Even tiny gardens can be transformed into beautiful 'outdoor rooms' that are a pleasure to relax in day and night. And if you have a large garden, a small part could be sectioned off to create an area bursting with colour, texture and light that will provide a beautiful seating and dining area for warmer evenings.
Clever lighting creates wonderful ambience. Solar lighting, outdoor candles and lanterns can really help transform a garden into an 'outdoor room'. Try strings of fairy lights along fences, a few lanterns hanging from brackets, mini 'lamp posts' planted among colourful shrubs, and spotlights to draw attention to architectural features - this will help transform dreams of an alfresco dining or evening relaxation area into an affordable reality.
Aim for colour during the day and fragrance both day and night - roses, lavender, honeysuckle and night scented stock work well together. As you're creating an 'outdoor room' rather than a full-sized garden, consider planting in pots instead of direct into the ground; pots in a variety of colours, sizes and textures add visual interest and have the advantage of being movable, so you can reposition plants if they don't look right in a certain spot.
Ronseal and Cuprinol both make paint for garden timber in stunning colours, so try sprucing up your shed, decking, furniture, trellises and other outdoor timbers with a touch of colour. Will you follow a theme with just two or three subtle shades, or go for an all-out colour explosion? For inspiration, take a look at Cuprinol's Facebook page.
Walls, fences, steps and decking can make a great statement in a garden, and help create the feeling of it being a 'room' rather than just a patch of land. Think about the style of your outdoor room compared to the style of your property; will the look and feel be similar, or would you like to make a statement by going for a completely different style? A Portmeirion-inspired 'room' with natural resources like stone and water coupled with bright colours and quirky statues, or a Japanese-themed garden with shingle, statement planting and a minimalist feel? You decide!
If you have the space and the budget for a garden building, it can be a really great investment as a place to shelter from inclement weather and for making your property more attractive to potential buyers. If space is tight, how about a building that serves multiple purposes, like a greenhouse/potting shed/summer room/garden tool store? With a bit of imagination this is perfectly possible, and offers somewhere snug and beautiful to eat breakfast on damp Sunday mornings without getting soaked!