A significant garden trend is for outdoor kitchens including BBQ / hot plate / rotisserie with either corian or granite surfacing, as these are both manipulable and excellent for external use. Built in wine chiller, stainless steel or moulded sink unit with hot and cold running water(ensure all pipes are lagged) Don’t forget to include a refuse area. Outdoor heating and table centred fire-pits are also very popular.
How would you integrate these into an existing space?
Select an area close to where you will entertaining i.e.: the main patio / dinning space, although not too far from the house as you don’t want to be tracing back and fourth for the initial set up and essential supplies. Ensure all services such as gas, electrics and plumbing are all in place prior to any installation. Always appoint qualified and registered fitters. Overhead directional lighting should also be considered, as you don’t want to be cooking in the dark.
What about sustainable products?
Furniture options and fabrics have become much more extensive moving away from the classic teak look with cushions that always need to be stored during inclement weather. A lot of these are characterised by a combination of aluminium frames in a wide range of colours. Options for external fabrics is also extensive with the development of braided polyesters, a breathable water repellent Porotex as well as laminate fabrics that all look and feel like cotton or wool. The choice and colour palette of “real outdoor” fabrics is now wonderful and extensive.
Wood fibre polymer composite (organic recycled wood plastic decking /fencing) will play a very important role in improving the compatibility and adhesion between polar wood fibres and non polymeric matrices. This is also offers longevity with no maintenance at all..
What landscape styles and plants are currently popular?
Intelligent use of plants can create a unique planting scheme that is particular to the location, and designed to complement the architecture and interior style. All this requires is a knowledge of soil, micro climate, aspect and plant species, but a little adventurous thinking and professional advice can see any scheme raise its head above the norm and lift the overall impression of the buildings around it.
There are several reliable plants that can deliver over the year with changing displays of colour, texture or scent, and which provide relief from the usual evergreen formality.
Glades of trees, such as the classic Birch Jacquemontii planted for it’s brilliant white papery bark, with ovate leaves that turn from being little mouse ears in the early spring to a lovely fresh green foliage, followed on by an autumnal yellowish brown late into the season. These type of trees just lighten the load and whilst create great structure, they still allow light to flood through which ensures the successful growth of planting below.
Lush planting that incorporates roses, such as damasks (duchesse d’ angouleme) or rosa Juno, both gallica hybrids, the big blush damasks (Shailers White moss) and English roses (Trolius) and an favourite of mine Tamora. I would love to see reliable classics such as these making a come back, as interspersed within the any shrub border will offer a superb display as well as a sweet smelling scent.