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Out is the new in: It’s time to spruce up your outside space

Out is the new in: Spruce up your outside space for social gatherings when restrictions lift

Gardens and other outdoor spaces are about to take on a whole new importance. So fresh inspiration may be needed to keep up appearances.

The easing of restrictions from March 29 will allow groups of six people, or two households, to gather in private gardens again, and alfresco meet-ups may stay popular for some time. 

So if you’re planning a long-awaited lunch party or evening with friends and family, you’ll want your outside space ready and on-trend.

Cheers! Alfresco dining is returning so you’ll want your outside space ready and on-trend

‘Tie your garden ‘room’ together with indoor schemes,’ says Wil Law, home design stylist at John Lewis. 

‘That might mean a Scandi vibe, with neutral, organic textures that bring a more natural look. For others, it is about coloured glassware and crockery that creates a party vibe.’

Thanks to the milder weather, John Lewis has seen sales of picnic hampers, cool bags and rugs increase 123 per cent week on week.

Here’s how to get your garden ready for some well-deserved get-togethers.

SEATING PLANS

Combine style and comfort with practicality and sustainability. Danish designer Mater has reproduced a table-and-chair design from 1955 in timber and steel; it is now made from plastic salvaged from the sea. 

The Ocean Collection comes in concrete green or black (chair, £206, table, from £462). Or try Next’s Bali bench set (£899).

HOME COMFORTS

Flashy flamer: The Phoenix Flower brazier (£260)

Flashy flamer: The Phoenix Flower brazier (£260)

Beautiful cushions add luxury to your garden. For a splash of colour and cheer, try the Fermob Trefle outdoor cushions, (from £52). For extra comfort, place a throw or a blanket on each chair. 

The Heal’s merino and cashmere herringbone throw (£149) will offer an ultra-cosy feel.

For cheap and cheerful, Dunelm’s linen-mix throw at £14 will do the trick.

LIGHTEN UP

Pretty lighting will transform your gathering. For an ambient glow, try a string of weatherproof lantern lights that can be hung along a wall or used with extra long crooks to hang over your table (£28, thewhitecompany.com).

You can also make the day last longer with eco-friendly soy wax candles. Try Neom’s Happiness fragrance which blends seven essential oils of white neroli, woody and powdery mimosa and zingy lemon (from £16).

SET THE TABLE 

Bamboo tableware is a sustainable material and less likely to smash than china. Try Japanese tableware brand Kinto’s bamboo fibre and melamine range (from £3).

Seagrass placemats add a wonderful rustic touch. Try The White Company’s mats handmade in Vietnam (£16 for set of two). 

Seasonal table decorations and centrepieces are easy if you add home-grown foliage and flowers.

READY, STEADY, COOK 

Cooking outside will allow you to spend more time with guests. The go-to option for no-fuss grillers is a gas unit. 

The Morso Forno Gas Grande BBQ has an aluminium body with a minimalist design (£599). 

Charcoal enthusiasts might prefer the Weber Master-Touch Premium BBQ (£375).

Those with the biggest budgets might splash out on a table with an in-built firepit where you can cook. 

The stylish range at Bramblecrest allows you to add a griddle and use the fire as a mini BBQ (from £2,871). 

For smaller gardens and more modest budgets, try a tabletop BBQ such as the Berghoff’s for £149.

KEEP WARM

The fun shouldn’t stop when temperatures drop. Moda’s outdoor heater looks like a smart floor lamp with a pleated shade and a rattan weave base which comes in four colours (£495).

The raw steel brazier at Cox & Cox makes a great centre piece (from £195). 

Or splash out on statement designs at arpestudio.co.uk, such as the Phoenix Flower brazier (from £260).

What your home really needs is … Kilner jars 

A three-litre Kilner jar costs £8 at Dunelm

A three-litre Kilner jar costs £8 at Dunelm

Kitchen storage one-upmanship has turned the spotlight on the Kilner, a type of glass jar invented about 180 years ago by John Kilner, a distant ancestor of TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

The jar was a revolutionary way of bottling food before refrigeration: its two-part lid, made up of a heat-sealable disc and a screw band, forms a pressure seal. 

Another version has a lid attached by a wire mechanism which, when clipped shut, forms an airtight seal with the rubber ring around the rim of the jar.

Your home needs Kilner jars because their elegantly utilitarian appearance suggests that you are a fan of 19th century waste-not-want-not beliefs which are once more highly relevant in this eco-conscious age.

You may be drawn to the idea of displaying these containers, filled with flour, pasta, sugar or beans, on a shelf for Instagram shots.

A three-litre Kilner jar costs £8 at Dunelm. But if you are seeking jars for a variety of uses, including homemade marmalade, or for soaking oats overnight for breakfast, Kilner, the original company has a wide range, including a spaghetti dispenser for £19.50.

ANNE ASHWORTH  

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