Bringing the outside in by David Domoney
We’re right on the cusp of Spring, and while it may seem like a lovely sunny day outside, you know that in reality it’s still far too nippy to spend any length of time out there. After a long dark winter, cabin fever has really set in, and that search for some natural light and a refreshing splash of green is suddenly a top priority.
Unfortunately, here in the UK we experience a huge number of days that are just not quite warm enough to spend outside. At the same time, our plentiful rainfall and gives us our wonderfully green and thriving gardens, and right now the spring flowers will be popping up tantalisingly outside, a display you really don’t want to miss out on.
To help you enjoy the benefits of your lovely garden, without the risk of developing hypothermia, I’ve thought of a few ways you can go about bringing the outside in – creating a more fluid indoor/outdoor space for you to enjoy all year round.
Garden rooms, conservatories and orangeries are the perfect balance of indoors and outdoors, with an abundance of natural light and plenty of scope for indoor gardening. Rooms in the garden are the latest trend, allowing you to increase the square footage of your indoor space with an extra room detached from your main house and set into the garden.
These spaces come in all shapes and sizes, and often have large French doors or extra windows which will allow as much natural light in as possible. It’s the perfect way to escape into your garden, without having to shiver out in the cold. They’re also ideal for summer entertaining, as many have sliding or bi-fold doors that can be opened up to seamlessly connect the room with the rest of your garden.
If you are investing in a new room, extension or self-build home, then plan your windows carefully. If you can, try and use your windows to frame areas of the garden that you really love, or that have an abundance of plants. Bi-folding doors in place of a regular back door can make a dramatic difference in opening up a room to the garden beyond.
If you have a tiny courtyard, or alleyway garden, then why not create a canopy using a sail or pergola covered with plants, and then an outdoor heater. The cover above will shelter you from winds and rain, whilst the heater won’t have to work too hard to bring warmth to the small enclosed area. String up some fairy lights or lanterns for an extra magical touch to your little outdoor oasis.
Houseplants are fantastic for adding a splash of green to any indoor space. Choose big exuberant plants and place them near large windows to create a crossover with the greenery outside. Citrus trees are great for conservatories and (unsurprisingly) orangeries as they need lots of light and will not tolerate frost or dry centrally heated rooms. They need a little fuss and attention, so they’re great for getting your green-fingered fix without having to head outdoors. On top of this, they’ll also bring a lovely crisp fragrance into your home. You can also try growing fresh herbs in your kitchen or conservatory for some lovely fragrant greenery which take up little space; pop them on a sunny windowsill and keep snipping sprigs off to use in your cooking.
Trailing plants such as ivy and heart leaf philodendron are great for hanging from the ceiling in unusual planters to create a jungle style canopy of green overhead. Cram a dark corner with shade loving indoor plants, and get creative with the amount you can squeeze in. The more you have, the greener the room will look and feel.
'Bringing the outside in by David Domoney'