We increasingly view our gardens as an extension of our home, a room of its own where we can relax, dine and entertain. As with our indoor space, the garden’s furniture and finishing’s can be a playful expression of our unique tastes and be designed to work around our individual lifestyle.

So where to start?

First, think about what the main purpose of your garden will be – will it be a lounge area for casual entertaining, a more formal dining space or a flexible area which accommodates both?

Consider the size of your garden when selecting furniture as it tends to be larger than indoor. Think about practical considerations – if you need a family dining area ensure you have enough space for chairs to be comfortably accessed and that people are able to circulate around it. For smaller areas, consider bench seating which makes good use of limited space.

“Outdoor fireplaces can offer a welcoming central focus to seating areas

For a lounging area, an arrangement of both arm chairs and sofas can offer adaptability for different sizes of groups. Don’t forget to include tables in your setting, be it a couple of small coffee table or a larger ottoman which can double up as a relaxing footstool. Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces can offer a welcoming central focus to seating areas and allow you to continue using the garden into cooler months.

As with indoor schemes, the choice of furniture on offer is vast ranging from classic to contemporary in style with outdoor weather proof materials such as wood, metal, plastic, fabric and rattan to choose from. The key to selecting a look is to reflect the overall design of the garden or outdoor space and to be sympathetic to architecture of house. For a bolder scheme, a complete contrast can also work, for example a minimal modernist styling accompanying a period property.

Finally, don’t forget to accessorise as you would indoors – soft furnishings such as cushions and throws can be stored during inclement weather or opt for the waterproof and water resistant materials which can be left out overnight. Larger pouffes, bean bags and soft floor cushions add texture and alternative seating for larger groups.