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5 ways to prepare your outdoor entertaining space

Whether your outdoor area is a small balcony or a large yard, spring is the perfect time to prepare your outdoor areas for the warmer season: re-pot or buy new plants, update the garden furniture, ideas for shading…

1. add POTS of style

Pots are the perfect way to add greenery and colour to paved outdoor spaces and balconies. Depending on the space you have, large pots accommodate small trees, which are great for shade. Large pots look best when layered in groups with smaller ones, creating interesting layers. For very small areas, plants in pots can sit on shelves, tables or securely attach to handrails, and there are many cost-effective vertical garden systems in your local nursery of hardware store (you know I LOVE supporting local businesses).

Choose pots of varying heights – and don’t forget vertical gardens.
2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT MIX OF FURNITURE

It’s important you choose furniture that fits the scale of your outdoor area, and takes into account the number of people you’ll be regularly accommodating. You can more easily add extra guests to a round table than to a square one, however a rectangular table will pair well with a bench. Armchairs, long chairs and benches can be added to create separate seating and relaxing areas, but don’t overcrowd the space.

Offer a variety of seating, preferably in separate zones.
3. SELECT YOUR PLANTs  WISELY

The size of your outdoor area will dictate the size of your plants. Be careful to choose the right kind of tree, as roots can damage the surrounding area and maybe even the foundations of your home. Native trees are generally bullet-proof in our climate and can survive very dry times. A deciduous plant, however, provides the dual benefit of shading you from the strong sun and heat in summer, and allowing warmth through when the leaves fall in winter.

You can more easily add extra guests to a round table than to a square one.

Since plants actively start to grow around spring, now is a really good time to repot plants that have outgrown their original pot. Flowering plants are mostly seasonal and should be planted asap as these will bloom and expand at the first hint of spring. For the best result, layer these against green and leafy plants, or add them to a wall or hang from ceiling baskets.

Mulch looks great and helps protects plants.

On paved areas, trees will benefit from large openings in the ground to allow enough water through. Edging looks neat and will help keep the soil from being washed out. Short bushes will define the areas and soften the hard appearance of paved surfaces. And don’t forget the power of mulch: it looks and smells great, adds nutrients back into the ground, and most importantly, it provides a protective layer to keep moisture in and around the plants, saving the amount of water you need to use.

4. make sure you have shade

On hot days you’ll want to go outdoors to sit in the shade and enjoy the breeze. Perfect for a relaxing snooze, reading a book or sipping a drink with friends, the canopy of a large tree will offer shade and that uplifting contact with nature. Umbrellas, sails and cane canopies are all shade options to consider.

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Lounging and eating areas need shade.
5. Accessorise!

Can you add a water feature or bird bath? This helps with cooling down the area, and the soothing sound of water adds another relaxing element to your outdoor experience. It also attracts birds. Scatter around colourful cushions, add lighting, candles… if it’s truly an “outdoor room” then you need to make it as inviting as possible.

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I’ll leave you with my top tips:

  • Organise and style outdoor area so it is comfortable to use, not just beautiful

  • Add size-appropriate furniture and don’t overcrowd

  • Make it feel luscious and inviting with plants of varying heights

  • Enjoy the sunlight, but offer shaded areas

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