Outdoor oasis: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on creating the ultimate summer garden | Garden | Life & Style

Whether holidaying at home or entertaining alfresco, it pays if your garden is up to the task. The summer garden should combine colour and interest with facilities for all the family – but it mustn’t be too demanding, you need to relax. Here is what it takes for the ultimate summer garden.

Lawns

Mow the lawn and trim round the edges to give the impression of a well-manicured garden. Leave drifts of long grass under trees or in a natural patch of meadow to create a wilder effect. Catch up on grass cutting in autumn when the wildflowers are over.

Hard surfaces

You’ll use your garden more if you put down firm, flat surfaces, particularly where you set out garden furniture. As well as keeping your feet clean and dry, chairs and tables won’t wobble, which makes meals outside more of a pleasure.

Outbuildings

You’ll spend hours longer outdoors if you can get under cover when necessary. A summerhouse is the ultimate retreat; a cosy bolthole from which to enjoy the garden during showers, on chilly days and, if you light it with glass garden lanterns, late into the evening. 

Colour

Play it traditional with riotous herbaceous borders full of foliage plants to isolate potentially clashing colours, or create particular colour schemes in different areas. In smaller gardens, people often prefer safe pastel pinks, mauves, purples and blues, but you can create borders based on one colour. Try a foliage garden in shades of green, patterned variegations and contrasting shapes and textures. 

Lighting

The emphasis nowadays is on creating a gentle, romantic glow with solar lights rather than lighting the place up like a Christmas tree. Use markers to outline paths and avoid hazards such as steps after dark. A lantern with a tealight or a candle in a jar is the most flattering light for your table when you’re sitting out late over a glass of wine. 

Scent 

For the ultimate perfumed garden, keep scents separate so you nose your way around your route, moving from rose, to lavender,…

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