Create a festive alfresco space with design tips from the experts
The aroma of winter spices and mulled wine are beginning to fill the air, and the cooler crisp weather is slowly making its presence known – it’s official, we have made it to the festive season! With people preparing to celebrate earlier than ever this year, and a third of the UK already beginning their Christmas planning1, Harbour Lifestyle, the luxury and exclusive outdoor furniture retailer, is here to remind the nation to think outside the box, and consider their outdoor spaces as well as their indoor, this Christmas.
With breakout Google searches surrounding winter patio designs already climbing in the past seven days, Harbour Lifestyle’s garden design experts have revealed top tier advice on transforming your outdoor space for the festivities, based on Google and Instagram trends.
The Fantastic Four
Gardens, patios, and alfresco spaces are often forgotten during the winter months, but these less considered areas can add great value to your festive gatherings and get-togethers. As much as we all love a soiree, there often comes a point in the evening where your visitors may need to take a break and grab some fresh air outdoors. To truly become the host with the most, preparing a social alfresco space is a must when you are accommodating guests.
Harbour Lifestyle experts unveil that the ideal breakout space contains four key elements – seating, heating, shelter, and light. These work together to create a space where your visitors will feel comfortable, your garden will look stylish, and you will feel confident in your hosting abilities.
Let’s start with seating. Your alfresco space requires dynamic seating choices to ensure that all guests feel comfortable and relaxed whilst socialising outdoors. Outdoor sofas are the most popular choice with Instagram users, totalling at 36.1k posts, but Harbour Lifestyle recommends an eclectic mix of sofas, benches, and single chairs to bring a vibrant and lively atmosphere to your space. Allow attendees to mix and mingle freely without feeling the constriction of one single sofa, and be sure to add in some cushty throw pillows, cosy blankets, and a rug underfoot for a true indoor/outdoor living vibe.
Shelter The Soiree
Once your companions have somewhere to rest their feet, you should consider the elements that may be against them. In the crisper winter months, we know to expect rain, sleet, snow, heavy winds, or even storms – it is the Great British unpredictable way. But, when mother nature’s wrath strikes, there are preventative steps you can take to ensure your visitors remain warm and dry when they return to the party.
Firstly, consider how you will shelter your space from the rain. Whether you choose a simple gazebo, or go all out with Instagram’s favourite garden structure, a pergola – sheltering your outdoor space will ensure your visitors, and your furniture, remains dry. With 1.1 million posts featuring polished pergolas on Instagram, and Harbour Lifestyle reporting a 195% increase in pergola sales over the summer, these multi-functional structures are set to continue their popularity into 2023 and beyond. For an extra cosy set up, style your pergola by adding hanging candles, climbing ivy around the legs of the structure, and intertwining twinkly string lights.
Keep Warm And Carry On
If the temperature dips and frost begins to settle on the ground, you may want to consider adding a heating element to your space to keep it cosy. If your patio space allows, a firepit is a great central attraction for your friends and family to gather around. With over 1.9 million tags on Instagram, and a skyrocketing 200% increase in Google searches the past 30 days, firepits are set to be one of the biggest trends of the winter season. Alongside keeping your party toasty, a firepit also acts as a late-night snack bar (did somebody say s’mores?) and an alternative lighting option for a more romantic dreamy atmosphere. It’s the ultimate all-rounder.
If a firepit isn’t your thing, a modern patio heater might be more your style. Giving your guests the option to turn the heat on at the push of a button, patio heaters are great at warming your area quickly and efficiently, without taking up too much space.
Light The Night
Finally, as the evenings get darker a lot quicker in the winter months, lighting becomes one of the most important elements in your alfresco space to keep it in use once the sun sets. From pillar lanterns to tabletop fires, there is an abundance of choice when it comes to ways to illuminate your garden.
If you love a renewable, low running cost option, solar lanterns are a great alternative to open flame illuminations. Powered by the sun, solar lanterns are bright enough to light any space, and chic enough to keep your garden looking classy. With 131k posts on Instagram, and a 160% increase in Google searches in the past 30 days, these money saving, super-efficient solar lanterns are set to be a hugely popular trend for winter 2022.
Make It Magical
So, now you have covered seating, heating, shelter, and lighting – all that is left to do is to bring the extra festive trimmings out of the woodworks.
Grab your Christmas lights (or re-arrange your pre-existing outdoor lighting to create a festively cosy corner), mark some Santa-sized footprints on the ground using flour for the children, and sprinkle your lawn with sparkly, biodegradable ‘reindeer food’ for an enchanting space ready to impress your soiree guests.
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