Garden furniture should feel like part of your garden, and one of most popular garden styles is the traditional British garden. Think classic woody trees, leafy hedges, and rich, full borders.
For something very classic, try the Amalfi cast aluminium range. It suits a sprawling suburban garden with brimming borders that still retains that neat look of paved patios and pathways.
Give your furniture the best base with a great patio. I love these huge slabs with strong edges. To avoid a concrete garden look, leave small gaps between slabs or lift odd ones out and fill the space with plants. Succulents and grasses are great hardy choices, or flowering plants like geraniums and sedums will add a welcome burst of colour.
Complement the natural stone look with a sandy-coloured textiles. The neutral parasol colour will filter the sun’s rays to a soft light. Now you can add colour with fun patchwork cushions and accessories like candles. And don’t forget the garden plants!
The main place to add flower colour is in the deep borders. Grow a selection of traditional bushy plants like roses, fuchsias, peonies and rhododendrons. You can add to this with smaller summer bedding plants like petunias and pelargoniums.
Give your borders a green backdrop with trees and laurel hedges. If you have fences or walls, cover them with trellis and train climbing plants along them.
And don’t underestimate the importance of foliage! Leafy texture is the lush stage that allows the flowers to shine. If you don’t want green, complement your colour scheme with tinted leaves. I love the overriding pink and red feel to this garden, and you can boost that with rich red foliage like heuchera and a smoke bush.
With all those wild, bushy plants, you need a sharper shape to bring order and focus to the borders. Give a nod to the formal country estate look even in a small garden by lining your pathway with a low box hedge. It’s less maintenance than most people think – you don’t have to be a topiary artist. If you prune it too much in one spot, it will grow back!
With all these amazing plants, it makes sense to choose a furniture set with an open design that directs the eye through and towards the nature behind. Complement this with candles in laser-cut metal holders. When they are lit in the evening, the light flickers through the cut-out metal structures and furniture.
If you want something a little looser and more modern, try tucking a two-seat set from the Bentley weave range into a shady corner. The woody appearance of the furniture blends into the garden design for a seamless natural look.
Set it against a traditional rustic backdrop like a moss-covered stone wall. I love how the moss theme is continued on the little hen statues! Nestle furniture into the base of a leafy apple tree for a countryside orchard feel – plus you’ll get loads of fresh fruit in the autumn!
To get this look at home, keep everything very relaxed. Let beds and borders encroach on the patio and leave things to grow freely. As with any shade garden, foliage is key. Aim for a mixture of sizes, shapes and textures.
Plant low-growing varieties at the front of beds and around the patio edge to give great cover and fill the bare soil around the base of trees. Hostas are a great choice as they come in a huge range of styles, and ferns give a magic woodland feel.
Use the cushions to complement the greenery. When you buy good quality furniture that lasts, you can afford to spend time updating the look each year with accessories. Choose bright, fun cushions that make it look cosy so people will want to sit on them.
You can also add brighter colour with the plants. The rule of thumb for year-round interest in shady beds is to use spring bulbs, shade-loving flowers for summer, fruit for autumn and evergreens like grasses and ivy for winter.
Frame the setting by putting tall plants at the back. Here we have crocosmia with its bright orange flowers and strong, sharp leaves that counteracts the soft, curved shape of the furniture.
The wood-textured weave also fits in perfectly with a wilder look, although it’s actually made of resin so it’s weather-resistant and won’t rot. The range also has metal feet, so you don’t have to worry about the rain or faff around with ugly plastic covers.
Complement the woody theme and recycle old tools like spades by using them as garden accessories in the flower beds. It’s also the perfect perch for garden birds!
Terracotta pots are also a great way to bring plants onto the patio and around the furniture. Container gardens are perfect for indecisive gardeners, because you can regularly change the contents and layout to reflect your mood.
With a little careful planting and some fun accessories, you can make your garden feel like an extension of your house. Make it welcoming and harmonious and you’ll want to live outdoors!