Garden rooms for summer

Garden rooms for summer

Lynnette Peck shows us how to make the most of our outdoor space and how to bring some of the glorious outside into our homes.

July is one of the hottest months of the year, so put your suncream on and take the opportunity to sit outside and enjoy your garden.

Garden housekeeping

July is the ideal time to regularly dead head plants, water hanging baskets and containers every day and get a hoe to those pesky weeds. Watering needs to be done thoroughly as this encourages plants to put down roots in search of water, rather than heading to the surface. Other key jobs:
  • Paint all woodwork whilst the weather is dry.
  • Order catalogues for 2017’s spring bulbs.
  • Give your grass lawn some summer feed.
  • Prune June-flowering shrubs.
  • If you have a pond, clear it of all algae and weeds and keep it topped up.
  • Clip fast-growing hedges.
  • Tie-in climbers and ramblers.

Outdoor rooms for children

How you create an area of the garden just for you children or grandchildren will depend on their age, but brightly-coloured deck chairs and sun loungers are a good start, so you can spend time outside with them. Also:
  • For smaller children, a tent or a cardboard house they can paint and make their own always goes down well.
  • For older children and teens, a secure, swinging hammock is ideal for reading a book, listening to music and enjoying me-time while the younger kids mess around.
  • For play when you’re nearby, a sand pit, something to paddle or splash about in safely and garden games such as swing ball, hopscotch, ten pin bowling and croquet sets work well.
  • Pineapple and flamingo-print fabrics are everywhere right now. Look out at supermarket chains for cushions, towels, picnic sets and bunting. Bright and fun for children.

Outdoor rooms for grown-ups

For grown-ups, comfort is key. Those metal ‘cafe’ table and two chairs sets are all well and good for a quick coffee on a tiny urban balcony but for long hot summer days (and for those with a decent-sized garden) be more ambitious.
  • Proper outdoor sofas and chairs with deep filled cushions can be pricey but cost per usage offers a fair justification. Garden furniture can be used for at least a third of the year and will last you several summers if carefully stored in winter.
  • In terms of garden furniture styles, rattan furniture has staged a comeback so if you still have yours from decades ago you are now back on trend…
  • Also, look out for mixed material furniture such as teak and metal, and wood combined with cement for a cool industrial eco-chic outdoor style.

Chelsea Flower Show inspiration

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is always a great source of ideas. Some of the trends at Chelsea this year included:
  • Sculptural trellises (in the shape of Big Ben and the London Eye).
  • Floral arches (to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday).
  • Seamless greenhouses (no corners for bugs and dirt).
  • Chrysanthemums (a new pink and green-tipped one called the Princess Charlotte has been developed).
  • Acoustic gardens (they play musical notes to visitors).
  • Upside down flower pots.
  • Floating benches.
All of which can be included in your own garden if you plan and budget wisely.

Summer planting

Summer bedding plants are the best way to ensure your garden is blooming. Here are a few of my favourites:
  • Begonia is one of the most versatile and their large blooms, in many colours, will brighten up any space – brightly-coloured flowers are a key look for 2016. Plus, they flower continuously throughout summer and right through until the first frost.
  • Sweet peas are gorgeous for a large garden if you want flowers with height – let them scramble up teepees, obelisks and netting and you will have six foot of fragranced beauty.
  • Antirrhinum are popular with children, as they have mouth-like flowers that open when squeezed and they can make even the smallest garden look abundant. They also attract bees as they are a good source of nectar.

Bring the outside in

To bring the outside in and have a sense of a summer garden within your own four walls put huge green palms in large silver pots (the ’70s is back in fashion).
  • Have succulents dotted around (cacti is experiencing a resurgence in popularity).
  • Pop some bunting up in your kitchen for a village summer fair feel.
  • Keep vases filled with floral cuttings from the garden regularly.

Have a happy summer!

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Great Ideas

OnlyMe1 29/06/2017

I love all of the ideas, as an amateur and enthusiastic, but lazy, gardener with green fingers (believe it or not!), I love growing things from seed, most of my shrubs I have done that with. I would love raised beds and a proper garden room feel, but, both my health and funds don't run to it! I love cutting sweet peas every summer, the grow in abundance and smell gorgeous.

Watering hanging baskets

Clarecats 19/08/2016

If you find it hard to get water into hanging baskets without it running off and leaving spills on the ground, try placing a few ice cubes on the basket soil instead. As the ice melts the water will be gradually absorbed. This saves water and saves you from lifting a heavy watering can or jug above your head.

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