Instant impact - make your garden stand out

The pizza oven the Gods bake Margheritas in

The pizza oven the Gods bake Margheritas in - Credit: Archant

Back in the 90s, Ground Force taught us about water features, decking and replacing the lawn with flagstones and gravel. Things have moved on – now there are instant ways to create impact in the garden. It’s very much about feature pieces, says Andrew Bullock

A single piece of sculpture can transform a space (Clive Nichols)

A single piece of sculpture can transform a space (Clive Nichols) - Credit: Archant

Despite a few very late flurries of snow, summer is nearly upon us, and we want to grab the chance to take dinner, the Sunday papers and soirées al fresco. If the garden is looking a bit sparse and underwhelming but you dream of creating an impact, there are some great quick fixes available, from planting to faking it, to turn things around.

Planters for starters

Instead of boxy wooden planters, try creating an industrial effect with piping or sheet metal on raised beds. These materials can be obtained from commercial hardware suppliers. Try raised beds specialist Jarrett Fencing in Aston near Stevenage, as your first port of call.

Bigger is better when it comes to planters. Galvanised zinc in contemporary shapes give that encroaching and brazen effect. Habitat is a great source of modern outdoor accents – my pick is its faceted fibreglass planters.

Giant metal planters add drama

Giant metal planters add drama - Credit: Archant

All fired up

If you’re looking for a signature item that really stands out when entertaining guests for dinner, forget about fire pits and barbecues and invest in a pizza oven.

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Such an item is an investment – the Alfa range at Riverside starts at £1,295 – but the ovens are fabulous additions to any outdoor living space.

Modern-looking, while alluding to a rustic cooking style, they give an Italian vibe to the garden. Some ovens will cook four pizzas, and create a focal point for guests to gather round and take part in the cooking. Most of all, these ovens will give your guests something to talk about, which certainly leaves a lasting impact after your garden party.

art in the garden

Outdoor art pieces don’t have to be variations on stone figurines or bird baths. A single large, strong piece of sculpture can completely change the feel of a garden. Or think Alice in Wonderland and add some fantasy to your outdoor space – source an old window and hang it on a fence to add intrigue or select impressive gothic stone sculpture from wherever you can track it down – online, scrapyards or merchants – and build your own feature around these.

You’re my WonderWal

Compartmentalising your garden space can create an unexpected yet lasting impression. One way of doing this is to separate parts of the garden with WonderWal – a form of artificial screening that looks like real hedging. Not only does this allow an instant (and movable) hedge to zone the outside space, but screening can also cover up less tidy-looking parts of the garden too. Riverside garden centre in Hertford stocks WonderWal in a range of plant styles. Surrounding decking, for example, and your guests think they’re at Wimbledon. The beauty of these screen is that they are, as Riverside says, ‘realistic eye-catching natural displays that require very little maintenance yet remain looking in their prime all year round’.

The panels butt-up seamlessly to one another and with minimal positioning of the leaves the joins will disappear giving a more realistic effect. You can even trim them to fit spaces perfectly.

They won’t fade,’ adds a Riverside spokesman, ‘and they’re fully weatherproof and UV stable, meaning they will stand up to the elements and remain looking good for many years’.

Variants include acer for a splash of red, snow conifer for a lighter green, Virginia creeper, ivy, American beech and laurel.

Cut & colour

Typically, gardens are green and earthy in colour, with stony, rural tones such as slate or wheat. While it might not be best advised to go completely over the top, injecting boldness into your garden will make a big impact. And it’s easy to do. Outdoor furnishings give the perfect opportunity for this.

Fishpools in Waltham Cross has an array of Savona American-style lounge chairs, in the boldest of colours, to provide an istant statement. Mix and match, or create one theme throughout the garden with the pink, lime or turquoise variations of these playful pieces.

Fishpools also stocks the Tobago rattan hanging chair, a stylish update on the 70s favourite and ideal for engaging in some blue sky thinking. These look great as a single piece or as a set of two or three and can be complemented by Fishpool’s accessories range, including storage boxes, patio heaters and parasols.

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