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Interior design: Inspiration for outdoor spaces

Make your outside living area as inviting as the interior with some tips from Vicky Sanderson

The Easter weekend with its record temperatures truly kick-started outside fun for 2019's spring/summer seasons.

While children happily splashed in paddling pools, and barbecues were dusted off, your attention was most likely drawn to what needs to be done to spruce up your outside living area.

It goes without saying that weekly lawn mowing, pruning and weed maintenance can work wonders when it comes to the appearance of your garden and your home overall. 

However, if we're lucky enough to enjoy another summer like last year's, what are the best ways to make your outside space as inviting as your inside?

  • Lick of paint: Most homes have fences or gates around some part of their exterior space, whether they be metal or wooden. Check the forecast and set aside a fine-weather weekend to focus on bringing them back to life. Sand down any flaking paint or debris and set to repainting- your fence and gates act as the frame to your garden so always give them annual care. I always think you wouldn't put a beautifu; painting or photograph in a broken chipped frame so consider your garden boundaries the same way.
  • Hanging Baskets: Such a quick, cheap way to inject colour and beauty into your garden. Now that you have a beautiful fence to work with, adorn it with pops of bright blooms. Geraniums, trailing petunias and begonias, fuchsias and bizzie lizzies all work well in hanging baskets and thrive throughout summer- just make sure you keep them watered and dead-headed regularly to prolong displays.
  • Planters and pots: When it comes to tubs and troughs, these easy-care potted gardens are ideal for prettying up patios and doorsteps. The added benefit is that you can mix up the containers you choose depending on the look you're going for, and your own tasted and preferences. For example, some may prefer wooden planters with trelli salongside linear wooden troughs and vertical ladder displays. Others may be drawn to rounded ceramic and terracotta pots and there are a host of metal character planters that you can have lots of fun with. When you fill them take a leaf out of Alan Titchmarch's book and opt got zonal and ivy-leaved pelargoniums, argyranthemum, verbena and scaevola for sunny spots in particular. 
  • That seat's reserved...: Ensure you gave a place outside for an 'anytime' sit, whether for your morning coffee after you've got a few jobs ticked off your 'to-do' list or to enjoy a glass of wine in the evening sunshine. It's been proven that simply setting foot outside for ten minuted and taking in a few deep breaths of fresh air, can do wonders for your mental health, so invest in a comfy chair, a bistro table and have a warm blanket to hand in case there's a nip in the air.
  • Light the way: A simple way of bringing a little magic to your outside areas is to add various light features. String solar lights around your fences and down tree trunks, hang LED lanterns from the side of your house and put citronella candles on tables and patio ledges. Line paths and borders with solar sticks to help define your garden and, if you have an outside dining area, adorn it with festoon lights for a memorable al-fresco gathering.
  • Add a little warmth: It's pretty rare that the UK gets to enjoy balmy evenings where there's no need for a shawl come dusk. To ensure you don't have people shivering and eager to retreat indoors as soon as the sun lowers, buy an outside storage box and fill it with blankets ready to hand out when it gets chillier. If the purse strings can stretch, gas patio heaters can be a great investment for fans of the outside, but simple chimenea and fire pits make great cheaper alternatives. 

Most importantly, make sure your outside space reflects your personality and lifestyle- have a corner of proud garden gnomes if they make you smile, put up bunting, add quirky signs and enjoy your outside space as much as your inside. 

Scent of the month

Clarity by Wild Swan

Wild Swan;s Clarity Soy Wax Candle is a vegan product made with 100 percent pure essential oils, designed to soothe and help you embrace positivity and clarity. Lavender helps to combat anxiety, restlessness and insomnia; May Chang will lift your mood, mental fogginess and help with fatigue; and cedarwood is a natural antiseptic and relaxant.

Simply light the cotton wick and you will instantly feel the benefits of this beautiful scent, which fills a room and creates a calming atmosphere that lasts. 

Wild Swan is a British botanical wellbeing brand created by mother-daughter tem Jess, a Sheffield-based artist, and her mum Lesley. Each product has been handmade with love and carried encouragement to help you with day-to-day life. 

Burn time: Around 18 hours, £16 for 120m, from Wild Swan: ( 

Five of the best outdoor lighting accessories

1) Festoon Lights, Squirrel, five copper LEDs within ten bulbs: Garden Trading, £45 (

2) Chrome Lantern, Small: Sue Ryder, £16.99 (

3) Solar-Powered Pineapple String Lights, ten bulbs: M&S, £15 (

4) Solar Vintage Style Bulb String Lights, seven bulbs: Cox & Cox, £30 (

5) Lunar Faiary Light Lanterns, 20 bulbs: Lights4Fun, £12.99 (

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