Archive for the ‘Outdoor’ Category

Fresh Design Finds: Summer drinks dispensers

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Get equipped for summer picnics, parties and barbecues with a fab drinks dispenser.

Get equipped for summer barbecues, picnics and parties with one of these fab drinks dispensers!

Simply make a batch of your chosen drink – soft or alcoholic – and take the dispenser with you. You’ll have your favourite tipple on tap, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy a glass or two.

Whether you’d prefer plain or patterned, glass or acrylic, here are six great options suitable for all occasions:

1. Opt for a classic Kilner glass design with this 8 litre capacity drinks dispenser. It’s currently on offer for £19.99 (£10 off) at Lakeland.

2. Exclusively designed for The White Company, this tap drinks dispenser is made from quality soda lime glass and holds five litres. It’s £55.

3. For a slightly different design, how about this beehive drinks dispenser? It holds up to 9 litres and is currently reduced to only £7.50 at Wilko.

4. This smaller version of the Kilner glass drinks dispenser holds 5 litres. It’s £12.99 from The Range.

5. Don’t want a plain drink dispenser? M&S have this spring bloom design one for £17.50.

6. Plain and simple, but definitely not lacking in capacity, this 12 litre acrylic drinks dispenser is from John Lewis. It’s £20.


Light up your life: 10 outdoor lighting ideas

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

From LED to candles, nothing creates outdoor atmosphere like some strategic lighting. Drape strings of lights through the branches of trees, position lanterns and use tealights to cast pools of light onto your outdoor table.

Even if the weather’s not fine enough to sit outside, looking out of the house onto a lighted garden can look very pretty. Here are our top 10 picks.

1. Kamla garden lanterns, Red Lilly


Create ambience around summer patios for garden parties with these recycled glass lanterns. The wire holder has a vintage rust patina and can be spiked into the ground. The lanterns come as a set of two and are available in three different styles. £19.80 from Red Lilly.

2. Brass lanterns, MiaFleur

These stylish brass coloured lanterns will bring an atmospheric glow to your alfresco parties. Made from zinc with a brass coloured coating, and with a hinged glass door to protect the candle from the elements, this is a lovely way to light up the garden. Available in two sizes so that they can be grouped together to create an interesting contrast. Prices from £36 from MiaFleur.

3. Lighthouse 220, Menu

The Lighthouse oil lamp from Menu makes an unusual addition to those balmy English evenings (remember those?!) when you can sit outside with a glass of wine. Inspired by the lighthouses along the Scandinavian coast, the porcelain and steel lamp has a newly developed oil burner that gives a bright light. There’s also a unique filling system that makes it possible to replenish the oil from above so there is no need to take the lamp apart. £64.95 from Black by Design.

4. Oval loop lamp, Edge Company

If you don’t like the hassle of candles, this nickel plated mesh wire lamp is battery powered for light with minimum work. Available in two different designs, they’re also currently 50% off in the sale. Were £48 now £24 from IN-SPACES.

5. Aurora mood lantern, The Glow Company

Stylish and contemporary, the Aurora mood lantern creates a focal point in your garden with colourful light. A lightweight but sturdy lantern that’s IP65 rated for outdoor use, it changes through eight key colours and everything in between. Set to colour phase, colour flash or hold on your favourite colour for stunning mood lighting and even adjust the brightness of the colours depending upon your mood, all via remote control. £39.95 from The Glow Company.

6. Hallianna outdoor lighting garland, Out There Interiors

Contemporary outdoor lighting to brighten up a boring wall or illuminate a late night barbecue need not be twee. These functional, no nonsense bulbs are perfect for the modern exterior and will lengthen those summer evenings and barbecues with friends. £85 from Out There Interiors.

7. Bottle light, RED5 Gadget Shop

Don’t throw away your empty bottles – recycle them into lamps with these bottle lights. A cork based design holds a small yet super bright rechargeable LED for you to slip into your bottles.  Perfect for indoor and outdoor use, the lights create a cosy, improvised table feature and won’t be blown out by a gentle breeze. £9.95 each from RED5.

8. Miners’ lamp, Coastal Home

This traditional miners’ lamp is ideal for a table decoration or for hanging from a tree. Inspired by 19th century miners’ oil lamps and adapted for modern day tea lights, this wind proof enamel lantern creates a welcoming light on dark evenings. £11 from Coastal Home.

9. Grey stone effect lantern, The White Lighthouse

This grey stone effect candle holder with cut out stars, handle and glass inner is actually made from concrete, making it robust and giving it an urban twist. £12 from The White Lighthouse.

10. Brushed metal rectangular lantern, Hoi Polloi

This unusual brushed metal rectangular lantern would look wonderful on a terrace or dining table. Pop in a couple of pillar candles to enjoy an atmospheric glow. £66.99 from Hoi Polloi.

By Sara Walker

Feed the birds: Swing seat bird feeder from The Orchard

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Feed the birds from a quirky wooden swing seat design bird feeder

Do you feed the birds? It’s getting to the time of year when a bit of extra food will be well received by feathered friends, who’ll soon be battling to survive and find food in a potentially cold winter.

There are loads of bird feeders and bird tables available, but if you’re looking for a somewhat quirkier version, then here’s one that could fit the bill.

The swing seat bird feeder, from The Orchard,  is designed in the style of a swinging garden chair and is suspended from rope, ready to be hung from a tree. It’s made of solid wood and seems to of high construction quality. The seat of the chair serves as the feed tray – just pop in some bird seat, hang it up, and you’re off…feeding can commence!

