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January 31, 2013

How to Turn your Garden into a Social Space

A dreamy and vibrant social garden by Harold Leidner Landscape Architects via Houzz

There may be a layer of snow currently covering your garden, but spring is just around the corner - really! - and these tips will help you to create a superb social space, whether you have a cosy country style garden or a spacious urban garden. Your garden is an extension of your home and so it should be just as visually appealing as your interior décor. Easier said than done I know, but the following may help make it feel a less daunting project. 


If you want your garden to be the hub of every social gathering this spring/summer, seating is crucial. When you are planning your design, the first step is to plan the location of your wooden garden furniture. There are many things to consider when choosing the location; for example, which areas receive the most sun and shade. Once you have pinpointed a place for your seating you can then begin to plan the points of interest around this area, such as flower beds and plants. This adds to the ambience and appearance of your seating area and gives guests something pretty to look at. When choosing the type of furniture you require, be practical. You will need a dining set that is functional but one that also provides comfort while adding a touch of style to your garden.


If you want to socialise after dark, you will need high quality outdoor lighting to keep the party going once the sun sets. Lights are not only a functional aspect of your garden, they create a mood and are also a great way to highlight any special features. If you have a water feature, strategically placed lights can draw attention to the things you want to show off (and maybe keep some areas that could use improvement in the dark). And you can use lighting to illuminate pathways and doorways to keep your guests safe.


Nothing will cut a party short like the cold. If you want your guests to be comfortable, it is going to take more than comfy seats when the temperatures drop. Strategically placed heat lamps will provide enough heat to ensure your garden is usable all year round. Or for an impressive centrepiece that will also keep you and your guests warm, a chiminea is a great choice that will also add a splash of colour. 


When designing your garden to create a social space, you will need to consider ways to make your garden private. Fences are one way to create privacy but there are a lot of creative ways in which you can make your space more intimate. Plants and shrubbery provide barriers that will enhance your garden without making your guests feel claustrophobic. Or you can do what my neighbours did and put up straw walls (I'm not sure what they're called) that tower above the fence, thus extending it and making your garden feel a bit more secluded.


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