The Abode

Getting your garden summer ready

22 April 2016 15:20

We’ve been experiencing some lovely weather over the past few days and everyone is hopeful that this is the start of a tropical summer season. At the very least, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t experience a typically wet British summer!.

If you’re anything like us then, you’ll want your own outdoor haven where you can enjoy the sun and relax after the working week. We’ve been on the hunt and have come up with a few tips to make your garden summer-ready so there’s nothing to stop you lighting the barbeque and pouring yourself an al fresco Pimms once the temperatures climb.


What better way to prolong your time spent in the garden of an evening than by purchasing a chimenea. With a choice of three types (fire clay, cast iron or a steel and cast iron mix), these wonderful patio heaters will keep you and your friends warm as the sun sets on your summer parties.

Pallets are a low cost way to make a variety of garden furniture, including tables, chairs and benches. If you’ve got a spare afternoon and can track down some pallets, why not give it a try? You could also add some pillows and blankets to make them more comfortable. Pallet

Ever thought of making your own barbeque? If you can’t bear thought of a gas barbeque and fancy a challenge then check out Gardeners World’s step-by-step guide to building your own barbeque, which makes it look incredibly easy – find out more here.

Have you got some old wooden step ladders in the garage that you rarely use? Why not use them as a prop for your plotted plants? There are all sorts that can be planted; you could even create your own herb garden. Not only would a herb garden be pleasing on the eye, it could also save you a fortune on fresh shop-bought herbs!

Finally, the finishing touches can usually be argued as the most important. Fairy lights, candles and bunting will make your garden look summery and ensure it’s the envy of all your friends.Bunting

Summer is coming, Part II – Furnishing the garden

09 September 2015 21:16

Continuing on from our (tenuously themed) Game of Thrones barbecue preparation tips, we are now looking at the all important garden furniture.

Undeniably, buying garden furniture can be difficult. You don’t want so much that you won’t be able to store it over the winter and you don’t want so little that no one has a place to sit. One common (and effective) solution is to source durable metal furniture that can last through the winter months. However, make sure you add some rust protection, or it might not be quite as smart next year.

Next you need to add a bit of style to this metallic suite. Spruce it up with some colourful cushions that reflect the hues of the summer months. This orange, yellow and grey ensemble is an excellent example:

If you benefit from added storage space, then you will have a bit more choice in terms of garden furniture. This thatched set (below) fits extremely well with garden patios. However, be warned: While clean, this furniture is a great addition to any garden but the white cushions can get dirty very fast! Proper maintenance is essential.

An important thing to consider when buying garden furniture is flow. The style you use outside must reflect the style choices made inside. While they don’t have to be identical, a logical flow to the ground floor makes for far greater usage, comfort and style. This outdoor dining table below seems like a very natural extension of the homes’ interior.

The paramount thing to think about is function. How will the furniture be used? Are you likely to be entertaining lots of guests? Will you sit out on sun loungers? Will you eat outside? All of these questions are essential considerations when buying garden furniture. Don’t be stuck with a large sofa that you never use! Or even worse…

The great outdoors

16 April 2015 12:40

You might not know it from the weather outside but the summer is fast approaching so if you’re lucky enough to have some outside space it’s time to dust off the lawnmower and get the deck chairs out and start making the most of your garden.

A garden shouldn’t be seen as a totally separate entity to the house but rather an extension of it. We’ve all heard the phrase “bring the outdoors in” but why not try the other way round and take the indoors out?

Extending your living room beyond its four walls is relatively easy. The addition of a patio area or some decking to the back garden can really work wonders in making living space feel larger (the FMB can help you find a local builder to help you out with this!) Add some outdoor chairs, sofas or even bean bags and a chiminea for when the sun goes down and you’ve immediately added an additional room to your house for the fraction of the cost.

There’s nothing better in the summer than a good old BBQ and if you fancy a slightly more extravagant addition to your garden why not consider installing a stone pizza oven? Not only can it be used all year round (if you’re willing to make the mad dash across the lawn in the middle of winter that is!) but it can also be used to slow cook casseroles or joints of meat. Plus it makes a great talking point.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have acres of land to spare around their house but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to its maximum. Even the smallest back yard can be turned into an outdoor dining room with a table and a couple of chairs or tie a hammock between washing line posts for the ultimate lazy afternoon chill out spot.

And if after all your hard work we end up with a typical English summer, at least you will have something nice too look at out the window!

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