Most of us have come to realise that spending time outside has a positive impact on our health and wellbeing. Yet we are still put off from even venturing out into our own gardens when the weather takes a turn for the worst.
Sure, braving the prospect of rain, sleet or snow is not most people’s idea of a good time, but with just a bit of thought and preparation you can turn your garden into a welcoming place whatever the weather has in store.
Here are some ideas that may help you embrace the true spirit of outdoor living, right the way through the year.
In the bleak mid-winter:
Imagine seeing the New Year in with a drink in your hand whilst gazing up at the star studded-sky… in your very own hot tub!
So long as you have a flat, concrete foundation and access to a power supply, you can put a hot tub, bubble tub or Jacuzzi in just about any place you like. Thanks to today’s more affordable, inflatable models, soaking away the post-Christmas blues has never been more achievable.
For the ultimate peaceful, private spa tub experience, however, just make sure you get set up in a secluded corner or add some well placed fencing or planting to shield you from the prying eyes of the neighbours.
Adding some outdoor lighting will help set the mood, show off favourite garden features, as well as provide a well lit path for your journey from your home to your hot tub.
Alternatively, if keeping your clothes on when the weather gets cold is more your style, then there are other ways of cosying up outside on a cold winter day that don’t involve getting wet.
For instance, a well-placed, glass fronted building that faces directly into the winter sun will help you benefit from the gentle warmth of any wintry celestial rays that manage to break through the cloud.
And if the sun fails to appear at all, then the comfort of installing a small heater or even tucking yourself in a comfy chair with a hot water bottle should be all you need to stay toasty and warm inside your snug little garden retreat.
Most people are prepared to venture outside in spring to get ready for the warmer weather. But rather than putting all of your efforts into planting summer flowering blooms and shrubs during this milder season, go for winter-flowering varieties instead.
Winter flowering jasmine is really easy to grow and will bring a splash of yellow during the darker months. Alternatively create a winter flowering planter with hellebores or heathers that will turn heads with a shot of pink and purple.
It may seem a long way off when Easter’s not even upon us, but you’ll appreciate the breakthrough of colour even more when they are contrasted to the backdrop of a stark, December day.
Even in summer we are tested by the elements. If it’s hot, sitting in direct sunlight is not only very unpleasant, it is downright dangerous. Furthermore, our spirits and plans are often ruined by drizzly days or temperatures that are quite frankly well below-par.
Whether it’s a simple lean-to, a lapa or a more elaborate pagoda with a retractable roof, creating a sheltered area in your garden is a great way of transforming a normal patio into a practical indoor-outdoor space. It also means you’ll never have to postpone your summer party due to a rainy afternoon again.
The golden season:
With its dramatic colours of reds and browns, autumn is a great time to be outside.
Yet, with more rain and less sun, your grassy areas are likely to become water-logged and could be at risk from turning into a muddy quagmire underfoot.
It’s therefore a good idea to create a path by laying paving stones or hiring in the experts to construct a resin bonded gravel walkway to link up your various garden ‘landmarks’. This will make walking from your house to hang out the washing or visit shed a whole lot cleaner and easier.
Incidentally, investing in some ‘all weather’ rattan garden furniture will mean you will avoid having to walk down the garden to drag out the table and chairs every time you want to drink your coffee outside.
With your favourite weather proof seat waiting for you, you’ll be more inclined to spend time enjoying the final days of sunshine rather than immediately heading off inside for a break.
With chillier times ahead:
With winter on the way, you can no longer rely on the sun’s natural rays to provide the warmth and light we crave. In its absence, draw in your friends and family by investing in a chiminea or fire pit and building a roaring log fire instead.
The heat and ambience omitted by a natural flame has the ability to cheer even the gloomiest of spirits during any social event. Add to the occasion by dusting off the barbeque to cook a veritable al-fresco feast – in aid of Guy Fawkes Night, for instance. Quality time together wouldn’t get much better than that!
Fulfil your garden’s potential
From lazing in a hot-tub to sharing a winter barbeque with your kids, there’s no doubt that your garden has the potential to provide you with a huge amount of pleasure right the way through the year.
So, if you need any inspiration or a hand with getting your ideas underway, then don’t hesitate to give Thames Valley Landscapes a ring. We can create a space for you that will tempt you out from your house and see you embracing the concept of true outdoor living from one month to the next.