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Shop The Look: Our 5 Favourite Garden Design Styles For An Idyllic Outside Space

Published on July 31st 2021

Garden furnitures

by alaincouillaud. All rights reserved

A rattan sofa with blue blankets and cushions thrown over the top with tables and plants

What style will you choose when designing your outside space?

In a post-pandemic world with limited travel to holiday destinations, it's clear that more people want to transform their gardens and make the most of what they have.
Gardens, especially, can offer some form of escapism, providing an at-home retreat to relax and unwind.
Providing us with fresh air and space to relish in nature, our gardens can become an extension of our homes, used as a place for dining, cooking and socialising.
A garden in front of a house

How to create an outside living room

Before you begin creating your idyllic outside space, it is a good idea to think about what you will be using the space for. Will you be dining alfresco, entertaining friends and relatives, or cooking up a feast for your family?
Either way, consider whether you will require some form of cover and a light source. Will you need heating stay warm, and what plants would you like to surround yourself with?
As with designing any room in your home, it is always good to start with the larger pieces of furniture first, like dining tables, sofas and chairs.
Once you have these in place, the rest will follow quite easily! Keep reading for more inspiration to help you create a beautiful outside space for you and your close family and friends to enjoy.

Look #1 - Contemporary

Having a contemporary garden is all about taking a minimalist approach to design. Firstly, when choosing a colour theme, stick to simple, soft colours such as grey, white and neutral tones. Monochrome is a great contemporary style and looks great when used as a part of a modern design. As for furniture, choose simplistic wood or metal frames. For shades and cover, a pergola would look stunning.
Keep accessories at a minimum; although, some string lights and candles would not go amiss here. Complete the look with cushions and blankets for those chillier nights.
Choose outside plants with beautiful, deep green foliage. Hosta boasts a huge variety of large, lush leaves to choose from, including the popular Blue Hosta. Alternatively, choose Eucalyptus for its elegant and delicate-looking foliage. For blooms, neutral, pale colours look divine. Salvia 'Clotted Cream' and white or cream-coloured Hydrangea suit the contemporary theme down to a T.
Shop the contemporary collection:
A contemporary style garden with modern furniture and a swimming pool

Contemporary Modern Style Garden

Look #2 - Boho

A boho styled garden filled with furniture, houseplants and lanterns on a table
Rattan looks gorgeous when included in a Boho garden design. If you're not feeling rattan, wooden furniture is a great alternative. A plus to choosing wooden furniture is that it can be adapted to other themes. For example, it offers great flexibility if you would like to go for a more contemporary look next year. If you have the space to do so, add a Macramé or neutral coloured chair will look great as a part of this look.
As for the cover, a pergola or large parasol will keep you protected from the midday sun and light rain showers.
Finish off your inside-outside room with a heat source, such as a fire pit. Lovely to curl up around with friends in the late evenings, a fire pit will help you to extend your evening into the night.
You can't go wrong with candles or fairy lights to help complete your boho theme. You can make your outside space feel even more like home using outside rugs, pillows and blankets.
Bring your houseplants outside to create a cool and calming atmosphere. Palms, cacti and other leafy plants would look great. Use Macramé plant hangers and wooden shelves to hang your luscious foliage from!
When moving your indoor plants outside, remember to acclimatise them first to your conditions. This means not placing them in full light straight away and keeping an eye on the soil, which tends to dry out more quickly outside. Move plants indoors before the first frost.
Shop the boho style garden collection:
A garden room filled with boho style furniture and plants

Boho Style Garden

Look #3 City Garden

A picture of a small courtyard garden with furniture, decor and string lighting
The trick to working with small outside spaces is to think big. It is surprising what you can do with a bit of creativity and resourcefulness! Small spaces, such as balconies and patios, stick with small furniture sets or items that can be folded away and stored elsewhere. This gives you more space to play with for other garden features, such as comfy seating and plants, if you wish to brighten your space with blooms and garden décor.
Lighting that can be hung up or attached to the wall will help you save space on the ground. You can quickly give a balcony or small courtyard garden a comforting feel by hanging up fairy lights. Likewise, use your vertical surfaces to hang baskets and attach shelves. Incorporating mirrors are a must. This can not only give the illusion of a larger space but can really make your outside space feel much cosier.
When it comes to what plants to include, layering can really help to get the most out of your outside space. Whether you are lucky enough for some bedding to grow a mixture of plants of differing plants, or you are using a selection of colourful pots to add life to the corner of your patio, anyone can practise this technique no matter what the size of your garden. Lastly, trailing plants such as Passionflower, Jasmine and Clematis, to climb poles, trellises, gates, or anything vertical that you can get your hands on, is an amazing way to get the most out of your space and using colourful foliage and blooms.
A close up of a flower garden
Quick tips to remember when designing small gardens:
  • Make the most of vertical space.
  • Use mirrors to make your space feel bigger.
  • Split your spaces into zones defined by purpose.
  • Layer plants by growth height and different pot sizes.
  • Add colour using plants and décor.
Explore furniture, décor and plants perfect for small outside spaces in the collection:
Bird's eye view of a courtyard garden, there are containers and tools on the floor

The Small Garden Collection

Style #4 Fairy-tale

Turn your garden into an enchanted land using swinging chairs and romantic-style furniture. Add a fire pit with benches or comfy seating for extra ambience, making those late evenings in the garden feel more intimate and warm. To create covered space, consider investing in a pergola and use archways to help separate areas and add structure to areas of your garden. Finish the look using climbing plants that twine around the structure- this will make your garden feel like true fantasy.
For accessories, choose fairy-tale themed ornaments such as fairy doors, toadstools and wildlife accessories. Creating a wildlife garden or wild areas to attract garden wildlife will really make your garden look and feel like a real-life Disney film. Incorporate a water feature to attract dragonflies and damselflies and insect hotels to entice solitary bees.
Wildflowers, climbing plants or any other ornamentals will fit a fairy-tale theme nicely. As for planting schemes, mix rich colours such as dark purples, reds and pinks or opt for a paler scheme comprising creams, pinks and lilac. A fairy-tale theme is not complete without early-blooming spring bulbs, such as Crocus, Snowdrops and Tulips.
Browse the fairy-tale garden collection:

Fairytale Garden

Style #5 Tropical

A garden filled with tropical plants and rattan furniture
Teleport to a paradise close to the equator with a tropical-themed garden design. Here, rattan sofas or chairs and a dining table would work really well. If you are working with a smaller space, you can easily swap the larger pieces for a two-part set.
Stay covered during unfavourable weather using a canopy or pergola. Or for smaller gardens, a parasol would also work quite nicely. Keep warm with a fire pit while you sit back and gaze at your beautiful urban rainforest!
Highlight your plants and their showstopping foliage using spotlights or string lighting that you can hang from trees and branches. Use wildlife ornaments to bring your urban rainforest to life, or create a peaceful atmosphere using a buddha garden ornament.
As impossible it may sound, creating a rainforest in a UK garden can be made easy. When selecting your plants, look for plants with large, dark green leaves such as Hosta or Bird of Paradise. Alternatively, bring your tropical or desert houseplants outside; make sure you have acclimatised them to your garden ecosystem first.
Shop the tropical garden collection:
A plant in a garden

Tropical Style Garden

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