As the mercury rises and the prospect of normality resuming in the next few months looks more likely, there's never been a better time to think about your outdoor space. Join us and some industry experts as we share inspiration for how to make the most of outdoor space, how to make your alfresco dining sing, and how to host the best picnic in the park (when we're allowed to).
Outdoor lifestyle products are a brilliant wedding present. Even if you don't have the outdoor space at the moment, if you choose well, these are presents you will love and use for a lifetime. Good quality outdoor furniture can be quite an investment, so why not consider making it a 'Group Gift', meaning your guests can individually contribute as little or as much as they like.
We've been servicing wedding lists for over 25 years, and find that guests race to buy fire pits, BBQs, Pizza Ovens and Big Green Eggs from wedding lists. Not only are these seriously fun presents, but they are built to last and your guests know that you will get years of enjoyment out of them.
For more inspiration head to our Outdoor Living board on Pinterest.
Whether you have a balcony or a large garden there are lots of ways to maximise your space. Outdoor mirrors are a great way to create the illusion of more space. Arabella St John Parker, House & Garden Editor or Homes and Gardens, swears by using mirrors outside to create a focal point and reflect the favourite corners of your space. These Neptune mirrors are two of Arabella's favourites.
“Outdoor space - whatever the size - has never been more important. In terms of cushions and seat pads, I love a thick stripe fabric and for furniture, while modern is nice I prefer a more classic rattan finish or black metal legs which gives a chic south of France feel.”
Laura Normanton (née Houldsworth), Executive Editor | House & Garden
For picnics, whilst it is good to be practical, that doesn't mean you have to compromise on style. If you would like all the gear in one basket, Willow Direct do great picnic baskets for 2, 4 and 6 people. Or if you would prefer to build your own basket or picnic bag - choose from a selection of melamine plates and bowls, wooden boards and large platters. We also recommend adding a picnic blanket with a waterproof lining to your list - you won't regret it.
And don't forget the corkscrew!
"I recommend using a comfortable blanket – I love using a Wicklewood hand-block printed quilt I have. It feels very cosy and perfect when it’s too hot for a wool throw. You can layer a tablecloth or some colourful placemats on top.
Trays are always really handy when it comes to picnics especially if the surfaces you are setting the meal on are not very stable.
Set the mood with candles – but again you need to be careful with the surfaces- the last thing you want is to cause a fire! I would opt for hurricanes to keep things stylish and safe. A nice bottle of wine, some tapas and a good Spotify list will do the rest!"
Gloria Gonzalez, Directorio Deco.
Eating al fresco is such a treat. We love making the most of it whenever the weather is good enough (and even sometimes when it's not. We're British afterall). When it comes to laying your table outside, don't think you need to play it safe! Have some fun with colour and prints that you might not put together on your indoor dining table. We love to start with a colourful tablecloth and some of our go-to brands are Penny Morrison, Wicklewood, SARAH K, Ashoka Designs and Sophie Conran. Then build up with placemats, bistro glasses, and coloured cutlery.
We always like to put fresh flowers on the table, we love using lots of different shapes and sizes of bud vases, as you can just pop a couple of stems picked from the garden in each. So simple, yet it fills the table with colour. We love bud vases from The Vintage List, Nina Cambell and Garden Trading.
"For an Al Fresco lunch or dinner, I would suggest Charred Beef with Chimichurri and four different yummy salads:
- New Potatoes finished off on the BBQ with Garlic and Rosemary
- A lovely Green salad
- Green beans with Mustard Zesty dressing
- Halloumi, Courgette and Red Pepper with Pomegranate Molasses, Za'atar, Lemon and Mint!"
Clare, Co-Founder of Doggart & Squash