Bringing the indoors out

Even in colder climes, people now want to be able to use and enjoy their gardens year round.

Bringing the indoors out has become a popular theme in recent years, with landscaping trends focusing on adding usable living space through an “outdoor room”.

Well-designed outdoor lighting is a big part of the equation, being both functional and creating a mood. Uplighting on trees and other features can create focal points, colour can be cleverly implemented . . . the right lighting can add a whole new dimension to your garden.

Outdoor fires of various kinds have become almost mandatory, be it for warmth, cooking, or ambience. Braziers, firepits, chimenea, and others can all be used to negate the cooler southern nights.

Attempting to achieve culinary perfection over an open flame isn’t for everyone. But cooking outdoors is becoming more and more popular, so a full-service outdoor kitchen is an option if you’re planning on doing a lot of entertaining this summer.

The outdoor lounge concept can incorporate technology in other places than the kitchen.

Entertainment can also be offered, with audio, or even a large-screen TV. With some good design, your outdoors can truly become an extension of your interior.

Water is another element at home in contemporary landscaping, with water features making a welcome return. Adding both peace and energy, water can be a beautiful addition to most gardens.

For various reasons, more and more people are choosing to grow their own food. Be it a productive vegetable garden, fruit trees and berries, or a useful herb garden, having your own fresh ingredients on hand can certainly add a lot to your cooking. Most herbs are easy to grow, either in pots, or as useful ground-cover.

Interior-design ideas can be successfully exported to the outdoors. Different textures can be used to create interest and drama.

Use variations of one material to create different feelings; for example stone slabs and cobbles. And feel free to accessorise — shrubs are great for layering, screening, and adding character.

Asymmetry is a current interior trend that has also migrated to the outdoors. Think less structured and more natural lines, to provide a different focus for the eye.

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