Before and after: we turned our garden into an outdoor living room

An outdoor living room was top of the owners' wish list for the underused space at the far end of their garden

After extending their kitchen and adding bifold doors leading outside to a new patio area, the owners decided they wanted to make the entire garden feel like a part of the house. ‘Our priority was to create a comfy outdoor seating area,’ they say.

The brick wall at the rear of the garden had always been a favourite feature of the couple and it struck them that this area would work really well as an outdoor living room. They decided that decking would be the best option, as they could fit it themselves, so they sourced an affordable decking kit online.

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The pair had wanted an outdoor sofa for ages and finally took the plunge and ordered one from eBay. ‘When it arrived, we hated the cushions,’ they say. ‘They were an unexpected yellow colour, so we sold them and replaced them with smart grey ones from Ikea that we resized to fit.’

After 1 outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

This is the view from the seating area, back towards the house. The kitchen flows out on to the patio, which provides a second dining area for the family. It was this flow from the indoors to the outdoors that inspired the owners to create an outdoor living area in their garden.

View towards house outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

The shed was already part of the garden, but the simple addition of plants to the window box and a large potted tree has really helped to brighten it up. For continuity, the decking was colour matched to the shed – the light tone also helps to create the illusion of more space.

Garden shed outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

‘We’re big fans of pattern,’ say the owners, ‘so we brought in Moroccan-style design and colours on the textiles and crockery.’ Similar prints are used in the lounge area, which helps to tie the two spaces together.

Dining area outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

In fact, the circular cushions above make an appearance on the other side of the garden, too (see below). Grey seat pads provide a really versatile backdrop for these pretty hits of colour.

Cushions outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

The owners definitely have a creative eye. This innovative pot display was made out of old roof timber. ‘We love things that look old and are keen recyclers,’ they say. ‘To create this shelf, we pulled an old roof timber out of a skip and added ornate black brackets.’

Garden wall outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

Below is another great find from the decorating duo. ‘We snapped up an old enamel-topped cupboard from outside a neighbour’s house,’ they say. ‘With a little upcycling, it’s now the perfect potting table.’

Potting table outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

Colours have been carefully chosen in this garden – just as though it were an interior – and the pink trellis matches the potting table drawers. The hot hue is a great complement to the greenery. ‘It looks amazing when the roses are in bloom,’ say the owners.

Trellis outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

A succulent bed makes a stylish feature at the edge of the decking. ‘We love this idea, which we copied from Pinterest,’ say the owners.

Flower bed outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

Get the look

Buy now: Three-seater rattan sofa, £269.99, eBay

Buy now: Hallo sofa cushions, from £12 each, Ikea

Buy now: Paradise Bird cushion, £35, Graham and Green

Buy now: Jamboree round cushion, from £7, Emilia dining table, £119, both George Home

Buy now: Havana chiminea, from £59.99, Primrose

Buy now: decking, from £300, Decking Supplies

Buy now: Wisley trellis, £23.99 per panel, Eureka solar light bulbs, £3.99, all Squires

Buy now: trellis painted in Nevermore, cupboard painted in Posh Purple and Nevermore, both £24 per 2.5ltr, Valspar Garden Colours at B&Q

This garden originally appeared in Style at Home, June 2017.

Image credits: Jamie Mason

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Love your garden? Take advantage of our special offers on plants at the Ideal Home garden shop. Our curated collection of beautiful flowers and shrubs is guaranteed to add colour and charm to your outdoor space.

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