Fancy creating your very own French-style bolthole right outside your back door? Or perhaps you would rather transform your plot with the quintessential cottage-garden look. Many of us crave a garden retreat that we can escape to when life gets tough. So whether you’re totally green fingered or a city slicker, we’ve got your outside space covered. Don’t forget to add all-important charm with quirky touches – hunt out garden signs, unusual pots or a statue. Even if you only have a small garden, you can still create a mini garden retreat. Brighten a quiet corner with a fresh lick of paint, cheery doormats and displays of spring bulbs. Display an array of kitsch and quirky accessories, such as this birdhouse for a scheme that wouldn’t look out of place in a country garden.
Mat and thermometer
Labour and Wait
Brighten a quiet corner with a fresh lick of paint, cheery doormats and displays of spring bulbs. Display an array of kitsch and quirky accessories, such as this birdhouse for a scheme that wouldn't look out of place in a country garden.
The British summer is a capricious mistress, so it's not surprising that we rebuff the idea of investing in expensive garden furniture, but a few key pieces can really lift a scheme. For vintage appeal, give a cottage garden a boost with some interesting architectural antiques. An oversized antique clock, a painted iron bench and galvanised steel buckets and urns provide visual interest, while pretty cushions and blankets add an air of gentle romance.
Is your garden (or life) in disarray? This smart herb plant stand also makes a brilliant organiser for all that paraphernalia we need to eat outdoors. Slick matte-black industrial style contrasts with shots of vivid colour. With such clever organisation and a place for everything from napkins to straws, entertaining the gang alfresco is sure to be a stress-free affair.
If floor or worktop space it at a premium, consider planting up. A wooden stage will help you do that. Alternative presentation of potted salads and herbs on a staging like this one provides an attractive display in the garden. Or try planting sweet-smelling lavender for an aroma that will have the birds - and you - singing.
Whatever your budget or size of garden, there's a host of clever design ideas that can transform it into a natural extension of your home. How about a place to study? Yes, really! Take indoor furniture outside in the warm, summer months to create a space that is inspiring. Paint or decoupage seating to introduce a playful aspect to otherwise neutral furniture.
Similar decoupage stool
With summer approaching, it's time we got our gloves on and got those hands dirty. After spending a day toiling in the fields, create a dedicated garden room for all your botanical offerings. Here, botanical fabrics are teamed with utilitarian furniture and lighting to create a practical, rustic garden room. Don't throw out your old terracotta pots, steel containers and plastic planters. Store them on an open shelf to create a pretty display.
Don't have a garden? No problem! Create a pretty display along a balcony railing. Steel containers make excellent planters. Usually known for their industrial edge, these sturdy pieces can also be used to create a pretty garden display when accompanied by planters in various shapes and sizes. For added oomph, use a combination of steel planters, glass jars and candles.
Hook rail and pots
Painting and stencilling a planter like this gives an elegant twist to a herb garden and means plants can be changed and moved around with the seasons. Keep them well watered so they flourish during the hot months. Great for kids, it will give them something to look after.
Vintage garden furniture adds to the character and atmosphere of this fragrant and relaxing herb garden. Use a light palette to stop a north-facing garden looking dull. Here, a yellow ladder adds a welcome burst of vibrant colour. Ladders can be so much more than just pieces of equipment - display one elegantly and creatively in your garden for an easy country touch.
If you're lucky enough to have a greenhouse, don't let it go to waste. Bring in potting benches or staging to give growing room to as many plants as possible. You can control the temperature, so it is the perfect environment for growing vegetables, fruits and hardy plants. This Victorian greenhouse with a striking wood-and-metal framed roof houses several hardy cacti species.