Are you enjoying the British summer so far? Hasn’t the weather been glorious this week; I’m really hoping that we haven’t seen the end of our summer and get to enjoy more lazy warm days in the coming months. The amazing weather gives us much more opportunity to spend time outdoors, and in particular in our gardens. How many barbecues have you shared this week? I for one, have had at least 3!
Now if the great weather inspires you to make more of your outdoor space, how about some tips for creating a family friendly garden, in an up to date contemporary style. The garden needs to be enjoyed by the whole family, young and old, and so when you’re designing or adding to it, it’s important to keep this in mind. I’ve chosen a contemporary style for this piece simply because it’s a look that’s loved by so many. So let’s begin….
To create a contemporary garden, think walls of evergreen shrubs and plants, clean lines, whitewashed walls and plenty of gravel. Using the same plants in rows to create blankets of shape is useful, and creating angular pockets in which to experience the garden works best. Entice the visitor from one area to another with a path leading them through the space. Allow them to walk from one designated space to another by delineating with plants, structures and colour.
Now I’m certainly no expert when it comes to plants, but if you’re creating a more contemporary garden, look to evergreen architectural plants. Many are more exotic than those we’d add to a country garden, so check they are hardy and can withstand our winters. I’ve had a palm in my garden for a decade now and it’s still going strong. The banana tree did finally succumb to a harsh frost but it lasted a good 5 years. Just be careful of anything with harsh spikes if you’re children love to run and play in your garden.
Everyone likes to entertain in their garden no matter how big or small the space, so create an area where family and friends can come together to just be. When the weather is good, make the most of your dining space and eat every family meal there together. Include seating that works for children (benches are good) or give them their own little person’s table and chairs. Parasols help the keep the sun off those that don’t like it, and citronella candles work wonders for keeping away the insects.
If you’ve got your layout correct, this little bit will follow. For a family friendly garden you’ll need something for the children, whether you create a dedicated play space or indulge their love of hide and seek with interesting corners and lairs. A summer house can help, as can lots of tall plants, long grasses and dens. A contemporary garden doesn’t have to always be clinical and cold, just use your imagination for creating something the children will also love.
Like indoors, it’s a good idea to create moments of inspiration. Add features to your garden, whether they’re purchased, made from your hands or simply have grown naturally. If you’ve got a blank wall add some colour, plants or art. If you can include a water feature it makes for a relaxing spot, and if you’re lucky enough to have a large tree, add some lights and bring it to life.
Have fun in your contemporary outdoor space, and if you already have a garden like this we’d love to see some pictures. You can tweet them to us on @OFLoakfurniture! Happy Summer 🙂