Creating the perfect outside space
Having outside space is awesome in itself. Creating the perfect, secluded hideaway in your garden, however small your garden may be, is amazing.
And so satisfying.
My husband set fire to our garden
My husband decided to burn the root of an old pampas grass that had got too big.
We inherited the pampas grass when we bought our house and neither of us liked it much. Even so, it didn’t deserve the fate waiting for it.
So the fire was set and it got – shall we say – out of control?
Yes. I won’t mince words here.
The fire got out of control. So did I when saw the results.
He didn’t mean to do it. But then no-one ever does mean to set fire to their garden.
The plus side is that no major damage was done to my husband, the dog or the house.
The downside is that a whole section of our garden is a blackened mess and we have a dead section of the hedge.
Looking on the plus side, gardens have a way of regenerating themselves.
We’d already had two storms wreak havoc
It’s not as though the garden hadn’t already been dealt a blow. Two storms back in February left behind their own special kind of devastation too.
A pergola collapsed taking some stonework with it. Fencing blown down and shattered into pieces.
The garden really didn’t need a fire to add insult to injury.
Looking on the bright side. My creative juices started flowing and dreams of transforming the damage into a great outside space started to germinate.
This time the garden will regenerate into something very different. Something I’ve wanted to do with that space for a long time. And up ’til now my husband had resisted making change just for change sake.
He can’t argue now! (Picture the look of glee on my face.)
I love a good garden transformation
I especially love creating outside seating spaces to help us make the most of our garden. After all, not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden.
Even if you’re not lucky enough to have a whole garden you may have a small balcony or yard to make your own little piece of gorgeousness.
There’s something special about having a private secluded spot outside the home to while away a few hours with friends.
Or better still, a place to hide from the world with a good book and the dog for company.
That brings me back to the 9 awesome ideas for this small scorched, wind damaged space.
9 Awesome ideas for a small Outside Space
Ok. I’m willing to accept that decking is not everyone’s ideal for their outside seating area.
If that’s you, then feel free to swipe down to number 8 on this list, hard landscaping.
I love hard landscaping too. That’s why it’s on the list.
Just remember to come back here.
Decking but not as you know it!
My decking is going to have lights.
I love low voltage lighting in the garden. I love solar lights. Any lights!
When the evenings are warmer, and the company is good, having the twinkling of lights to illuminate the garden is a must have.
Adding lighting also means enjoying your outside space long into the evening. Choose low-voltage or solar powered.
If you’re building your decking yourself and you’re not an electrician, be sure to check out how to do the installation safely or get someone in to do it for you.
DIY stores have people to give you advice so be sure to make use of the resources available.
Seclusion, privacy, sheltered spot. Call it what you will.
My new outside space is going to be in an area of the garden that is prone to the worst of the prevailing wind when it starts to blow. See above for storm damage.
For that reason, adding some kind of screens to the area is important.
The addition of fence panels doesn’t necessarily result in a compromise on style. These fence panels provide maximum privacy and shelter from any strong wind. They can be painted to suit your tastes and the style of the outside space you create.
This, more open type of fencing adds interest and will allow for planting in small pots to be incorporated into the plan. See No. 5 below.
Of course screening can be from natural elements such as hedges or mature plants such as bamboo.
For more on natural screening ideas, click here.
Obvious I know. But what seating?
Fixed with removable cushions?
Weatherproof so it can stay in place all year?
Cushions? No cushions?
Ikea do a great range of outdoor furniture and storage solutions for the cushions.
The idea of having my main seating built into the space appeals. Especially when it looks as good as this.
When thinking about seating consider the size of the space you have, the number of people who will share the space, and the weather it will be exposed to, if it isn’t stored away over the winter months.
For more information on things to consider when choosing garden furniture, check my outside space page regularly, or sign up for my newsletter and I’ll let you know when new content is added that will interest you.
This is where an outside space can really be transformed into something very special.
There are so many low-cost options around. The pound shop (dollar store) has solar lights. IKEA has options, from solar floor-standing lanterns to lighting chains.
Or you can get an expert to fit low-voltage lighting solutions to integrate with seating or to highlight steps or beautiful garden features.
5 Plant wall
Plant walls are a relatively new idea but you see them in lots of settings.
The best has to be in your garden though. Right?
Plant walls can give the illusion of a lush garden in the smallest of spaces making them a great way to introduce colour and natural elements into your outside space.
All you need is some vertical space, small planters and a little imagination. Or you could read our guide to creating your plant wall.
6 Shade For Your Outdoor space
No matter how much or how little sun your little piece of paradise gets, there’ll be times you want to have some shade or cover to retreat to.
That can be natural protection from overhanging trees. The cover provided by your roofline. Or you may have to create some cover of your own.
You can buy it.
Garden umbrellas, upright or curved will offer a practical solution. Or the inclusion of a pergola built into your design and then add some of that lovely outdoor lighting we talked about earlier.
It’s a matter of choice and budget. But with so many options it shouldn’t be difficult to find the right solution for you.
7 Inspired Planters
If you’re going to be spending time enjoying your wonderful new outside space you don’t want to be looking at old, cracked planters with dried up plants.
Every garden has them. And every garden should replace them especially as there are some seriously stylish planters available at prices that won’t leave you gasping for breath.
Amazon is a great place to start looking. Or even better, feed your imagination by visiting a garden centre and then you can really get a feel for the size and scale of pots and plants you want for your space.
Many plants and planting solutions provide architectural elements such as the one pictured below.
I particularly like this idea for a steel frame that you fill with stones as well as plants to add interest to your scheme. This one is the vidaXL Gabion Basket on Amazon.
8 Hard Landscaping
Yes. Hard landscaping is needed.
That could be as simple as putting in a gravel footpath between the house and the decking. Or it could be stone paving around a decking area.
As long as it adds to the design it’s fine with me.
Putting in a hard landscaping scheme is something you may want to leave to a professional but it really depends on how much hard landscaping you want, or how intricate a plan you have in mind. This article in Ideal Home is a good place to help you decide.
9 The ‘She’ Shed!
Oh how I dream of my super shed!
If you live anywhere in Britain you”ll know all about the shed. It’s the place in the garden that men like to go and potter, well away from the family.
Well, I have long dreamt of my super shed.
I know what you’re thinking. A super ‘she’ shed is not really an essential part of an outside relaxing space.
But think about this. It is awesome.
Plus, when you live in a country like England that suffers 4 seasons in one day most days, the argument for a space outside the house that feels like it’s part of the garden but warm and cosy, gains a little ground.
All that extra space to use all year round and has that touch of sheer luxury?
Well, you begin to get the picture.
So my dreaming at this point loses all sense of reality and thoughts of budget.
This is my dream super ‘she’ shed.
I can’t afford it. And I certainly can’t make a case for buying it. Nor do I have the space to put it.
I can dream though.