7 Ways to Upgrade Your Garden

Make the most of your home’s external areas with Charley Ward’s round up of fabulous features to add to your garden space
Charley Ward
by Charley Ward
28th June 2019

While the average British garden may once have hosted little more than a set of rattan furniture and the occasional barbecue, people are now designing properties with large spans of glass.

This means that there’s a much greater connection between our home’s inside and outside zones than ever before.

We’ve become far more adventurous in the way that we use our outdoor space. You could even consider the garden another room of the house.

Read on to discover the ways you can create the perfect garden living area this summer – and beyond.

1. Install glazed garden doors

Installing a run of glazed doors has myriad benefits.

They can look stunning, will allow in large amounts of daylight and can help to you make the most of any pleasant views.

Elegant sliding doors

This home uses swathes of sliding glazed doors to draw the garden into the home

The benefits are especially apparent during the warmer months, where you can throw them open and allow fresh air inside.

For those wanting more frameless views, opt for sliding doors over bifolds. These tend to feature wider spans of glass with slimmer sightlines.

If entertaining is your raison d’etre, then the fully opening entrance that bifolds offer might be more your bag.

Read more: Bifold Doors versus Sliding Doors

2. Lay some decking

Timber decking creates an attractive, warm living area that’s highly versatile.

Ecodek decking

The Cochrane family upgraded their Edwardian terrace with anthratic grey decking by Ecodek

It’s also a relatively low cost option if you go for softwood or composite boards. Although, higher quality hardwood versions will be more expensive. As always, price is dependent mainly on the area you’re covering.

Decks come in a wide variety of colours and can usually be painted or stained to your exact specifications.

A well-placed deck can also cover unsightly drains or inspection covers (make sure they’re accessible!). They can still be appropriate even if your home is set on a sloping site.

Plus, they can usually be extended or modified easily if you want to alter them in the future.

3. Build a pool

Nothing beats relaxing by the poolside on a summer’s day, so installing one of these features in your garden is a real luxury.

This retractable polycarbonate model by Starlight Pools

This retractable polycarbonate model by Starlight Pools looks luxurious, and also allows all-season swimming and UV protection

Planning permission is not generally required for pools as they fall within permitted development rights. However, if you live in a protected area or a listed property, it’s worth checking with your local authority before you commit.

Adding an enclosure, like the retractable polycarbonate model by Starlight Pools (above), is a great way to beat the weather and extend seasonal usage. It will also protect the structure from the elements, keep it hygienic and provide full UV protection.

4. Create flow with floor tiles

A growing number of companies now offer matching tiles for use both indoors and outdoors.

Valverdi tile range by The London Tile Company

These minimalist white porcelain tiles help to create a sense of openness and flow

By using the same flooring either side of your glazing, your eyeline is not broken, ensuring a sense of flow through your home and into the garden. This helps create that coveted feeling of space and openness.

The minimal white porcelain tiles (above) are part of the Valverdi range by The London Tile Company. They’re slip resistant, stain and frost-proof and 100% colourfast, so the inner and outer units will always match – even after decades in the sun. Prices start from £35 per m2.


5. Consider covered patios

Extend your living space into the garden with a dedicated all-weather patio roof.

Designed to provide shading and rain protection, these roof panels lie flat and interlock to create a fully watertight covering when closed. This means that you can still sit out and enjoy dinner in the garden, even when it’s raining.

Aluminium roof by IQ Glass

An aluminium roofing offers this patio a contemporary yet practical feel

On brighter days, you can control the amount of shading or allow the sunshine to spill through by opening and closing the paneling at your discretion.

This contemporary aluminium option (above), by IQ Glass, has a rotational range of 120°. Each installation is bespoke, with colours, size, configuration and optional integrations supplied to your preferred specification.

Don’t be afraid to dream big. You can construct particularly large outdoor living spaces, with up to 7m between each supporting post.

6. Introduce an outside fire pit

A fireplace can make a fantastic focal point and, for outside zones, the warmth that’s provided allows for extended socialising into the evening.

While there are plenty of standalone models to choose from, if you’re still at the design stage of your project, then consider if you could specify a built-in model for your scheme. This can add real architectural flair and, of course, some extra functionality to your new home.

Gruff architects chimney

This stone chimney features in a project by Gruff Architects and offers the garden a contemporary yet cosey feel

In addition, if you only have a modest garden, a built-in unit can save valuable floor space that you could use for a set of garden chairs, for example.

In this project by Gruff Architects (pictured above), the stone chimney makes for a pleasing contrast with the simple timber-clad structure, while the decked area provides a space to relax by the fire.

7. Bring the kitchen outside

Bring your summer barbecues up a notch by installing an outside kitchen.

You could get your architect to design something bespoke and have it made to your exact requirements. If not, you can take advantage of one of the modular options available.

Woo modular concrete kitchen

This outside kitchen area is perfect for entertaining and enjoying the warmer months

These WWOO concrete kitchen (above) comes in two-to-six segments, with corner units and additional outdoor showers available. They typically feature a sink and a woodfired oven or gas barbecue plus some shelving units to store essentials.

Pair one with a dining table and chairs to create a fully functional kitchen/dining area that’s perfect for hosting parties. It costs upwards of £5,482 for a two segment unit.

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