Those who are a bit smart and good at reading between the lines will have done this over a year ago. Those early adopters will be feeling pretty good about themselves now, what with their patio heaters, rain-protecting garden umbrellas and outside seating in place ready for the visitors who regularly come over for BBQs, food and coffee alfresco. For the rest of us, it might just have become apparent that what with the warmer weather here and the fact that this blasted covid doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast, it might be a good idea to invest in our outside spaces. So, if, like us, you’re a bit slow to the party, or maybe you’ve been saving up, or have moved house, and want to make your outside space visitor-ready, we’ve got some handy hacks from Sunday Times Home writer Katrina Burroughs. In her recent article Guest Ready, she says: Come wind, hail or snow, we will be entertaining outdoors… However, spoiler alert, temperatures may not be scorching… Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, is my advice… Here’s how to cheat the cold and get a garden guest ready:
• Seating: Three lockdowns have left us with a passionate attachment to our sofa and in no mood to compromise on comfort… When we meet again, let it be on padded outdoor couches
• Layer-up squashy seating with cushions and blankets
• Of course it will rain. If you’ve got the space invest in a pergola
• Next we need lights and music. Supplement the glow from the fire pit with a selection of lanterns, rechargeable table lamps and fairy lights. Outdoor speakers are a good idea too
• I never thought I would write these words, but have you considered a garden bar? In previous seasons stylish drinks trolleys have played a starring role in outdoor entertaining. Post covid, rather than trundling a trolley back indoors to restock, we want to keep the festivities outside, so it might make sense to think bigger
• Let’s gussy up our gardens and raise a glass to the return of freedom, even if we have to huddle up under a showerproof canopy, wrapped in a blanket to enjoy it!
Futon Company says: We thoroughly enjoyed reading Katrina’s article and it fired up our imaginations no end. Dreams of an outside bar, a designated sheltered area and a 24-hour party vibe is just what we need to inspire us right now. But for many of us, especially those who have a tiny outside space, perhaps a small balcony or decked area – or just the nearby park, or where money needs to be maximised, it’s not always possible to buy big or invest it items that only work in one place. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your outside space. Instead, get practical and think small, for example, investing in lightweight indoor furniture that can be carried outside, and using accessories to smarten up your outside space and bring a party vibe. Layer rugs and cushions. And if you’re really in the mood for something different, how about an outdoor sleepover? Dream big, buy small and stay cosy and warm – that’s the key to going out out when you’re in!