Whether it’s a balcony, or a terrace or patio within a bigger garden, there are some simple tricks and tips you can use to make the space as inviting as possible – for guests, or (more importantly) for yourself!
From planting to seating to ideas above the eyeline, these pearls of wisdom from our garden designer and co-founder Alex will help spruce up any seating area.
Interesting planters and pots of various heights mean they are not only a space saver but can be used to create a sense of enclosure when placed around a seating area, or as focal points around the garden. The style of planter is important here too. Ensure that it’s in keeping with the overall style of the garden as much as the interior of the house to ensure a sense of continuity. Bring the outside in, and the inside out.
Lighting is incredibly important within a garden,adding wonderful atmosphere during the evening. So, on a patio or terrace choose lights that suit what you’ll be using the space for. Do you want portable ones? Ones that are fitted into the paving or steps? Ones that uplight trees and set within planting? Or ones that have a more interior aesthetic (such as standing lights that are suitable for outdoors)? One of the important things to remember is to not put too many lights in the garden! Less is more.
A sense of locality
Create a sense of site specificity by thinking about locality and rhythm. Locality in terms of using materials that are local to and suit the area, and rhythm in relation to the fact that the patio will usually always come off of the kitchen of the house, and so using paving that is similar in texture, colour or size and cut creates a smooth transition. Keeping the same level from the kitchen / house to the garden will also contribute to this feeling.
Planting a combination of plants that are visually interesting as well as being multi-sensory (such as scented herbs or flowers and plants that sound lovely in the wind like grasses) can create an interesting patio or terrace space and adds an extra dimension.
Furniture is usually very important on a patio or terrace, creating a reason to sit and be in the garden. Choose furniture that will suit the number of people wanting to use it such as a dining table with a certain number of seats or enough sofas that are the right size. Often, inbuilt benches are a space saver and can fit more people on them, and they can also be built with storage integrated.
Depending on the size of your terrace or patio, introducing a structure such as a pergola can add interest and enclosure. Materials that complement the house and garden are important in designing a pergola, as well as placement. They can be ideal when wanting to create shade in a sunny spot, or can even be built attached to the house to create a more subtle transition from house to garden. They can also serve as beautiful frames for climbing plants such as passiflora from our Mediterranean and Jungle theme, or clematis from our Cottage, and jasmine from our Classic theme.
Onto climbers… if you have fencing or walls in your terrace area, or the aforementioned pergola, consider using climbers to create height and greenery and soften the boundaries. Many climbers, such as Passiflora or Trachelospermum are very happy growing in pots.