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Everyone outside! Here are the stylish new ways to update your outdoor space to embrace the sunshine

  • Get comfy with cushions and rugs made entirely from discarded plastic bottles
  • Serve al fresco suppers with trendy vegetable patterned accessories and barmy banana bowls
  • Invest in a pizza oven or try a BBQ with smoker?

Summer is here at last. And isn’t it glorious? Yes, we should all know better, but there’s no stopping us gearing up in the hope of long, lazy evenings of al fresco drinking and dining.

Balmy days: The lightweight and elegant Eos range by Matthew Hilton available at Heals

Balmy days: The lightweight and elegant Eos range by Matthew Hilton available at Heals

Hatching ambitious plans for our gardens to become vibrant extended living spaces; compiling a list of the latest outdoor cooking gadgets… No one is going to rain on our parade. So, what are the top trends this year?

BE SEATED

There’s more to outdoor furniture than bulky L-shapes and impossible deckchairs. Heal’s has the supremely elegant Eos collection by Matthew Hilton designed to be light in both looks and weight. Table, £530 and chair, £160, heals.com.

If you’re in the market for more of a tropical feel, then Habitat’s multi-coloured wire range, Jambi, is one way to make your garden bloom even if your flowers aren’t out. Garden chair, £120, and garden bench (more of a sofa) £250, habitat.co.uk.

Moroccan inspired: The jaunty Soloman Ceramic indoor/outdoor table by Tracey Boyd 

Moroccan inspired: The jaunty Soloman Ceramic indoor/outdoor table by Tracey Boyd 

It’s useful to have something low on which to park a drink next to your outdoor bench or sofa.

The Moroccan inspired Solomon Ceramic indoor/outdoor table by fashion-turned-furniture designer Tracey Boyd will bring a festival feel and also work inside as a bedside table, £158, anthropologie.com.

Her Ancer indoor/outdoor powder-coated metal chair is a beautifully delicate take on bistro chairs, £308.

IN AND OUT

The notion of furnishings that you can use inside and out is a brilliant one, but it hasn’t always been truly convincing.

Clever Weaver Green, based in Salcombe, Devon, creates rugs and cushions made entirely from discarded plastic bottles. 

Clever concept: Outdoor cushions by Weaver Green made entirely from recycled plastic bottles 

Clever concept: Outdoor cushions by Weaver Green made entirely from recycled plastic bottles 

They have the same durable, washable, tough qualities of plastic, but feel like wool. That means you can sling one of their rugs on to your patio or decking, under a dining table, for softness under foot without worrying about the evening damp.

I like the new kilim rug Zahara and the coral Iris rug (From £130 and £138 respectively, weavergreen.com). 

Their Oxford cushions come in several colours and will suit any scheme (£25). For added texture, Anthropologie has a range of outdoor cushions in zippy shades from £48.

TABLE PLANS

The more veg on the menu the better. Dolce & Gabbana think we should be wearing it and have a gorgeous range of summer dresses in pea pod and eggplant prints. 

In lieu of a (very pricey) frock, I’ll settle for decorating my table with pea pod napkins by Thornback & Peel (£45 for a set of four, thornbackandpeel.co.uk). Their lobsters are fun, too, at £15 for four coasters.

You can go to town with a veggie place setting. OKA has an eight-piece artichoke plate and bowl set for £136, oka.com.

Picnic time: The summery Lemon Grove melamine 12 piece set from Lakeland

Picnic time: The summery Lemon Grove melamine 12 piece set from Lakeland

While SCP’s perky banana bowl is the show stealer of serveware, £65, scp.co.uk.

Canterbury Pottery specialises in beautifully glazed ceramics, which will do good service indoors and out. Salad bowl £36, canterburypottery.com.

If you’re worried about smashing plates, Lakeland has a comprehensive 12-piece melamine set — Lemon Grove — for £49.99, lakeland.co.uk.

And Dutch designer Bodil Jane has illustrated a charming jungle themed range of bamboo dinnerware, pictured here (plates £6.95 each, cups £6.50, scp.co.uk).

MASTERCHEFS

Last year we all wanted a pizza oven, this year we’re hankering after a smoker. The Landmann Tennessee Charcoal 200 Smoker promises ‘low and slow’ cooking as well as a grill for the traditionalists (£249, johnlewis.com). Happy days for those who’ve tried to char an aubergine over a gas ring.

Lakeland offers the multi-tasking Cobb Premier Charcoal Barbecue Grill, which can be used to roast a joint, fry a breakfast, bake a pizza as well as smoke, £109.99.

Holy smoke: The Landmann Tennessee Charcoal 200 Smoker is on our summer wishlist

Holy smoke: The Landmann Tennessee Charcoal 200 Smoker is on our summer wishlist

Pizza ovens are still popular and the slick-looking Uuni starts at £199 for a portable version. Bucket BBQs are cheap as chips. Sainsbury’s has a jaunty red one, £10, sainsburys.co.uk.

If you want something to keep you warm when the sun goes down, then try the stylish Flame Garden Firebowl by Skagerak (£249, heals.com).

Wrap any leftover sausages in jolly printed and eco-friendly beeswax wraps from the no-plastic shop £20, noplasticshop.co.uk.

POTS OF FUN

Whether your garden is big or small a beautiful pot will enhance the space. 

Suffolk Potteries offers the lovely looking hand thrown terracotta strawberry pot, which might inspire you to grow your pudding, (£44, suffolkpotteries.co.uk). 

Antique and terracotta pots come in all shapes and sizes at Sussex-based Pots and Pithoi, potsandpithoi.com.

If you’re growing tomatoes and want to go one better than a plastic builder’s bucket, then try the recyclable Bacsac, in rose, bright yellow or black (from £64 for 25l, scp.co.uk). 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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