Creating relaxing outdoor winter spaces

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It may seem like the time to abandon the idea of relaxing or entertaining outdoors and, instead, leave the garden tucked up and forgotten until the Spring. Yet, even in the colder months, outside spaces are places to be relished.

Gardens, courtyards, terraces and balconies can be transformed into winter entertaining spaces that range from the simple to the sophisticated. Coziness is key. Fire pits and bowls provide a focal point, amazing heat and a permanent year round feature that is ideal for cooking or just relaxing around. Barbecues and pizza ovens are other obvious solutions that are just as suited to chilly winter days as long summer evenings.

Helping to keep the elements at bay and creating privacy, sheltered outdoor areas like pergolas, gazebos and simple garden rooms are a fantastic way of providing warm outdoor spaces. Making the most of natural light and the surprising warmth of the winter sun while avoiding the prevailing wind is essential, so careful thought should be given to the location and orientation of any area used in the cold months of the year.

To relax, an essential ingredient is furniture. Rattan and other textured furniture is particularly good at contributing visual warmth and selecting from warm colour palettes will help too. This also applies to cushions, pillows, blankets and throws; winter is a time to be bold with reds and yellows and the overall look and feel should be as fluffy and plumped up as possible. The idea is to provide a ‘nest’ to snuggle and luxuriate, despite the cold. 

Candles are a must-have, helping to give a feeling of warmth and adding a touch of romance but it is also worth investing in outdoor lighting as it pays lasting dividends. Positioned carefully, lights create highlights and turn trees and shrubs into sculptural focal points while the shadows around them contribute a sense of mystery.

kevin carvill