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How to:

create cosiness outdoors

We're a little obsessed with everything to do with outdoor living. And it seems we're not alone. Symptoms of the condition include checking the weather app on your phone at least three times a day in the hope of seeing that little sun symbol smiling back at you. Consuming every meal possible, and every cup of tea, alfresco. Opening wide every window in your house to get some fresh air in, even if it means donning several layers. And in serious cases, you can be found saying things like "It won’t last long. Just put a jumper on and we'll use the parasol."

So this is a piece for all of those people out there, who, like us, are desperate to enjoy every scrap of sunlight and to make the absolute most of our gardens. These are a few of the things we've learnt about creating cosiness in the great outdoors even on these sunny yet nippy April days or on balmy summer nights when the sun has set but the party lives on...

The basics

Cushions and throws are the easiest place to begin. Adding layers of texture brings a feeling of warmth before you've even sat down. You can start small with just one blanket draped over a sofa's back, or when you're entertaining be really decadent and hug every dining chair with a pretty throw so everyone feels looked after. When the sun is beaming, nestle your blanket in a nearby basket so it's tucked away neatly. And dining chairs with cushion pads and sofa sections with weatherproof scatter cushions will make sure there's always softness beneath you.

Featured: Hudson rectangular table; Harrington dining chair; Harrington armchair; Cley throw in Pebble Stripe and Navy Stripe.

The new essential

The outdoor slipper. When you're relaxing, comfort and warmth are pivotal. Enter the slipper. By having a lounge shoe destined for the garden it means you can balance cosiness with necessary practicality. We love these clever creations by Mahabis that are lined in fuzzy lambswool. No more chilly toes as you step outside.

A question of lighting

Just like with texture, lighting has the power to give the cosiest feeling of them all and there are lots of ways of doing it. The most complex is mapping when and where the sunlight falls. By understanding how natural light works in your garden you can set up areas that work best with that pattern. For example, if you mainly get the sun in the morning, perhaps you'd want your smaller table arranged there so you can enjoy the warmth at breakfast.

Then there are candles. Bringing the soft flicker of a candle's flame to the garden is one of the loveliest ways to encourage ambiance and to make it feel that bit more snug. We like to sit them in glass hurricanes so you needn't worry about any accidents happening with little ones running around. Lanterns have the same effect too.

And when night falls, put the lights on inside so there's a reassuring glow that spills out into the garden and all around you.

Fire away

This is the ultimate. Outdoor fires come in many different guises nowadays. Retro heaters are out and real flames are in, we're talking cast iron fire pit tables and beautifully rustic stone chimineas.

It's a frame of mind

It's not all about accessories. Creating cosiness is about a way of thinking too. This season we've been talking a lot about 'your outdoor living room'. By considering your garden as another room of the home you instantly find yourself treating it differently. Having an outdoor sofa area is a start, but by adding a coffee table or a side table and all the other bits in-between you can begin to envisage your garden as an extra living space. Go on, make the most of it.

Get inspired

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