26 Jul 2013
landscape gardening Wimbledon

Summer beckons with open arms and with it comes the sweet aura of romance. Imagine sitting outside and watching the setting sun – what better way to enjoy an intimate evening (or day) with your partner?

If all that sounds good, that means it’s time to get proactive. Transform your garden or patio into something that will get those lovey-dovey vibes a-going.

Here are some tips on how tocreate a stylish romantic retreat in your garden.

Think Glamour

There are a few hot colour trends this year, ranging from quirky pinks and blues to whimsical greens, but if you really want to set the tone, I’d suggest a glamorous colour palette. This means white, cream, black, silver, teal, dusty pinks or opulent purple – all of which look great juxtaposed against a garden setting.

Structured is Sexy

Gazebos are as hot as we hope the summer will be this year. But not the old school wedding-style hexagons. The trend is wooden squares or, even simpler, poles.

Wondering if I’ve lost my mind? Nope! To achieve a simple gazebo, simply balance a long wooden (or even metal) pole between the branches of two adjacent trees. Once the pole is up, you can hang a length of embossed fabric over it and drape it to provide maximum ambience in your dining area.

Alternatively, you can buy or build your own square gazebo (constructed with rich mahogany or other woods) and drape a similar material over the top. This little touch can be the difference between drab and fab.

Turning Old Into New

By this, I mean re-upholstering. Don’t shrug and back away slowly – re-upholstering’s surprisingly easy to do on your existing outdoor furniture.

Buy some cotton blend or silk fabric (I’d suggest darker colours that don’t show up stains too easily!) and take the seat off the chair you want to cover. Cut a template which is ¼ inch bigger on all sides, and use it to cut out a foam wedge. Apply an adhesive to the chair seat and place the foam on top of it. Then measure the size and determine the amount of fabric you’ll need. Staple your fabric, with the print side outwards, onto the chair using a staple gun. Attach the seat to the chair with screws and you’ve created the effect you want.

Mood Lighting

You can’t have a romantic setting without sexy lighting. That’s why there are so many wonderful options for perfect illumination which don’t require any electricity: cordless lamps, wood and stoneware lanterns or – my personal favourite – candles.

The candle chandelier is where it’s at this summer – like this shabby chandelier draped with white flowers. Sounds like a slice of heaven? Right you are! And it can be hung from your gazebo (poles, square, or hexagonal) with minimal effort – just be sure to secure it properly.

Cutlery and Crockery

Steel. That’s it in a word. Specially crafted steel plates, bowls and cutlery will fit perfectly with the luxurious glamour theme, are great for outdoor dining, and are classy to boot. These pieces are readily available both online and in local interior design shops.

Centerpieces and Tablecloths

Both are crucial for classy outdoor dining – a centerpiece ties the table together and what’s a table without its cloth?

Pale silk or dusty pink cotton under lace will look fabulous and can be bought or made at home (provided you visit your local fabric shop).

As for centerpieces, white roses with lavender sprigs in a tall square glass vase are all the rage. Or my favourite: plain white candles surrounded by black or brown pebbles.

And there you have it. With some low lighting, glamorous colours, and transformed patio furniture, you’ll definitely be able to set the mood for a romantic garden-based evening.

Have any suggestions for setting up a romantic garden date? Do share in the comments below!

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