Create an idyllic outdoor hideaway to sit back, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature with top design advice from Country Homes & Interiors...
Make a statement with an architectural water feature
Handmade terracotta pots make captivating water features. These pots from Pots and Pithoi are fired in a kiln using olive pips and grape seeds to give them a unique colouring. Choose a ribbed pot to see the ripples of water cascading or a smooth one for a sculptural effect. Including an internal light creates a dramatic look in the evenings.
Lay a rustic stone terrace
Try large flagstones - choose from antique-finished limestones and marbles to naturally riven slates and sandstones. Available in pale buff shades through to greys and blacks, you can buy different thicknesses from Mandarin Stone to create a seamless finish between indoor and outdoor living.
Include a romantic feature gate
Whether linked to fencing or positioned alone to frame a vista, the arch is a traditional garden feature. This rose arch and moon gate from Stuart Garden Architecture creates an attractive centrepiece and an inviting entrance to another area of the garden. Handcrafted in durable hardwood with a traditional mortise and tenon construction, the gates have a planed and sanded finish.
Display plants beautifully
If ground planting space is limited, an open wirework balcony is a smart alternative to a standard window box. Balconies can be fitted at the base of a window even if there is no window ledge or you can position them directly against a wall. Why not plant your favourite herbs within snipping distance of the kitchen window?
Link different parts of the garden with a pergola
A pergola is an effective way to lead from one section of the garden to another. Positioning several pergolas along a path creates an open structured walkway that allows you to catch glimpses of other areas within the garden. This gothic pergola has an arch for added height and the robust framework is substantial enough to train apple trees, laburnum or wisteria over.
Create a shaded seating area
An elegant arbour provides a place to relax out of direct sunlight and gives a feeling of privacy. It's the perfect place to admire your garden from - but sight lines are shortened at seating height, so take this into account when choosing the right spot. Constructed mainly from hardwood, this Windsor arbour from HSP Garden Buildings has trellised sides to support climbers and a lead roof that develops a lovely patina over time.
Pick elegant planters
Placing a tall zinc planter either side of a path helps to draw the eye onwards into the garden, enticing the viewer to continue their journey. Dramatic large-scale planters have the wow factor in their own right, while framing the entrance gives the path symmetry. The planters look particularly elegant planted with formal box balls.
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