Take it outside... bringing your outdoor space to life
Bring the smallest outdoor spaces to life with plants and compact furniture
Think you need a giant back garden in order to enjoy the outdoors this summer? Think again. Whether you have a patio or an apartment balcony, there are quick tricks you can employ to make your space comfortable for a little lounging or dining in the sunshine, however sporadically it may appear.
Start with space-saving furniture that can fold away or double as storage, create privacy, and cover dull concrete with trailing plants or an edible herb garden. Then deck the walls with pretty fairy lights and cosy candlelight. Set the table and voilà! You'll be enjoying your next meal al fresco in your gorgeous made-over small space.
Climb the Walls
Use the walls of your small space to your advantage, both to provide privacy and to bring greenery to the area. Fill planters or flower boxes that can sit on top of balconies or walls (see panel).
2 Small Space Furniture
Every small space needs compact furniture to make it more functional. Opt for a bistro set that's perfect for outdoor meals. Nothing gives you that summer feeling like eating a meal outdoors, whether you're eating your cereal in the morning or enjoying a glass of wine in the evening.
Buy it: Cortado table, €140, Marks & Spencer
3 Bring the Ambience
With the longest day of the year sadly behind us, the days will start to get a little shorter. Make the most of the warmer temperatures by stringing fairy lights on fences and walls or around patio umbrellas to lend ambience to darker evenings. Candles add a little warmth to the space as well.
Buy it: Bright retro bulbs, €40, Next
4 Set the Table
Stocking up on a few pieces of outdoor cutlery and place settings can make a cheery impact for your small space. Melamine glasses are your best bet in case they're knocked over. Invite a friend (or two, space allowing!) over for a meal and enjoy these longer, lighter days while we have them.
Buy it: Picnic wine glasses, €20 for four, Next
Wondering what your best options are for covering dull concrete walls and bringing life to your patio or balcony? Try these macrame hanging planters
(€55.26 and €16.60 for glass bowls, arumfellow.com).
Horticulturist Teresa O'Grady, from Woodie's in Drogheda, also has three fabulous options for you.
"The lowest maintenance option would be the Goldchild ivy (Hedera Helix), it's fast-growing and self-clinging, evergreen, and it has small green leaves with a yellow margin." For a pop of colour on your walls, Teresa recommends a clematis, which likes a trellis to climb and brings beautiful white or purple blooms in the springtime. Or to add a gorgeous scent to your balcony, try honeysuckle. "It would need some training support, but it is evergreen and has white and yellow, heavenly scented flowers."