Summer is finally here, and at long last, we can relax, play, and entertain in our gardens. Below are five ways to dress up the outdoors so that you and your friends and family can hang out in style.
Hang a hammock. If you are lucky enough to have two strong trees placed just at the right distance from each other, hang a hammock for a relaxing hour or two with your book or a magazine. If your garden doesn’t have trees placed like this (most don’t!), there are many hammock stands to choose from. New to the scene are hanging beds, which can be attached to overhead structures like arbours or even strong tree branches. The key is to place the hammock or outdoor bed in a quiet spot in the garden, away from any high traffic areas. Being away from the action is the best way to sneak in a rejuvenating afternoon nap.
Plant up huge planters. Oversize planters are great statement makers, no matter the style of your home. Choose three or more planters of the same style and colour, but in various sizes for a simple, contemporary look. When you’re choosing plants for a planter grouping, choose just three to five plants to keep the look cohesive. Because the planters are large, at least one of them can hold a small tree like a Japanese Maple, or even a dwarf fruit tree.
Light a fire. There is nothing quite like sitting around a fire outside in the summertime. Most local bylaws prohibit wood burning fires, but there are other options. If your house has natural gas, the line can be extended to a fire pit or fireplace outdoors. This work must be done by a gas fitter for safety reasons, but the results can be outstanding. Alternatively, there are many portable propane fireplaces that can be purchased locally. Traditionally, portable propane fireplaces have lacked in style, but every year there are better products on the market.
Get horizontal. Nothing says staycation like a pair of lounge chairs for the patio or garden. Place these in any flat area where there is a view to enjoy, either of the garden, the ocean or mountains, or even your own home. Ideally, your view extends beyond your own garden to a distant horizon. There is something about being able to see far into the distance that allows us to really relax and enjoy the company of the person in the lounger beside us. An essential element of this set up is a table between the lounge chairs to hold drinks and snacks, and an umbrella that can be opened to provide shade on a hot day.
Dress up your entryway. Welcome guests and impress passers-by with a beautiful entryway. If the front porch or patio is large enough, place a bench with cushions or even a chair near the front door for weary friends. Along with seating, place out pots planted with herbs and flowers. Potted herbs smell wonderful, and the smell of lavender in particular can relieve stress, so your guests will begin to feel good before they even come into your home. Again, use pots of just one colour, or up to three coordinating colours to keep your look cohesive. Along with seating and potted plants, add lighting to enhance the experience in the evening. For example, a potted tree makes a great place for small white lights that will add a sense of romance to the scene.
There are so many ways to beautify your outdoor space and help you enjoy the many summer days and nights still to come this season, but the most important ingredient of all? Enjoying time with your friends and family. Or maybe just that great fat novel you’re reading.