Title image: Lizzie Orme

Perk up your patio in no time by paying attention to the little things. These 6 simple ideas will have a big impact in an outdoor space

Looking for outdoor inspiration? These easy tricks with garden furniture and top tips on barbecues and heating have all been tried and tested in real homes

Fake the fitted look

wooden benches garden furniture ideas ouotdoor small garden inspiration real home

Image: Lizzie Orme

Lots of award-winning gardens feature bespoke fitted furniture. Get the look by tracking down off-the-peg sets that are modular but have the look of fitted.

Group benches, armchairs and stools into an L or U shape and place a matching occasional table in the centre. Position planters either side to define the space and line the seating with a run of matching cushions.

Look for simple designs that have the look of the handmade without the price tag – and take them with you when you move home!

Freshen up furniture

metallic steel frame chairs and table in a small garden of a real home featured in August 2017 issue of Good Homes magazine

Image: Lizzie Orme

Aluminium garden furniture generally needs very little maintenance, unlike wood. If you fancy a complete new look and want to repaint tables or chairs, wash down with soapy water and a fungicide if necessary. Remove any lose paint and sand lightly to produce a key. Wash down again and leave to dry.

You can buy metal paints that don’t require an undercoat. Apply the first coat of paint and sand down gently with a fine-grade sandpaper before applying a second. Check manufacturer’s instructions for suitability, application methods and drying times.

Choose a colour that will help your dining space – this blue makes a lovely counterpoint to the warm wood decking underfoot and the green fencing beyond.

Cook on the go

portable red barbecue bbq garden ideas summer real home makeover outdoor

Image: Lizzie Orme

Garden barbecues can look oversized in smaller gardens so take a look at a portable option. Avoid disposable barbecues and look for a quirky design that you can use again and again.

This post-box red design is big on style and makes a great addition to an outside food prep space.

Create a cosy nook for dining

cosy table dining table outside outdoor garden ideas summer real home good homes

Image: Oliver Gordon

If your patio incorporates a covered area, earmark it for outside dining.

Have cosy throws to hand or consider a patio heater so you can extend your dining time into the evening without your guests feeling the chill. Consider an overhead patio heater for maximum cosiness.

Pick one style for pots

grey planters plant pots garden ideas pink flowers real home

Image: Oliver Gordon

Most gardens include a hotch-potch of pots and planters in all sorts of materials and colours. Why not retire those old pots and choose one new design that you love?

Think about where your pots will sit and whether traditional terracotta, galavanised metal or modern crock versions would work best.

Check what sizes are available and how you can graduate from small to large for an engaging patio design.

Weather-proof your seating

garden ideas weatherproof seating fabric material lim green real home good homes

Image: Oliver Gordon

Go for hardwearing, durable and weather-proof fabrics for garden seat pads, cushions and bolsters so that you can leave them outside for as long as possible.

Pick fabrics that are easy to wipe clean without being hot and sticky to sit on. This zingy lime green brings a fresh feel to a seating area while looking completely at home in its garden setting.


From the original article on the Ideal Home Show site, by the Good Homes Magazine editors.

For more garden design ideas, book tickets to the Ideal Home Show Scotland for inspiration for your own outdoor space.