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As the season for BBQs and alfresco breakfasts creeps closer, our attention has already started turning to our outdoor spaces – especially how we blur the boundaries between indoors and out.
But, with homeowners wondering where to begin and on the lookout for the most up-to-date garden ideas, St. Modwen Homes shares how to transform blank canvases (albeit green ones) to a crucial part of any new development home.
Looking into the top searches on Google such as ‘how to design your garden’ (up 60%), ‘low maintenance garden ideas (up 50%) and ‘small garden ideas’ (up 80%), the national and award-winning housebuilder reveals the most in-demand ways to transform green spaces this year.
Whether you have a neatly-kept balcony with just enough space for a table and chairs or a larger area to indulge in, thanks to minimal effort and some clever styling, your garden can become a distinct, furnished space in an instant…
85% of prospective property buyers say that a garden is top of their house hunting wish list. However, many new homeowners are yet to get their fingers green, so finding a way of maximising your garden with minimum effort is key. Google searches such as ‘garden layout ideas' (up 50%) indicates that turning an outdoor space from a blank slate into a useful space is high on the priority list for homeowners.
Luckily for those who are unfamiliar with DIY and gardening, choosing a low maintenance outdoor space naturally lends itself to inside-out living. Place furniture such as outdoor sofas and chairs on patios, throw down a woven outdoor rug, and add a fire pit to upgrade your garden into an inviting space to relax – complete with all the comforts of the interior.
Top Tip: No garden furniture? No problem! Grab a picnic blanket and outdoor pillows for a quick way to transform your garden space into a relaxing slice of calm.
Flowers are known to have a long term positive effective on your mood, and adding flowers to your garden can help with relaxation, creating more enjoyment in outdoor spaces. With Google searches such as ‘easy things to grow in a garden’ up 50%, it seems the nation is keen to get growing and access some flower-power in 2023.
Bulbs are an easy and fuss-free way to add colour to your garden. These low maintenance plants are the equivalent of ‘fit and forget’ in the garden world! Plant in early spring for bright summer flowers, or autumn to get those cheery first blooms of spring. Seeing the colours from your kitchen window is sure to bring a smile to your face, and you can enjoy them even more when you’re sat outside sipping a cold drink on a hot day.
If you’re keen to try your hand at growing some food, herbs are the perfect place to start. Beginner friendly herbs include rosemary, basil, and mint. Not only are they delicious in meals, but the scents will make your garden smell amazing!
Top tip: Plant herbs in strategic pots just a few steps from the kitchen so you can quickly nip out, snip off some leaves, and get cooking with your home-grown produce.
Light it up
Lights are an effective way to create an inviting space for guests, and the garden is no exception. The right lighting scheme is a vital part of any garden design, especially as the nights start to stretch out, creating a relaxing ambience for all to enjoy. Try adding ‘waterproof solar garden lights’ (up 100% on Google) for rain-proof radiance.
Alternatively, outdoor string lights are super versatile and ideal for adding that extra glow to your garden. ‘Wire string lights’ are set to be a hit this year, with searches up 50% on Google - loop them from your back gate into your seating area to direct your guests, or hang them along a fence to brighten up a night under the stars.
Top Tip: Keep neutral outdoor lights in warm or cool white up all year – they'll give friendly festive light in the winter and a warm glow on summer evenings.
British weather is not the most reliable, no matter the season. Luckily, adding a simple pergola can extend the amount of time you can spend in the open air. And with ‘pergola ideas for small gardens UK’ up 250% on Google, you know it’s a safe and stylish choice. Place over your patio to shelter your French doors and make the great outdoors a mere step away. Whether it’s a romantic date night, drinks around the fire pit with friends, a family barbeque or a kid’s summer party, pergolas never let you down – even if the British weather does.
Top tip: A patio heater is a great way to prolong the use of your outdoor space. A simple wall-mounted unit nestled under a pergola helps create a cosy cocoon of warmth for you (and your guests) to sit back and relax in.
The Lounge Life
Inside-out living is all about creating a space that has all the comforts of indoors combined with the health and wellbeing benefits of the great outdoors. After a long winter, our sofas need a break, so bring the homeliness of the front room to the garden. Opt for cosy chairs that entice you to spend your down time under the sky and out in the fresh air.
Top tip: For added warmth and an extra cosy factor, add an outdoor fire pit so you can enjoy the fresh air all year, even in the chillier nights of spring or autumn.
A Kitchen Affair
There is nothing better than alfresco dining on a warm summer evening with your loved ones. Eating dinner around the table every night can get quite mundane, so why not upgrade your garden and transform it into your second kitchen? Equip it with a pizza oven, BBQ, or fire pit and grill so you can cook up a storm. Or go a step further and install a whole outdoor kitchen – with Google searches for ‘outdoor kitchen unit’ up 130%, it seems the nation is keen to get cooking in the great outdoors this year.
Top tip: The best thing about having an outdoor kitchen is that you can cook for large groups without creating a huge mess in your beloved indoor kitchen. No need to worry about accidental spills and crumbs – simply sweep away!
So, your garden may be at the back of your house, but it should not be at the back of your mind. See your garden as an extension of your home, a ‘fifth room’ to make inside-out living part of your everyday routine. In no time you will start bringing family dinners, games, and your own personal downtime out into your outdoor space, ready to enjoy and unwind in nature.
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