Household

Top tips to turn your garden into a living room

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8th August 2016

Do you dream about expanding your living space? Having more room to relax, enjoy family activities or simply rejuvenate creates a comfortable home for every member of the family.

To help get you started, here are some top tips:

 1. Lighting

There are plenty of options to choose from, both practical and on trend. To enjoy your backyard getaway after the sun sets, include outdoor lighting. At its most basic, this consists of porch lights that illuminate access to the house and provide ambient lighting.

For outdoor kitchens, you'll need good task lighting over the grill and work areas. For the dining and conversation areas, candlelight, wallmount downlights, or dimmable electric lamps create a relaxed mood. Steps and walkways should be illuminated for safety.

You can also use solar-powered accent lights or low-voltage lights to add drama and interest to the landscape and to highlight paths. Combine a mix of lighting sources to make your backyard getaway a magical place after dark.

2. Seating and furniture

If you're planning on making the most of your outdoor space and socialising with friends into the evening, then comfort is king. Make sure you buy appropriate furniture for lounging as well as dining. A pagoda or gazebo is always a good idea to provide much needed shade or rain protection. Children love the freedom of the garden so throw down some blankets and cushions for them so they can eat and play as they wish and keep the big comfy seating for the grown-ups.

3. Home grown

Make the most of the summer harvest by using as much as you can from the garden. Lavender can make a lovely table centrepiece and utilising home grown fresh fruit and veg in your salads and pudding can only serve to impress your guests and show off (or pretend) how green fingered you are.

4. Fire pits

Choose the one that's right for your garden space. Large ones may offer more in terms of heat and lighting but there are more compact gel fuel alternatives that provide a decorative option and can even fit on a suitable table, ideal for smaller patio areas. Some garden tables even come with a small fire pit built in.

5. Dressing your space

You'd choose a colour scheme for the inside of your house, so do the same for your outside space. For ease, you can opt for a similar style to your interior design scheme and give some of your colourful cushions an outside airing to add interest to plain furniture. Colourful furniture is available to buy but for longevity it may be better to plump for funky accessories.

6.  Add a Hot Tub or Spa

For long, relaxing soaks at the end of the day, a hot tub or spa out on the deck is a must-have luxury. To determine the best location for the spa, consider privacy, access to the house, and whether you want the tub in sunshine or shade.

A typical round hot tub is 6 feet in diameter and takes up about 30 square feet. A rectangular tub requires about 48 square feet. You'll also need additional room for sitting and walking around the tub.

Bear in mind that a hot tub full of water may weigh 2 tons, so it will need a foundation independent of the deck's foundation.

7. Define Spaces with Outdoor Structures

A gazebo adds another level of luxury to your outdoor oasis. Whether attached to the deck, set near a pool, or planted in the landscape, a gazebo is an outdoor room in its own right and offers a protected spot for dining, cooking, or relaxing.

Pergolas, trellises, and arbors can also be used to define activity zones in your backyard paradise. Use them to create focal points, separate areas according to function, or provide transitions from one area to another.

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