Add a little Chelsea Flower Show style and take your living room outside

2012 is a year for celebration – we have the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and last but not least, the reinvention of the garden room. This summer, you can add a little Chelsea Flower Show style to your garden and create a brand new living room just beyond your back door with sofas, chairs and loungers from the new exciting ranges of affordable, all-weather furniture that blur the line between outdoors and in. You can take a tour of ACHICA’s range of garden accessories – plants, pots and ornaments – to complete your new look. But before you click to order, take a moment to check that your furniture will fit on your patio and that your flooring, just like a carpet, complements the style.

Does it measure up?

First, measure your patio, and compare the dimensions with those of your chosen furniture. Check that the chairs, sofa, or dining room set will fit comfortably, allowing you to pull back the chairs or walk around them without falling into the flowerbeds.

Pave the way

The new-style all-weather sofas and chairs demands a beautiful floor to match and a clean, simple paving design will show off the furniture to the best effect. Natural stone is elegant and stylish, and will last a lifetime. If you have children and pets, opt for a grey indigenous stone, such as this super chic Gwrhyd-Pennant sandstone from Stonemarket, which won’t show the dirt and is easy to clean. Or for a country-style garden, go for something a little more rustic, like the Vintage stone range [below], which provides the perfect foil for flower-filled borders.

If natural stone is beyond your budget, try reconstituted stone, a composite of stone and concrete that looks very similar to the real thing. I love Stonemarket’s Haus Smooth paving shown at the top of the page, which adds a touch of class to this stunningly simple contemporary garden design.

Style direction

Declutter your patio to create a clean lines and a sharp, on-trend style. Replace old clay pots with just a few large containers that show off your plants and create dramatic focal points. Try lining up two or three identical pots along a plain wall or fence for a chic designer look. Galvanized metal fluted containers suit a modern design, and if money’s tight, look out for inexpensive pots and paint them with Hammerite shades, such as Hammered Copper, to match your furniture. For a more traditional garden, opt for containers made from natural materials, such as terracotta urns or large baskets.

Plant options

Choose bold foliage shrubs, or smart topiary box balls and cones to complement your containers. Lavender is another great option and will perfume your patio for many weeks in summer with its purple scented flowers. Phormiums [below] also make superb sculptural specimens for pots, with their fountains of strappy leaves in a range of beautiful colours, or opt for an evergreen Fatsia japonica, which conveys a tropical look with its bold, shiny dark green leaves.

Winter protection

Although many cushions for outdoor furniture are showerproof, they are not designed to remain outside all winter or for prolonged periods of rain. If you don’t have somewhere dry and frost-free indoors to store them, buy a waterproof box or cabinet that can be tucked away in a corner of your garden.

For great buys on garden furniture and accessories, visit ACHICA this weekend.

The ACHICA Living blog brings you style inspiration from ACHICA

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Zia Allaway, Garden Expert

View all posts by Zia Allaway, Garden Expert