Turn Your Garden Into an Outdoor Room

Here’s how to transform your outdoor area into invaluable living space all-year round

The secret to getting the most from your garden, patio or balcony is to style it as you would an interior room. Continue design themes and colour palettes from indoors to out, and use lighting, sculpture and striking planters to create focal points and ‘wow’ moments visible from your seating area and, ideally, from indoors, too. Look for kit that is practical, weather-resistant and well-designed, so you get pleasure from looking at it as well as using it.


Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Morso IgnisWarm up in style with Morsø’s Ignis Firepit
Credit: Dan Duchars

You’ll use your outdoor space much more if it’s warm. Flickering firepits and outdoor fireplaces look beautiful and gas-powered heaters are super-convenient. We love the sculptural look of Eva Solo’s fire globe and the Scandi styling of Morsø’s Ignis firepit – a neat option for smaller spaces. If you have an outdoor power supply, try the Kettler Kalos range of electric free-standing and tabletop heaters – their minimal designs work brilliantly in a contemporary space.

Dining & Chilling

Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Teardrop Hanging chairSit back in Cox & Cox's stunning teardrop hanging chair

Garden furniture has upped its game and now rivals indoor versions for style and comfort. Synthetic weaves, like Cox & Cox’s funky hanging chairs, are modern and practical, while wood weathers beautifully and can be freshened up with a lick of paint. Metal furniture can be left outdoors all year round, but check the weight if you’re likely to move it around a lot. Smart eco choices include a cute cotton woven swinging chair from Wearth, Tikamoon’s lovely retro-looking real rattan range and Raft’s reclaimed timber dining chairs. We’re also rather in love with Garden Trading’s ingenious bar tables – just insert the metal drinks trough to keep your summer drinks chilled.

Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Hampstead Bar StoolsGarden Trading's cool St Mawes drinks/planter bar table and Hampstead bar stools


Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Gas GrillChic and sleek: stainless steel Eva Solo tall gas grill

What’s not to love about cooking and eating outdoors? Outdoor kitchens are a key design trend but compact grills and portable barbecues are a more space-friendly option. Charcoal-powered barbecues and grills produce an authentic smoky flavour although getting them started takes time and practice, while gas-powered models are easy to start and heat up quickly. Eva Solo’s tall gas grill looks totally different from any barbecue we’ve seen, while the colourful Cookut Yaki portable barbecue caught our eye because it uses a coconut smokeless fuel. We also like Weber’s Master-Touch GBS charcoal barbecue range because you can cook everything from breakfast to pizza. Search out smart limited edition colours, like sapphire blue and aqua.


Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Shimmer Glow StoneBright idea: pebble mood light from The Solar Centre changes colour

Solar lighting avoids the hassle of having to install outdoor power and wiring, and modern solar technology is more efficient now. The Solar Centre is packed with interesting options, but the colour-changing pebble mood light is fun for patio parties and there are lots of stylish LED string lights, including smart copper pendant lantern lights. We also love Eva Solo’s SunLight Lounge solar lamp, which creates a cosy glow after dark and has a useful USB recharging option if sunshine is in short supply. When choosing lighting for your garden, follow a few simple rules to avoid disturbing night insects and wildlife: light the ground rather than the sky; use motion detectors or timers to switch lights off when not required; and focus light on specific plants, steps and eating areas, rather than flooding the whole garden.

Mirrors and Sculpture

Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - SculpturesGarden art: Burford Garden Company's zinc artichoke sculptures

Mirrors are a crafty way of making small gardens look larger and dark spaces brighter, but they need careful positioning. The sunburst design from Cox & Cox has a lovely vintage feel, and there’s a great selection of outdoor mirrors at Garden Trading. Sculpture is another way to bring personality to a garden and metal pieces work well in any setting. Crocus has gorgeous metal spheres in brass or zinc and Burford Garden Company’s zinc artichoke sculptures look stunning among plants, on paving or on a lawn.

Rugs and Cushions

Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Weaver GreenRelax in comfort with Weaver Green's patterned rugs and cushions

You might be outdoors, but you can still dress up your space. Weaver Green has a beautiful range of soft-touch outdoor rugs and cushions made entirely from recycled plastic bottles which are hard-wearing and UV-stable, and ILIV Textiles has an appealing line-up of weatherproof PVC fabrics, including retro and Scandi designs. 

Gazebos & Sails

Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Palma Round SetCreate a weatherproof room with Kettler's Panalsol

Don’t let rain (or sun) stop play. Dancover sells sunsails, parasols and gazebos to keep inclement weather at bay, and Forest’s dining pergola is also worth considering. A luxury alternative for large patio parties is Kettler’s Panalsol – a resilient, weatherproof design which diffuses wind and sun, and has sliding roof panels and solar-powered LED lights.


Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Bert & MauBring character to your graden with Bert & May's artisan Vejer tiles

Why settle for tired wooden decking or plain grey paving when there are far more exciting options around? Porcelain tiles are resilient and weatherproof, which allows you to seamlessly continue your indoor flooring outdoors. Alternatively, why not introduce a feature area of Parisian Café patterned tiles from Ca’ Pietra under the dining table or around your seating, just as you would use a rug indoors. For an eco-friendly choice, try Bert & May, which sells both reclaimed and artisan handmade tiles, or check out super-versatile Trex decking, which is made from reclaimed sawdust and recycled plastic, and is guaranteed to last for 25 years.

Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Ca PietraIntroduce a feature area with tiles from Ca'Pietra
Credit: Design At Nineteen


Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Screen with EnvyCreate a sense of enclosure with laser-cut steel screens from Screen with Envy

Need a little more privacy outdoors? One of the easiest ways to create a screen is with plants in large pots and planters – especially if they can be moved easily to create cover exactly where you need it. Elho’s eco-friendly Vivo matt planters have invisible wheels and are made from recycled plastic or, for extra height, choose a planter on legs like the sandstone Stahl from Cuckooland. Another stylish solution is laser-cut steel screens – go bespoke with Outdoor Design or buy off the peg at Screen with Envy. Or why not use panels of trellis or fencing, custom-painted to match your colour scheme? The Garden Trellis Company has a superb range and also offers bespoke designs if you want something a little more unusual. Get inspiration from garden designer Georgina Lindsay, who regularly uses modern trellis in her city gardens.

Greenhouse Living

Berkeley Inspiration - Turn Your Garden into an Outdoor Room - Greenhouse OfficeThis Alitex greenhouse can double up as a home office
Credit: Julia Currie

Greenhouses are not only brilliant for growing your own herbs and vegetables; they can also be used as a yoga room, an office, an art studio, a garden bar or an all-weather outdoor dining room. To keep them warmer in winter, add a layer of bubble wrap, or invest in a greenhouse heater. Get greenhouse envy at Hartley Botanic and Alitex.