providing additional protection from harmful UV rays that can destroy the fabric tear strength. If you feel that your drapes are starting to absorb water in the rain, then apply Tent & Gear SolarProof®, when cleaning alone no longer revives the performance. It leaves a safe, water repellent treatment over all of the fabric, ensuring your garden drapes last for longer.
For the kids
Children love spending time outdoors and it is definitely better for their health, so make your garden space an adventure for them too. A canvas tipi or small synthetic tent becomes a perfect garden den for them to enjoy. They would have their own safe little hideaway where they can play games and have fun, whilst embracing the fresh air and green space around them. Decorate the outside with solar fairy lights, place giant beanbags inside for seating and they can spend hours enjoying their home-from-home. Protect canvas tipis or tents from summer rainstorms with Cotton Proof and use our Tent & Gear range for synthetic tents to keep your little ones dry and keep your gear performing year after year…