Create the Perfect Scandi-Inspired Outdoor Living Space
Lifestyle expert at Contura shares guide to making the most of your garden this spring and summer.
The latest easing of lockdown restrictions means the return to socialising outdoors (hooray!). With the promise of blue skies and warmer temperatures, many Brits will already be spending more time in their gardens, but for some of us, the garden is an underutilised space that we may be squandering.
Luckily, help is at hand. Here, Catharina Björkman, Scandi lifestyle expert at Contura woodburning stoves, shares her tips to creating the perfect Scandi living space in your garden to enjoy this spring and summer to their fullest.
Catharina says: “So often we forget to factor in our gardens when decorating, doing DIY, or renovating our homes, and many of us are guilty of ‘making do’ with a bland patch of grass or run-down patio area. Not only is this uninspiring, but it also means we’re not compelled to use our outdoor space as much; effectively wasting a potentially lovely green haven and lots of pleasurable outdoor time.
“There are many benefits to spending time outdoors. Fresh air is good for us, as is exposure to sunlight, which boosts serotonin production in your brain giving you more energy, helping keep you calm, positive and focused, and is one of the best sources of Vitamin D. Spending time outdoors also increases our connection to nature and can help improve mental health. We will feel more inclined to get outside and enjoy these benefits if we improve our outdoor space.
“Now it’s possible to head outdoors to catch up with loved ones again, there’s never been a better time to transform your garden into a space to be proud of and somewhere you can enjoy spending time all year round.
“And better yet, creating a natural oasis in your garden allows us to share these benefits with loved ones who may not be lucky enough to have an outdoor space of their own.”
Read on for Catharina’s guide to creating the perfect outdoor living space this spring-summer…
Create ‘zones’ in the sunniest spots
Start by finding the areas of the garden that catch the most sun and create ‘zoned’ areas to maximise light and warmth. This can be in the form of a table and chairs, outdoor sofas, or even sun loungers. You can effectively zone a blank or bland space – no matter the size – by creating different levels, separating areas with planters or flower beds, strategically placing furniture, or dividing between lawned, gravelled, paved or decked areas.
Clearly define these spaces using seating or large pots, for example. This will give each area structure and a definite ‘extra room’ feel. Don’t forget to add some form of shade for hot days; a canvas awning or sail shade are inexpensive, yet stylish options.
If you are using a wall or garden fence, you could add artwork (metal or stone is best to withstand the elements) to further enhance the feeling of an extra room. Strategically placed mirrors create the illusion of a bigger space, so even if you haven’t got a large garden it will look and feel more spacious – ideal if you’re having guests over.
Make it work for you and for local wildlife
Insects, birds, and even small mammals rely on our gardens as their homes, feeding grounds and nesting areas. It’s important therefore, to make your outdoor space as wildlife friendly as possible so that they can thrive. Remember that wildlife can help keep your garden healthy and the most environmentally friendly of spaces, we should encourage living creatures to use our gardens as their natural habitats.
If you’re after a romantic cottage garden feel, consider planting bee-friendly foxgloves and bellflowers, and butterfly-friendly climbing honeysuckle, which can be grown around trellises, pergolas, walls or fences. If you’re after a more modern aesthetic, flat flowers like daisies will also attract insects and can be grown in pots or large planters.
A seed feeder is a fantastic way to attract local birds and adding a bird bath or water feature is another way to attract local birds. A well-placed bird box for spring-summer might even attract a whole family of feathered friends. Watching birds enjoying the garden will offer endless amounts of joy for both children and adults alike.
Update the furniture
Your outdoor space should be an extension of the interior of your home, so make sure to consider garden furniture accordingly. If you have modern, minimalist, neutral interiors you probably don’t want to step into your garden and be greeted by a wall of brightly coloured flowers and vintage furniture – and vice versa.
Updating your garden furniture shouldn’t cost the earth, so, before buying anything new, make sure to check re-sale sites and community forums for anything that might be suitable in the local area. You would be surprised at some of the items people are happy to give away for free and a quicksand or lick of paint can give furniture a completely new lease of life.
Illuminate the space
Lighting is key – both indoors and out – and can really set the atmosphere of your space.
Whilst table candles are a lovely idea when the light starts to fade, they aren’t always the most practical or safest way to light up your garden from dusk. Opt instead, for solar-powered fairy or festoon lights that can be left out all year round. These will light up automatically as dusk descends and offer a soft, atmospheric light ideal for evenings outside.
If you have a larger garden, it’s well worth investing in wall lights or spike lights installed throughout the garden, which can be controlled by a wireless switching system.
Don’t forget to decorate the table
If your table is in need of a refresh and you don’t have time to re-paint or treat it, invest in a new tablecloth. Far from being old fashioned, a tablecloth can add personality or vibrancy to a space and covers all manner of sins.
Decorate the table with candles and bud vases or washed jam jars, in which you can display cuttings from your garden or tea lights.
Get crafty and try making your own floral ice bucket to keep drinks cool. Simply fill a large tub with 2-3 inches of water and freeze. Place a smaller tub inside and fill with rocks or baking beads so it’s weighted. Then fill the gap in between the two tubs with water, tightly tucking in flowers or fruit slices, so they don’t float to the top, and then freeze overnight. When you’re ready to use, take out the inner tub and gently remove your homemade floral ice bucket.
For those chillier evenings…
As much as we’d all like to believe it’s warm enough to while away every evening outdoors during the summer, it tends to get chilly very quickly in the UK once the sun goes down. Buying some extra warm blankets or throws for guests to use is a must. Lay these on your outdoor furniture or store in woven baskets for everyone to use as they need.
If you’re going to be spending lots of time in your garden this spring and summer, it’s probably worth investing in a fire pit, chimenea or outdoor heater to ensure everyone stays toasty long after the sun goes down.
For more information on Contura, please visit http://www.contura.eu
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Contura is Europe’s leading manufacturer of wood burning stoves, offering an extensive range of classic and contemporary wood burners; from traditional insert stoves suitable for existing fireplaces, to freestanding statement models made with innovative materials such as soapstone.
Starting at £1,095, Contura stoves are premium yet affordable. Award winning, timeless Swedish design means the products complement or enhance any style of home, whilst also offering outstanding performance, maximum efficiency, practicality and ease of use.
Designed and assembled at the factory located in Markaryd, Sweden, and manufactured to the highest standards, Contura stoves are highly energy efficient, offering powerful convection, superior combustion technology and clean burning systems. Currently, 95% of Contura stoves are DEFRA Clean Air Act exempt and thus approved for use in Smoke Control Areas.
Contura stoves can be purchased through a network of 165 independent retailers nationwide.
Contura is part of the NIBE group, a Swedish manufacturing company producing world class solutions in sustainable energy across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
Contura is a founding member of the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) in the UK.
For more information please visit www.contura.eu