The flash of warm weather we’ve seen lately – the one that’s had us banishing winter coats to the attic, only to bring them back down – has provided a tantalizing glimpse of summer. Which, with the looming Jubilee weekend approaching, has even the less green among us thinking about how the garden will play host this summer. According to data from Pinterest, where there are more than 1 million posts around the “entertaining garden”.
As a result, searches for outdoor furniture are on the rise: according to John Lewis, searches for outdoor furniture are up 133% over last year. Even young people on TikTok are eager to join in on the garden party, perhaps the social media platform least associated with the world of the garden, with over 8 million videos (and counting) dedicated to the hashtag #gardenfurniture. “The power of outdoor living has captivated our customers more than ever,” says Laura Tudor, outdoor buyer at John Lewis.
“From bistro sets on balconies to large-scale outdoor lounge spaces, we seek to make the most of every inch.” How you choose your outdoor furniture really comes down to how you like to relax in your indoor environment.
“If slouching on a sofa with your feet up is what appeals to you the most, then be sure to find an equally comfortable garden sofa, complete with a coffee table,” advises Simon Temperell, interior design manager at Neptune. While pandemic hits including pizza ovens and egg chairs are still seeing strong sales, there are new trends for 2022 such as smokeless barbecues and fast heating, sanitized hot tubs to UV. For those less fond of the latest kit and more dressing up their space, Tudor says outdoor kitchens are still popular with customers, “as well as more living room-inspired space with lots of soft furnishings that you would normally see at the interior – like that carpets and cushions.
But it’s not just about buying new: as we embrace sustainability, a big trend this year is garden recycling. Pinterest brings in over 230,000 pins with ideas on how to upcycle pallets and wood into home seating and bars.
Young allotment garden
If you have a young family, a garden is a huge blessing. But it requires “careful zoning to separate play areas from adult spaces,” Temperell warns.
He suggests modular furniture to “contain” entertainment areas close to home, while being sturdy enough to withstand rough climbing.
If you prefer free-standing furniture, Grace Tindall, founder of the children’s brand Scandinavia, who has two children of her own, recommends Hubsch’s outdoor dining set in her own backyard. “I like that the bench has a high back for the kids to sit on comfortably,” she says. Then, suggests Temperell, place “the less formal, child-friendly part of the garden further back.”
Invest in wooden garden toys to help blend in with the garden (rather than more plastic) and encourage imaginative play, with tall shrubs or bushes that can act as a screen to hide the kiddy section, while providing a sense of adventure for the little ones.