The evenings are getting longer and children are beginning to count down the days to the end of term.
You can hear the occasional lawn mower hum at 7pm and we’re all wondering if this can be three great heat waves in a row or is it payback time for two unseasonably warm summers.
Right about now we begin to wonder how to creat that great outdoor living space. Let’s face it, not many of us have large gardens, some of us don’t even face South or West but there are plenty of things we can do to create an oasis for the summer.
Here are 10 tips to keep in mind;
Connection, by means of a sliding door from the dining area allows you to open your dining are into the great outdoors. A patio that is the same level as you floor inside will let you connect seamlessly with the your garden but you will need a special threshold drain for this.
Decking was very popular a few years ago but paving has proved a better fit for the Irish climate. There is also the issue of vermin and maintainance so hard paving has become much more popular recently. Either natural or reconstituted (cheaper and visually as good) work best (avoid concrete if possible) and smaller sizes for smaller spaces is a good general rule.
If you have enough room, some grass is great. It’s more cost effective than paving the area entirely and it breaks up the space. It breaks up a large open space and provide great visual texture and colour.
Bare concrete block walls can easily be disguised with shrubs and creepers. Avoid plastering them if possible as this can be expensive and will not drastically improve the asthetic of your garden. (You can never have too much greenery)
As a rule I like a small covered canopy outside a patio door. This may be just enough to cover you as you stand under when the weather isn’t ideal but in this country it can give you options when you need them to just get outside for some fresh air.
The standard garage is an Irish norm but there are very expensive structures for what you get out of them. A more cost effective solution is the steel shed. (Avoid the timber ones because we all know they just don’t last beyond 5 years or so)
A little lighting can really set-off a garden at night (and help you find the clothes line when a late night shower threatens) avoid the old flood light. It may be strong on function but it turns your back garden into a yard. Ambient illumination is the key.
There is nothing like the sound of a trickle of water when you relax, a discrete fountain can recycle a small quantity of water and be designed to be safe for children, All you need is a power source, (not even a hose)
And finally sunlight. Remember an East facing garden faces West at the other end so place the barbecue there to catch the end of the sun on those sultry evenings, and when the sun finally goes down get another hour or two out of the evening with a pot belly stove, while you finish that bottle of wine.
Enjoy the summer, and the much needed time off!