How to achieve patio perfection

Carmelo dining table and two benches set 699, Marks & Spencer.

Carmelo dining table and two benches set 699, Marks & Spencer.

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Ignore the clouds and pretty up the patio ready for summer. Gabrielle Fagan picks on-trend looks for well-dressed outdoor spaces.

Lounging around outdoors, enjoying a drink in the sunshine or dining al fresco, has been a dream rather than a reality so far this summer.

If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space, it deserves as much attention as your indoor rooms.

A survey by Lloyds TSB Insurance has found that over the last year Britons spent £14 billion turning their gardens into luxury havens. Our holiday budgets may still be tight, which is all the more reason to make the most of the summer at home. The survey found that furniture, hot tubs and summerhouses are increasing in popularity while sales of plants declined.

“We are valuing our garden spaces more as the trend to improve rather than move continues,” says Frances Tophill, presenter of ITV’s Love Your Garden.

“As homeowners have become too time-poor for gardening, features like decking, summerhouses and leisure items have moved into prime position in our gardens.”

On average, our individual spend is £900 on outdoor furniture and accessories, with the equipment in our gardens totalling around £2,000.

“Designers are helping to transform our outdated perceptions of garden spaces. They are focusing on outdoor furniture as never before and using state-of-the-art materials and marine-grade fabrics to produce innovative, weather-proof collections,” says Tina Mahony at Go Modern.

“People now want to create the ‘wow’ factor when they entertain outdoors. The modern approach is literally to take the indoors out and conjure a sophisticated, beautifully-furnished area which seamlessly blends with the interior.”

Make outdoor living an affair to remember with furniture and accessories for stylish social spaces...

White delight

Pure white has been a star on the fashion catwalk and is playing a key role on patios this summer.

“The disadvantage of white furniture, that it was hard to clean, has disappeared with the use of durable, modern materials,” says Luke Albery at Encompass Furniture.

“White reflects the light, and can make a space look larger and is an ideal choice for those who want to make an impact with a makeover.”

Cheap and chic: John Lewis’s sleek metal and white Milo Lounging set, £299, comprises a sofa, two chairs and a coffee table. Accessorise with a white Beehive planter, £125, Sparrow & Finch.

Big spender: Barlow Tyrie’s Aura collection, from The Chelsea Gardener, could be the perfect kit for cocktails or dinner. The range features a teak-top high table, £795, with high dining carver chairs, £340 each.

Curl up and feel cocooned in a Dedon Nestrest chair, from £6,820 at Leisure Plan, which wouldn’t look out of place on a sun-drenched Caribbean terrace.Add essential twinkling candlelight with LSA glass Terrace storm lanterns, from £16.50 each, Red Candy.