We can be guilty of ignoring our outdoor spaces for much of the year and when those precious days of sunshine arrive, the neglect shows. Get your garden 'summer ready? with our easy updates.
Start with the basics and add a lick of paint. If your home is full of colour, extend that to your outdoors too - why should your signature style stop at the back door? Roisin Lafferty of Cuprinol believes that bolder can be better in small spaces. ?Dramatic colours are a great option when it comes to making a statement in smaller patio garden spaces.?Cuprinol's Beach Blue and Dazzling Yellow are brilliantly bright and add a real impact.?
Heatwaves aren't something we are overly familiar with here, so have a throw or several to hand when al fresco dining. These Donegal and Herringbone throws from Avoca, from €69.95, will keep us toasty, whatever the weather.
Outdoor lighting can be pretty as well as practical, and has moved beyond wall lights to fairy lights and paper lanterns, bamboo torches and solar spikes. Candlelight adds atmosphere, and let's face, is so flattering. Use glass hurricane lamps like this Newington hurricane vase from Neptune to keep the flame burning.
Tiles are a simple and effective way to shake up your space, but there are a few things to bear in mind. Look for porcelain or natural stone and ensure they are suitable for outdoors. Choose an exterior adhesive and don't forget to apply a sealant or protector once the tiles are laid to prevent as much water absorption as possible. Create your own design with the Blenheim from Tile Style - ideal where space is at a premium.
Like most things in life, your garden furniture will benefit greatly from a good scrub. Power hose wood and metal and allow dry for a day or two before making any touch-ups such as re-staining or re-painting. Wipe down cushions with an antibacterial spray. This Regent 6-piece patio set Woodies will wear well and the neutral colour palette will suit any setting.
A pretty runner or a colourful tablecloth will hide a multitude of imperfections and coordinating cloth napkins will add a touch of luxury. Ikea has a super range to mix and match. Plain old paper plates don't really cut the mustard anymore. Tiger has upped their game with silver plastic cutlery and silver paper plates, while Dunnes Stores have a pretty selection of melamine tumblers and serving dishes.
Add some scented flowers and herbs to your garden. Gardenia is a good choice for both blooms and scent. Plant them in pots and dot them around your dining area and allow the scent to drift over you. Not only pretty, Calendula has a sweet smell and can be used in tea too. Grow them in a sunny area close to your patio or deck. With its lilac flowers and gorgeous scent, lavender is the ideal plant for those who are less than green-fingered. Simply plant and prune in colder weather. Lemon thyme has a fresh citrussy scent and will attract bees to your garden. Chop it into fish dishes.
Opening image: Woodies