Design Tips

It’s time to refresh your garden furniture

0 Written by Lisa on 21st Apr 2017 in Design Tips, Garden accessories

After a few weeks of dry, sunny days, I can safely say that the world has woken up and started to think about their gardens again.  It’s funny how we “park” all the jobs outside over the winter months, even if we didn’t really intend to.

One of the things I was reminded of when we sat outside last weekend is that our garden furniture is really on its last legs.  But it’s lasted 12 years so I don’t think it’s done too badly considering.

The furniture you choose for the garden can really change the way it looks and feels and there are so many options to choose from now that you’re almost spoiled for choice.

One thing I am clear about is that garden furniture should be on show at all times of the year. Sure, put your cushions away when you’re not sitting out, but it’s important that your terrace has a sense of purpose, even on rainy and wintry days.

I understand that it’s important to preserve your furniture for as long as you can, but you have to remember that it’s made to be outdoors and will be pretty robust. Timber furniture may need a bit of TLC every now and again, but if you buy a decent hardwood set then it will last for years without treatment.

One of my bug bears (up there with leaving the rotary washing line in the middle of the lawn!) is covering the furniture with tarpaulin over the winter – who wants to look out of the window and see a big green lump on their terrace. You need to see the essence of the garden all year round otherwise you just won’t want to venture out in the winter at all.

Essentially your garden furniture acts as a focal point. It entices you outside and makes you want to venture out into the garden. A bench at the end of the path or under a tree may rarely be sat upon, but if it draws you outside then it’s absolutely done its job.

What furniture you choose will obviously come down to personal style and the size of the garden. Remember if you’re choosing a table and chairs set for dining that you need to allow 1.5m around the table so that you have enough room to navigate around the terrace when people are sitting there.

If you’ve got a really small garden, but still want to entertain large numbers, think about a flexible arrangement of furniture. For example, if you regularly need to seat 4 people, but occasionally 8, then why not have two smaller tables which can be moved around. Extending tables are also available so this can be useful.

More and more I work with clients who have opened up the back of the house with bi-fold doors or lots of glass and often the dining table is positioned just inside them. When the doors are open, it feels as though you’re sitting outside anyway so it can make more sense to choose some more comfortable seating for the terrace.

The key really is to think about how you’d like to feel when you’re sitting outside. A simple wooden bench against the house wall could be all you need to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning sunshine, but if you want to sit out and read a book for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon then you’ll probably want to feel a lot more comfortable, much as you would if you were spending time indoors.

 

(Images: Lisa Cox, Oxenwood)

 

Planning a house project? Please remember the garden…

0 Written by Lisa on 23rd Feb 2017 in Design Tips

I watched the first episode of The House That 100k Built last night.  I don’t know about you, but I think it’s one of the most inspiring programmes of its type on TV.  I especially love the way Piers Taylor inspires the use of alternative, sometimes waste, materials to create something really individual and inexpensive that elevates the design to another level. Read more

Working with curves

0 Written by Lisa on 27th Jan 2017 in Design Tips

I’ve been drawing the design for a large garden in Hurley this week and it involved rather a huge chunk of time working out where all the radius points of my free-hand curves were. Read more

Why are gardens forgotten in house renovation projects?

0 Written by Lisa on 25th Feb 2016 in Design Tips

Wildflower-meadow-Lisa-Cox

Have you been watching the BBC2 programme The £100k House – Tricks of the Trade?  I love it! It’s so inspiring to see what people do to their homes with modest and sometimes really small budgets. We’re certainly getting some great ideas for our own house. Read more

Protecting our precious trees

0 Written by Lisa on 12th Feb 2016 in Design Tips, Plants

Oak tree from the wood floor taken with wide angle lense by Lisa Cox

I’m currently working on a project where we have few trees on site that are subject to a Tree Protection Order (TPO).  Obviously I need to be absolutely sure that I create the new garden in a way that will ensure that the trees aren’t damaged so I’ve been taking advice from a professional arborist to ensure that we’re doing things right. Read more

Planning a new planting scheme – some tips to help you get started

1 Written by Lisa on 5th Feb 2016 in Design Tips

Helenium at Hauser & Wirth Somerset Lisa Cox Garden Designs

Now’s a great time to be planning for what’s to come in the garden and it seems more urgent this year with the rather early appearance of some of the spring bulbs.  Even on our windy hill we have Narcissus ‘Tête-a-Tête’ in flower already and primroses too, which have virtually been flowering since Christmas. Read more

Dealing with sloped gardens – five things to consider before you start

2 Written by Lisa on 25th Jan 2016 in Design Tips

Surveying kit

I’ve just started working with a new client who has a small but tricky garden because it slopes quite steeply and there are two pine trees that are subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Read more

It’s bulb planting time!

0 Written by Lisa on 1st Oct 2015 in Design Tips, Plants

Golden narcissus at RHS Garden Wisley Lisa Cox

I’ve just returned from Surrey after 5 long days planting my project in Weybridge.  No photos yet I’m afraid as it wasn’t looking very photogenic without the lawn and with the protective boards down on the terrace.  But I’ll be popping back at the end of October armed with my camera so I’ll share the pictures with you as soon as I can. Read more

The importance of creating focal points

5 Written by Lisa on 17th Aug 2015 in Design Tips

Bench in Homebase Garden RHS Chelsea 2014 Lisa Cox Designs

However large of small your garden is, introducing deliberate focal points will help to create a journey around your garden. Read more

Fences won’t work for a windy site

0 Written by Lisa on 28th Jul 2015 in Design Tips

Elder in flower Lisa Cox Garden Designs

What you can always guarantee when you live high up on a hill is a breeze.  A couple of weeks ago when the sun was blazing hot we certainly welcomed it, but on other days it can make things a little chilly. Read more

Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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