The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday
THE GREEN KITCHEN
Install an outdoor cooking area
An outside “kitchen” isn’t a novelty in lockdown, it’s an essential way of enjoying a change of scene and flavour. “My son and I are cooking outside every Sunday evening; it’s nice to have some variety and less cleaning up,” says Wakefield.
John Lewis has some serious-looking outdoor gas cookers and pizza ovens available this spring, and Wakefield recommends Gaze Burvill (gazeburvill.com) for beautifully constructed outdoor kitchens with fridges, storage and sinks.
Our outdoor kitchen is decidedly less fancy; a Weber barbecue and some tools – but according to Wakefield, this is really all you need. “I use proper charcoal and organic firelighters and wheel my Weber out of sight when I’m not using it,” she says. “If I installed an outdoor kitchen, it would rain solidly for three weeks.”
Design a decadent dining space
Pacey maintains that a garden without great seating is unusable. “Antique iron filigree benches make great banquette seating for outside dining as do acrylic dining chairs from the Seventies – don’t be too fussy about finding matching ‘suites’ of furniture.” Dress your outdoor dining furniture with beautiful cushions to add colour and interest to the garden, adds Salvesen. “Get a few cushions made up – if you don’t have anywhere to store them, they can always hibernate on your sofas in winter,” she says.
Christopher Farr, Pierre Frey and Turnell & Gigon sell hard-wearing outdoor fabrics. Lighting is an essential consideration; for wall lights, Bhs.com has affordable steel wall lights and anthracite downlights, and a string of festoon
lighting plugged in through a window will make the area feel immediately more festive, says Wakefield. Upgrade your tablescape
With just the family at home, you probably won’t feel like making a huge
effort with the table but mealtimes feel so much more special if the table is pretty, says Wakefield. My colourful bamboo tableware from Emilie O’Connor Homestore has stood the test of time and is perfect for adults and children (emilieoconnorhomestore. com); even more
indestructible is Falcon enamelware; mini tumblers cost £6 and dishes from £5 (falconenamelware.com). A floral tablecloth is a simple way to add colour and occasion, adds Annabel Haan, from the Mews Fabric and Furnishings (themewsfurnishings.com), while Wakefield loves
Matilda Goad’s range of woven plastic placemats and coloured cutlery (matildagoad.com). For a fully refreshed table, Fromtheposthouse. com’s summer box contains a lemonshaped jug, jute coasters, a leaf platter and a bottle of lemonade.
Picnic on the lawn
If you’re lucky enough to have a lawn, treat it as you would the park; throw down a blanket in a sunny spot for a picnic lunch, says Schofield; it’s time to enjoy the simple things. She suggests investing in some of Anthropologie’s melamine wine glasses (from £6), while Kate Kindersley, founder of Hadeda, recommends using a couple of high-sided rattan trays for picnic food – not only do they provide a level surface for drinks and salad bowls but they add texture and colour to your picnic rug (£95, hadeda.co.uk). My boys like to bring their Toniebox to our picnics – it’s a wireless speaker that plays all their favourite music and stories (tonies.com).
Wakefield’s garden picnics tend to turn into lengthy backgammon sessions; lay yoga mats beneath your rug for added comfort and protection from the dew, she suggests.