How to make the most of your patio

As the days get longer and lighter you'll be spending more time outside. Find out how to make your outdoor space as gorgeous as your interiors.

1, Don’t rely on only natural light

One of the quickest and most effective ways to breathe new life into your patio?
Add some statement lighting! We love these fairy lights arranged into the star shape, but try mixing and matching different lighting options (everything from candelabras to garden flares and spotlights to lanterns) for a truly individual and evocative space. Warning: you’ll want to stay outdoors long after the sun’s gone down!

2, Use it as an extension of your kitchen

As it starts to get warmer chances are that you’ll be thinking about picnics and barbeques, so consider turning your terrace into a secondary dining space.
While eating al fresco is far from original, it is all too common to be forced into resorting to asking your guests to sit on a mismatched collection of camping chairs. Instead invest in a solid outdoor dining table which can stay outside whatever the weather. Take note from above and use a mixture of benches and seats to keep your options open.

3, Mix up your materials

It may be instinct to stick to woods and hard-wearing plastics when sourcing outdoor furniture, but it’s worth casting your eye towards fabrics as there are so many great weatherproof materials suitable for keeping in your garden. By adding in a couple of fabric sofas you’ll take your space from an area to briefly perch to one in which the whole family can relax in the summer.

4, Don’t be scared of digging down

Big landscaping projects can scare people off, but they can be easier than imagined. This terraced space has effectively created two different socialising areas by digging down and adding another level. One huge benefit? Let the kids play on the top section so they’re right in sight while you can have friends round for some Pimm’s in the lower seating area – everyone will be happy!

5, BYOB
(bring your own brights)

British weather can’t be relied upon – that’s something we can all agree on! So consider making sure your patio stays colourful no matter how grey the sky might be. Some weatherproof paint can create a statement wall and, for a full effect, add in some bright furniture to lighten up your decking or slates.
If you feel like getting extra creative, plan your flower planting for a colour scheme that extends beyond the predictable.

6, Use any space you have

No matter how small your terrace might be, if you have any outdoor space then there’s a way to utilise it! We adore the use of a hammock hung diagonally from wall to fence, forging a seating area which is both statement and, quite simply, fun. If you don’t have enough support to hold a hammock, try waterproof floor cushions or bean bags for a similar funky and irreverent feel.

All the latest from Ideal Home