Londoners kitting out their terrace, patio or garden as an extra room while the sun shines are spoilt for choice with a new crop of sustainable and water-resistant homewares in great colourways and designs.
You can bargain hunt, too, while you shop the trend in the midsummer sales.
You’ll find upholstered chairs and sofas, outdoor rugs, squashy cushions and perhaps some chunky “modular” pieces in synthetic woven cane or rope, all happy to sit outside all year.
Invest in a good-quality table that will last many seasons, factor in a sun umbrella and then add the dining chairs and that essential lounger.
Soften up your space with outdoor fabrics and table linen.
Team robust stoneware and terracotta dishes with melamine plates, now in such lovely designs. Mix in chunky glass, candles, lanterns, string lights and/or rechargeable lighting, a wireless speaker to create the mood and you’re good to go.
You might need a chiminea or fire pit for when the evenings turn cooler — try InsideOut Living, or diy.com for B&Q products.
Rebecca Malyon of Neptune design stores in Fulham, Chiswick and Wimbledon, says: “Invest in quality materials that can withstand our tricky climate, then boldly mix and match.”
MAKE IT POP
It’s colour all the way with vivid hues in many stores, while chairs in airy shapes and with slender silhouettes are just right for small spaces.
“Greenery is a perfect backdrop,” says Habitat’s head of product design, Kate Butler.
Designers Guild has conjured up a happy haven of fabric banners, fronded plants, elegant chairs and comfy cushions.
Founder Tricia Guild says: “A garden is a space for living. The house, the decoration and the plants outside should flow into one.”
Designers Guild colourful signature patterns come in outdoor versions from £45 a metre. Find florals, trendy ombré and low-key stripes, plus plains.
“Greenery is a perfect backdrop”: a happy haven at Designers Guild in the King’s Road
Or try pared-down Scandi style with Danish brands Cane-line and Skagerak filling the back garden of the lovely Skandium Townhouse (31 Thurloe Place SW7; 020 7584 2066).
RUGS AND CUSHIONS
Outdoor rugs won’t rot and you can hose them clean. A fine focal point, they hide grotty paving, jaded decking and a tired lawn.
Sustainability stars Tasha and Barney Green of Devon-based Weaver Green are turning plastic bottles into a soft, wool-like fibre for tough waterproof rugs and cushions, made by hand in styles from Persian and Turkish motifs to textured plains. Rug specialist Dash & Albert offers stylish tweed, herringbone and diamond patterns.
Furniture big brands Vitra and Thonet have weatherproofed last century’s modern classics, while today’s designers are giving gardens soft, waterproof new fabrics, treated timber, coloured powder-coated aluminium and more.
For a great spread of designers from top continental brands, visit Chaplins in Pinner. On the high street, try Sainsbury’s, Habitat, B&Q and Marks & Spencer.
The Fatboy inflatable lounger is amazing, made of ripstop nylon. Just take it out of its pouch, “scoop” up air with a sweeping motion, then quickly click to close, and le voilà!
A comfy rest-nest for two in zingy colours and patterns that’s great for festivals and the park. Price is £75 at Selfridges.
DINE AL FRESCO
If street food at London’s markets and festivals inspires you to cook outside, a neat portable charcoal grill is the way to go, replacing those gas-guzzling barbecue behemoths, with their hefty stands, big domes, and racks.
The Weber Go Anywhere, with fold-down stand and handle and a 10-year guarantee is £79.99, or the Heston Blumenthal Cube is £149, both at John Lewis.
Flying out at Selfridges, the Una charcoal grill, £115, packs down into a neat box with a leather handle for patio, park or beach.
SIT BACK IN STYLE
The versatile, portable deckchair has gone big on fashion. Explore welovecushions.co.uk for sturdy frames handmade in London and over 60 “slings” inspired by art and posters, digitally printed on polyester sailcloth.
Londoners are loving seats of sea birds by British wildlife artist Robert Gillmor and vintage posters from London Transport Museum.
Big planters full of greenery, real or faux, instantly upgrade an urban yard. The Red Mud Hut is brilliant for terracotta.
Find exotic fake plants at Abigail Ahern. Oka also has a pretty faux collection plus classic furniture and remote-control LED candles.