How to re­vamp your out­door spa­ces for sun­shine days,

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Property - - FRONT PAGE - Anna Shel­swell-White is ed­i­tor of House and Home mag­a­zine

IT’S time to start think­ing about our out­door spa­ces. Whether we live in the city or the coun­try, there are am­ple ways to make the most of the ex­tended evenings by cre­at­ing a beau­ti­ful al fresco space — be it for din­ing, en­ter­tain­ing or re­lax­ing with a good read. An out­door space can act as a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion to your house, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sum­mer months. Like any room, cre­at­ing a space that you’re com­fort­able in takes an el­e­ment of plan­ning. You also want to achieve co­he­sion — a nice, nat­u­ral flow from the in­side out.

Lay­ing the ground­work, lit­er­ally, is im­por­tant for a space you can use all year round. Here, there are three things to take in to ac­count: ma­te­rial, safety and aes­thet­ics.

Firstly, in­vest­ing in some good qual­ity tiles that with­stand ev­ery type of weather should be your first port of call. In wet lo­ca­tions, porce­lain tiles are a good choice, be­cause they’re so durable. Porce­lain has a den­sity that gives it a low ab­sorp­tion rate. Thanks to this, porce­lain is also frost-re­sis­tant, so it’s a great ma­te­rial to use out­doors all year round.

Rougher tex­tured tiles that won’t be slip­pery when wet will avoid any mishaps when young chil­dren or guests are us­ing the space. Look for the non-slip kind for safety and peace of mind.

And lastly, if you want to give the il­lu­sion of more space, match­ing your out­door floor fin­ish as closely as pos­si­ble to your in­te­rior floor will serve as proof that your de­sign is con­sid­ered and well-thought-through. “In the open-plan home, be­ing able to throw open the liv­ing room doors to a nicely de­signed out­door liv­ing space is in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, as peo­ple fac­tor en­ter­tain­ing in to their home de­sign,” says Pa­trick Doyle, of Halo Tiles and Bath­rooms in Wex­ford. “In­stalling floor and wall tiles that are durable and suitable for both in­door and out­door is a now a key el­e­ment of the de­sign process.”

Very sim­i­lar in­te­rior de­sign rules ap­ply when choos­ing your out­door fur­ni­ture. Scale and func­tion­al­ity are ever-im­por­tant, but know­ing how to care for your pieces to en­sure longevity is at the fore­front, says Peter Flana­gan, of Flana­gan Kerins (flana­ “Each ma­te­rial has ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages, es­pe­cially with our in­de­ci­sive Ir­ish weather,” he says. “Bet­ter-qual­ity teak will need to be washed with warm soapy wa­ter, lightly sanded and tight­ened up over the years, whereas cast-iron fur­ni­ture will, de­spite its coat­ing, even­tu­ally show signs of rust, par­tic­u­larly at bolts and joints. Lightly sand the signs of rust, ap­ply rust primer and choose from a huge ar­ray of car paint colours.

“If you pre­fer the metal look, then the best for the job has to be alu­minium, as it’s sturdy and light to carry, if you’re chas­ing the last rays of sun­light around the gar­den,” ad­vises Peter. “It’s very re­sis­tant to Ir­ish weather and won’t rust. If com­fort, with min­i­mal care, is num­ber one for you, then a wo­ven resin has to be up there.” He sug­gests Rath­wood fur­ni­ture, as it is ro­bust and comes in a va­ri­ety of styles.

“What­ever your choice of fur­ni­ture, your best friend will be a good cover,” says Peter – es­pe­cially true for the win­ter months, when it’s time to make the move in­doors again.

Turn your gar­den into an ex­ten­sion of your liv­ing space – sling up an awning, add a lick of paint, plus a pretty ta­ble, cush­ions and rugs, and soak up the sun; cupri­

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