The feed tray is removable and designed with hygiene in mind. An extra layer on the surface of the wood means that it can be washed and disinfected regularly – a great way to keep it clean and help prevent disease.

Quirky wooden swing seat design hanging bird feeder

I was initially a bit concerned that having an open feeding tray swinging in a tree might result in all the feed blowing off in the wind and subsequently unwanted weeds growing underneath the feeder. But the design seems to take this into consideration and the seat tips back gently, which helps prevent seed from falling off. There’s also a bit of a wooden lip at the front which helps prevent food falling out. For a piece that’s going to be outside in the elements, I’m impressed that the rope and hanging construction seems strong and sturdy and designed to cope with whatever the weather brings.

I haven’t come across a bird feeder design like this before and it certainly looks eye-catching hanging up outside. The birds seem to like it too – although I’m afraid they were a tad camera shy!

The swing seat bird feeder is reasonably priced at just £19 and can be purchased online from The Orchard Home & Gifts. It’s a lovely item to buy for your own garden or balcony, plus it would make the perfect Christmas gift for a hard-to-buy-for recipient.

(Disclaimer: The Orchard kindly sent us a bird feeder to review, but all views and opinions are our own).

Outdoor eating: bright and cheery picnic essentials

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Summer picnic essentials

Liven up your outdoor eating experiences, with these bright and cheery picnic essentials from John Lewis. Some will even save you some cash, as they’re reduced in their summer sale.

1. Summer palm cocktail shaker, reduced to £6

2. Navigate hothouse striped bowl, £4

3. 20L high summer family coolbag, reduced to £14

4. Summer palm leaf dinner plate, £4

5. Summer palm soda pitcher, reduced to £10

6. Navigate hothouse easy-to-carry striped picnic rug, £25.19

Fresh Design ideas: Contemporary garden igloo outdoor room

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Contemporary garden igloo structure

Fancy having an unusual and dramatic outdoor room structure in your garden? Forget a shed, invest in an igloo!

This amazing eco-friendly igloo is a very clever design. It’s made from recyclable materials and can be easily self-assembled without the need to have any tools. Theoretically, it can even be put together by one person, unlike a lot of self-assembly furniture.

Contemporary garden rooms

It’s ideal to use as a contemporary garden room, somewhere to relax and unwind during the day or at night, for your kids to play in, or somewhere to keep your plants well sheltered from the natural elements. Or, maybe you could even create your very own Crystal Maze style challenge in it?

The multi-purpose garden igloo dome is available from the Design Marketplace on Bouf. This is one igloo that you can be assured won’t melt into a pool of slush when the sun comes out.

Discover more about the igloo and how it’s assembled:

Top 5 Gardening Jobs for Spring

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Garden jobs for spring

The sun is finally shining, the temperature is getting warmer and you might already have spent a couple of nights dining al fresco on the patio.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then you may have noticed it has spontaneously started sprouting flowers, shrubs, vines and green leaves in all directions. The daffodils have bloomed, the bluebells are out, tulips are at their best and the peonies are fit to burst. The lawn might also be getting out of hand and the dreaded weeds may already be choking some of your beloved plants.

Here are the top five gardening jobs to focus on this spring, to keep your garden in check.

1. Jet wash the patio and decking

A jet washer is a worthwhile investment, particularly if you want to minimise the use of chemicals in your garden.

Sweep the area to get rid of obvious debris first, then blast your patio with water to remove more stubborn dirt. Once you’ve been over every inch, use the pressure washer to blast the dirt you’ve lifted towards drains and lawn.

If you have any areas where water pools, use a stiff sweeping brush to direct water away. Don’t forget your front yard could benefit from a good clean too!

2. Fix up your lawn

For a thick, healthy lawn, now is the time to replace bald patches and s0w grass seeds.

Give it a helping hand with an organic lawn fertiliser and then mow the lawn when it’s dry. This will ensure it stays lush, green and pleasant to walk on in bare feet later in the summer.

3. Weeding

Probably the job we least want to do, but it’s the most important task for maintaining a healthy, attractive garden.

Get in there quickly this spring before weeds have a chance to flower and distribute their seeds across the garden, making your job even harder next year.

Make sure you dig out the whole weed rather than snapping the top off or you’ll find it grows back just a week or so later.

4. Dust off the garden furniture and the BBQ

Now is the time to get your table, chairs, parasol, BBQ and fire pit out. Give everything a good clean and check it’s still in useable condition.

You’ll want to be ready for impromptu barbecues from here on in, so you can make the most of any unseasonably warm spring evenings.

Take it further and get some outdoor fairy lights or citronella candles to make your evenings in the garden magical.

5. Get some flower baskets

Spring is a great time to start getting some colourful, hanging baskets for the empty hooks in your garden.

However, these days there are all sorts of unusual and stylish planters you can use to decorate your garden with flowers. Head over to the Multiyork blog for some pretty, creative, planter ideas that will give your garden a unique look.

These tips cover the basics to keep your garden healthy and ticking over well into summer as well as making it a useable and inviting outdoor space for entertaining and relaxing with family and friends.

If you’re looking to go the extra mile, remember that birds and little animals, like hedgehogs, will be feeding their young at the moment, so investing in some feed, bird boxes and other products to help wildlife thrive in your garden, not only makes your garden a lovely environment for you to enjoy, it can help our feathered friends too!

(Top image credit: S R Lee / Shutterstock)

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