Now that autumn is here and winter is looming, our summer holidays seem a distant memory. So how can we shorten the winter and keep the memory of warm sunshine in the forefront of our minds?
One of the best ways to do this is to maximise the number of opportunities for sitting outside in the garden. Even if you only have a small area outside, it can be easily transformed into a sheltered haven. Firstly, find the best spot for your tranquil retreat. Next time the sun is shining, go outside and find the sunniest area in the garden. Even if this is at the front of the house, it can be screened from neighbours using low maintenance planting.
Natural stone products are used often for paving in Mediterranean courtyard settings. You could recreate this using Tobermore Pietra Sahara sandstone or Historic courtyard style flags. These can be jointed with mortar or Rompox grout. This also reduces maintenance. To set off the area, they look great combined with the Retro brick edging. The heather colour brings out the warm cream and terracotta tones of the flags.
Garden wall ideas
If you’re having a garden party or BBQ, shortage of seating could present a problem if unexpected visitors arrive. This can be solved by building a low wall around the edges in Garden Stone Walling with coping. 60cm is perfect seat height and can also provide an attractive backdrop. The Garden Stone Walling is double sided, so it looks good from front and back. However, tall planting behind this again in the form of non-invasive bamboo or tall grasses, will also provide a wind break shelter.
If you would like to create a path for occasional use, a stepping stone path can be a low cost option. Flags should be set into the surface of the lawn which means you can easily pass the lawn mower over them. If you would like to create a path leading to a summer house or another focal point, these could create a simple, cost effective and attractive solution.
There are many occasions throughout the winter when the sun shines, the wind drops, and it actually gets quite warm. With this new oasis created in your garden, you can get away from it all without leaving home.
Vanessa Drew is a highly experienced garden designer based near Rathfriland, Co Down. Vanessa is also a part-time farmer, animal lover and owner of Ballyroney Cottage farmstay B&B. She enjoys hiking, mindfulness and is a wildlife and conservation enthusiast. In her blogs, she shares her passion for horticulture, animals and country lifestyle.