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Here comes the summer

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 June 2014

Colourful with a hint of vintage, selection of crates and baskets from dunnesstores.com

Colourful with a hint of vintage, selection of crates and baskets from dunnesstores.com

Archant

It’s the biggest room you have, but it’s easy to forget: CAROL BURNS celebrates the coming of summer by giving the garden furniture a facelift

Your garden, if it’s anything like mine, is looking less than glorious after the battering of a storm-splattered winter, but now is the time to head outside, survey the damage and create an oasis out of your biggest room.

First up is to give the plants the TLC they need as well as add a few new ones into the mix. The lawn needs loving care, cutting and feeding, but that’s for another page: here we are looking at accessories for your garden. After all the backbreaking work of tidying your garden, you’ll need some stunning seating – and today’s choices go way behind the plastic and wicker. If you are spending a lot of cash – it’s worth considering where you are going to store them when the winter arrives. Can it stay outside all year round (my personal favourite) or does it need more TLC then you have space in your shed? Can you combine it as conservatory furniture that can be moved outside when the weather suits - especially if you fancy one with plenty of plump pillows? If you like to use your garden as a social space you will need to consider seating – not everyone is going to want to risk staining their party wear by copping a squat on your lawn, however perfect it is. I like to have different areas of seating to make the most of the different light, as well as offering guests informal spaces to gather.

When it comes to material – moulded plastic is hard to beat for longevity and value for money – but wood, if cared for, can last just as long. Shabby chic crates can be repainted each spring (go for whites, blues and greens) and filled with bedding plants to create cheap planters, or use packing crates to create low coffee (or cocktail) tables. The trend for reloving what was once disposable packaging means interiors companies now sell as many types of crates as they do lampshades, but remember the originals are not made to last, so you’ll need to treat them if you want to keep them.

If you want to extend your garden hours, you’ll need to consider lighting – and heating. Strings of solar-powered twinkling fairy lights have remained popular for a party night feel, but you might want something more substantial if you sit outside a lot.

Of course the most important garden accessory is you – so get out there and enjoy the summer!

To see all the garden items we picked out, simply view the gallery to the right hand side of this page.

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