Rustic garden living area with wooden bench and toile cushions and coffee table

Give your garden patio a makeover

A garden patio makes for a wonderful and welcoming living space throughout the summer months. They require little maintenance, particularly compared to lawns, and the smallest of seasonal refreshes can really lift your outdoor space. If you're looking for ways to brighten up your patio this year, this collection of design ideas is sure to inspire.

It goes without saying that a patio is a go-to spot for alfresco dining, but rain - or, sometimes, sun - can be a problem when entertaining outside. A simple homemade canopy made of flowing fabric can offer a stylish covering (if you have decking, the sail-like effect of the drape is particularly striking).

Want to take things in a more traditional direction? How about teaming wooden benches with relaxed soft furnishing for a haven that's very shabby chic. By contrast, a vintage-style iron bistro set with slatted chairs and patterned seat covers will capture an effortless French farmhouse look.

Of course, you may want to dial up the ambient atmosphere after dark, in which case, consider setting the mood with lanterns and cushions scattered on the floor. A hammock is another indulgent option for any patio, and works for a small and large space alike.

Don't be afraid to take a more minimalist route. The most basic patios, whether stone, decking or gravel, can be given a contemporary overhaul by choosing heavy, sculptural ornaments and furniture. If you want to soften those edges, vibrant accessories, colour accents and potted plants are a quick and effective means to do so.

If size is a concern, be sure to make the most of the space you do have by paring back the clutter. A simple, small dining table and chairs - with stylish cushions and tableware, of course - is certain to become a much loved, and much used, addition to your garden.

Provence-style relaxed seating area

Create an outdoor living area for the summer months.

A fragrant lavender garden sets the French theme for this relaxed seating area set away from the house in a shady spot.

Mismatched painted furniture gives a shabby chic look, with a rustic wooden bench and old wicker chair as the focal point. Faded floral and toile cushions pull the whole scheme together, that's reminisent of classic French style.

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Greenfingers

Chosen by Housetohome

Photograph by Mark Scott