Do you remember having entertained? Here’s how to re-prepare your outdoor space for visitors

Ashen & Cloud Creative Director and award-winning interior designer Susan McGowan say maximizing our outdoor space is crucial in getting ready for summer.

She advocates zoning spaces, just as you would your home, considering the orientation of the sun and how you would like to use the space. “If you’ve got a place that benefits from the morning light, set up a bistro set for your morning coffee,” she suggests. “Likewise, you might want to dine in the evening where the sun can shine in, or relax during the day in a sunny spot. At night, a sheltered area with a hot fireplace or heater can make you stay outside under a blanket a little longer! If space is at a premium, McGowan says to consider a multi-functional space. “Allow for flexibility so that spaces can be adapted for use at different times of the day. Some tables, for example, are adjustable to switch from coffee table to dining table according to your needs.

Dali printed tablecloth (from 65 €) and rainbow cotton towel (48 € for 4) @

One of the biggest mistakes we make here in Ireland is forgetting our changing weather conditions, and that can add an interesting touch to your outdoor space, says McGowan. “Our weather is forever likely to change, and to make sure we can enjoy our outdoor spaces despite it, include a shelter. An awning can activate a space to use even during erratic downpours, and smart landscaping can control a prevailing wind or tunnel that might otherwise leave you feeling windswept. “Outdoor lighting is an easy way to access a welcoming ambience,” says the design expert. “In the garden, try using spotlights to illuminate interesting trees or plants, and install light pavers on them. steps and walkways. Make yourself comfortable in your quarters with festoon lights, candles in lanterns and pretty wall sconces. Many of these options are now also available in solar LED. ”

Egg Cocoon sofa (€ 579) @
Egg Cocoon sofa (€ 579) @

Finally, treat your outdoor space as an extra room and decorate it with that in mind. “Place a basket near your back door and fill it with blankets and cushions for outdoor use. Patio plants with attractive aromas, interesting tiles, and small structures like pergolas can also help tailor the patio to your individual style. Outdoor rugs are also available which can really bring the concept of an outdoor room to life. ”

Outdoor space

Rattan basket (€ 14.99) @ h & amp;  m home
Rattan basket (€ 14.99) @ H&M Home

A lick of paint is the most economical way to update your outdoor space according to Anita Mullane, consultant at Colourtrend. “Painting your fences and a garden shed will immediately transform your outdoor space,” she says. “I recommend choosing a darker shade for the fences to help camouflage the dirty stains we tend to have during the Irish winter months. A deeper color on the fences will also act as a great backdrop to enhance the colors of your garden plants and flowers. “For a color contrast, the expert suggests painting the garden shed in a light or pastel shade. “Painting the trim a different color will allow for a striking look that will bring color and interest to your garden all year round.” While it’s easy to get caught up in the trends of the season,

Cotton blend throw with monochrome stripes (40 €) @ Marks & amp;  Spencer
Monochrome woven stripe cotton blend throw (€ 40) @ Marks & Spencer

Mullane says it’s crucial to work with what you have when choosing an outdoor pallet. “Just because you love a color doesn’t mean it will work with your property! You may need to research different shades or hues of the color to find the right one for you. If you are determined to bring a splash of color to your garden, then it all depends on location, location, location. “I suggest painting a garden bench, pots or maybe a shed door and trim that can be easily changed if you want to keep up with current trends. They can easily be changed from year to year. ”

The table landscape

Eating outside is all about bringing out the inside, says Tara O’Connor, who recently launched The Designed Table, a gorgeous range of bespoke cotton tablecloths, runners and napkins. “Don’t worry if you don’t have a large enough table in your garden,” she stresses. “Bring your kitchen table! You can create seating areas with both garden furniture and indoor furniture. ”

Gio dining chair (480 €) @
Gio dining chair (480 €) @

When you envision your table, use your tablecloth as the canvas for your tablescape, suggests O’Connor. Then add flowers. “The small vases in the middle of the table work great with flowers at different heights for a relaxed and home-like atmosphere. When I entertain outside, I love to pick flowers from the garden and place them in jars and vases of different heights in the center of the table. »Use placemats to add depth and texture to your table and finish with a pop of color with a cotton napkin.

There’s no point in having a gorgeous table if there’s nowhere to put things, says designer. “Make sure you have enough room on your table for dishes and bowls. So don’t overload your table. Serve your dishes on colorful plates which also add color to your table. ”

Conscious Outdoor Cushion Cover (€ 2.99) @ h & amp;  m home
Conscious Outdoor Cushion Cover (€ 2.99) @ H&M Home

For summer nights, Tara likes to create a fun drink menu. “I love welcoming guests with a Spritz. Hugo Spritz is my summer drink. Elderflower liqueur garnished with Prosecco and garnished with mint in a glass with ice. Normally I keep the drink list small, rather than offering a full bar and for me rosé wine is always a winner in the summer.

The food

Chef Aisling Larkin stages outdoor dining. “Start with a menu concept – Moroccan, Italian, French – the possibilities are endless.” Family-style meals are the only way to serve food in hot weather, she says. “Serve large sharing and self-serve meals on the table or buffet style on a separate table, then allow everyone to help themselves and return for delicious second portions.

Modern Botany nebulizer and aromas (90 €) @
Modern Botany nebulizer and aromas (90 €) @

Choose summer foods you love, fresh, seasonal, local, and full of flavor. “Think fresh, lightly cooked asparagus dipped in a fresh, creamy whipped goat cheese topped with walnut crumbs, strawberries macerated in a little lemon, and juice and sugar before serving.” Salads are meals in themselves, says the chef and should be considered the star of the show. “Pack them with healthy ingredients that can be prepared ahead of time. Always include a protein, such as garlic shrimp, sweet pepper chicken, halloumi, tofu, or grilled beef. Also have a carb, sweet potatoes, couscous or quinoa or maybe pasta or even noodles. Then add lots of color, flavor and texture from delicious fruits and vegetables. ”

Hay pillar candle (50 €) @ Arnotts
Hay pillar candle (50 €) @ Arnotts

Whatever your preference, dessert isn’t negotiable when it comes to al fresco dining, Larkin says. “Don’t let the rich, heavy sweets derail you. Instead, go for something light and tasty. An Eton mess with fresh berries, lightly barbecued peaches with mascarpone and berries or a pre-made banoffee pie. A really good pot of ice cream will always save the day… think of the glory of quick panties, ice cream cookie sandwiches or even ice cream floats.

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