Garden design ideas to steal this summer

Is your garden looking ready for impromptu tapas evenings and barbecue parties? Summer is coming and it's time to get inspired and pay a little design attention to your outdoors. That's where we come in. Ditch the plastic table and swap out the old kettle barbecue for something a little swankier and prepare to soak up the sun in the most stylish of settings. Time to dust off the deck chairs.

Summer living room

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Small squared off spaces can seem hopeless, but maximise their potential and they can be used as an extension of your living space. Negate the shade created by high walled gardens by painting them and creating full length shelves for plants or kindling - you'd think this would encroach on your space but it's the garden equivalent to painting ceilings and walls one colour to make them look higher.

Surprising touches of chrome, an outdoor fireplace and sheepskin cushions will bring the indoors out and transform your garden into more than just a patio. Relaxation awaits.

Great outdoors

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Best served up with a spectacular view, an all year outdoor kitchen area is something you may never of knew you needed. Cook up barbecues and paella in the summer and roast chestnuts in the winter. Situate to overlook the rest of the garden so you can enjoy barefoot cooking with the perfect view of the lawn for checking on your party guests.

The Mediterranean treatment

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Spend your whole summer in Mykonos from your garden by giving it a Mediterranean face lift. Paint walls and pave with whitewashed stone floors - or if you're looking for a quick way to get the look, simply throw down a white outdoor rug and add in lots of mirrors and a big linen sunbed. Positively dreamy.

Built-in beautiful 

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Built-in storage outside could be the multi-functioning saviour your garden was after. Use for barbecue prep, storing kindle, kids crafting, as a workshop or a gardening corner for potting plants. Choosing a weatherproof concrete is not only a more affordable but very in right now, giving your garden that glossy magazine look.

Social scapes

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Sectioning your patio with plants and furniture is a secret trick for zoning your entertaining space. Guide guests to seating areas with a plant pathway and divide eating/cooking areas with contrasting parasols. Perfect for creating designated kid's spaces at parties.

Party balconies 

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Balconies deserve some love too. An L-shaped seat will make the most of you floor space, giving you room for the little touches that make it look inviting enough for cocktail hour. String lights, potted plants and a flatweave rug will make it feel cosy and comfortable and throws and candles will keep you chatting into the wee hours of the morning.

Open air washroom

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The idea of an outdoor shower may make you shudder but it's a lot more useful than you may first think. Ideal in the summer when the paddling pools and sandpits are out, but equally great throughout the year as the most achica-alternative to an outdoor hose.

Wash the dog, rinse off gardening tools or if you're feeling brave, face an ice shower after your morning exercise - it's supposed to be completely invigorating and very good for you... so we've heard.

[Image credits: Deavita; Dwelling Decor; Grotec Landscaping Solutions; Hey There, Home; Home Design Ideas; Inside Out; Planete Deco; Trendir]

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Minè Miralay

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