‘We live in Ireland part of the year in our home in the Dublin coastal town of Howth,’ says TV presenter and podcaster Vogue Williams. ‘Having a base in Ireland is really important to me. I have three children and want my kids to know where I grew up and to know their Irish heritage.
‘I’ve always grown up around the sea and I really miss that in London. So going home, being on the cliffs of Howth and going for walks, it’s just really relaxing and calming to me. I love it here.’
‘We bought the house in 2020 and while the interior of the house has been fully renovated, we hadn’t touched the garden at all. There was no seating area, and it was pretty boring to look at, so a bit of a blank canvas really. It was definitely next on our to-do list.’
‘For the outdoor transformation, the aim was to bring the inside outside and make the space an extension of our home. Somewhere we could sit outside, have a barbecue, be under cover if we needed to and have the extra heat. We wanted the garden layout to feel like we had another outdoor room.’
The garden before
‘While the coastal garden had been landscaped, with raised rendered flower beds and a large decked area, it was all very empty, so the main focus was on getting the seating area organised.
'I plan to use the space all year round, even in the winter, so thinking of ways that we could extend the use of the garden outside of summer months was a priority.’
Pergola with canopy
‘With help from the design team at Wayfair, we decided on an aluminium pergola with an retractable canopy that can provide shading from the sun. Ireland isn’t known for its endless sunshine, but having a pergola meant that we could have a shaded area to sit when it’s sunny but also somewhere to sit under if it’s raining too!’
‘Having the pergola also gives the outdoor space a visual focal point of the space too and it makes a natural gathering place for family and friends to congregate.’
Relaxed seating area
‘Finding the right outdoor seating set can be a hard thing to master, as if you don’t get the right size, it can feel too clunky and won’t fit in properly. I chose this corner sofa combination from Wayfair with a dining table and additional benches that can be moved around as needed. It’s perfect.’
‘Again, it’s Ireland so adding the best outoor heater was a must. It’s a little bit of an extra expense, but we use our Belfry patio heater so much and having it just allows you to sit outside whenever you want and stay warm even as the sun goes down.’
‘I’d describe my style as quite beachy, modern and relaxed, which really suits the location. I’ve gone for lots of blue and white cushions, throws and rugs in a mix of plains and subtle geometrics. The calm, coastal colours tie in nicely with the planting scheme too.’
‘Plus choosing outdoor cushions in weatherproof fabric, like these Sussman indoor/outdoor cushions is a practical option too as they won’t get ruined if there’s a quick shower.’
‘I am obsessed with an outdoor rug. I just think they bring something extra and make a big difference to an outdoor space. These rugs are really thin so I actually power wash mine every year. The last one I had in London, I had for five summers. Even if you leave them out in the winter, they’re fine and are really durable.’
‘Now that the garden is finished, it’s just really great spending time outdoors. I got a slide for the kids so they can enjoy it as well and I just keep adding little bits to it. With young children you just want them to get out and runaround in the fresh air getting tired. That’s why we spend so much time outside!’
‘I’ve gone for raised planters to add a splash of colour higher up. The soft blue and white flowers tie in with the coastal colour scheme and the foliage and greenery creates natural screening around the seating area.’
‘We do a lot of BBQing and love having friends over and with everything now set up there are lots of plans for the summer. I always have my son T’s birthday in Howth, as it’s the start of September and he hasn’t gone back to school yet, so I’m going to do his party here. It just means we can be outdoors more. I’m going to get some grazing boards for the parents, so we can sit and relax and the kids can play outside.’
‘I’m a very relaxed host and if you’ve been to my house more than once it means you have to get your own stuff! All my friends just help themselves. The garden now is a really nice spot to sit and relax, grab a drink and just chill. We love it.’
Get the look
Get the Ideal Home Newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter for style and decor inspiration, house makeovers, project advice and more.
Lisa is Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine and regularly contributes to sister title Ideal Home. She has written about interiors for more than 25 years and about pretty much every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, crafts and DIY to real home transformations and kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person.
Where to spend and save on a living room to get the most out of your budget
These expert tips will ensure you allocate your living room budget wisely
By Katie Sims
How often should you water plants in February? How to avoid overwatering (or underwatering) your garden
There is a right way and a wrong way to water your garden, and our experts are here to help you avoid the latter...
By Kayleigh Dray
How to make a small patio look bigger - design tricks to give the illusion of a larger space
Smart ways to fake a larger-sized patio when space is at a premium
By Amy Hodge