Summer is upon us, which means more time outdoors. Think long leisurely days by the pool and casual al fresco dinners on the patio!

But after a long and cold winter, your outdoor spaces may be looking a little drab. Luckily there are simple and cost effective ways to inject a touch of fab to your garden and patio – all without breaking the bank.

Aisha Pandor, co-founder and CEO of SweepSouth, South Africa’s largest home services platform, offers some useful tips for making your garden and patio both fun and functional this summer.

Patio perfect
A patio is a great multifunctional space – it can be used for entertaining, for relaxing with the family and even for working from home, which is why you want to make sure it is as pretty as it is practical.

Start by thinking about how you plan to use your outdoor space. If it’s primarily for relaxing and entertaining, make sure you’ve got comfy padded seating to kick back on. “Group furniture together in a L-shaped seating arrangement, with a low table for decorations, like bowls or container plants,” Aisha suggests.

A space that doubles up as an outdoor dining area definitely needs to have a table too. A long table with benches is great for bigger areas, while a bistro set is perfect for two. Aisha shares: “In the same way that accessories make a house a home, an outdoor space also benefits from incorporating things like plants, rugs, art and scatters to give it that inviting, lived-in feeling.”

Garden glow
Aisha’s top garden tip this summer is to think indigenous. “Select indigenous plants that are adapted to the soil, climate and rainfall in your region so that you can help your garden thrive,” she says.

Not only is it more environmentally friendly to plant indigenous – these are plants that can largely fend for themselves – but as a water scarce country we also need to think water wise when gardening. “Consider installing a rainwater tank to make the most of one of our most precious resources,” Aisha advises.

How to keep cool is another key consideration for your summer garden. “Shade is a must, be it naturally obtained from a large tree or with a pergola structure, or even with a freestanding umbrella,” Aisha says. Umbrellas are great because they can easily be moved as the position of the sun changes through the course of the day.

Creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space is about making the most of whatever space you have available, whether it’s a large garden or a small courtyard. And to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, albeit in your own backyard, this summer.

Submitted by Irvine Partners