10 Outdoor Living and Garden Ideas for Autumn

That mini heatwave fooled us all didn’t it? We had started to think about packing away our garden furniture, locking away all our outdoor cushions and candles in the shed and turning off our festoon lights for the last time. But then, Mr Blue Sky decided to return and we all found ourselves (well, maybe not me. Due to current renovation situation, we have no garden) sitting outside with a G&T and making the most of the late summer sun.

how to use your garden in the colder months

Autumn can be really deceptive. If we’re lucky enough to get an Indian summer, the temperatures can still hit the mid-20s during the day but as soon as the sun sets, those temperatures plummet! We have a lot of birthdays in September and October in our family, so we still like to entertain and have people over and if I can shove them out in the garden, I will!

I always find the Spring and Autumn the best time to use our outdoor cinema!

The problem is, how do we convince guests, or even ourselves, to go and sit outside when the wood burner and winter TV schedule is tempting us inside? Here are a few ideas to get you started…

Make your seating area inviting

Create lots of cosy seating areas out of the elements. We tend to put our furniture in the sunniest parts of the garden, but these are often in the most exposed areas. Move your furniture back up against the house or next to your wall or fence to keep you out of those cold biting winds. If you garden doesn’t have a covered area, or somewhere to hide from the elements, think about getting furniture with built in covers, like a garden daybed or swing!

Our last garden was perfect in the colder months. It was tucked away in a corner under the trees and completely out of the elements!
If you haven’t got any shelter in your garden, this garden daybed is perfect! Elisamuel Daybed – Wayfair
I absolutely need this in my life! Outdoor swinging day bed – sittingspiritually.co.uk

Add shelter

Let’s face it, we’re not all going to be sitting out in our garden when the real winter weather hits are we? But what about those evenings when it can’t decide whether to drizzle or stay dry?

You know those days in Autumn when the weather really doesn’t know what to do with itself. Image credit: Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash

If Instagram is anything to go by, it would seem that most of the UK has added a pergola to their garden, so how about attaching a shade to it? Or, if you are one of the 7% who decided not to erect a wooden structure in their garden this summer, you can buy a sail shade to put in a corner of your garden.

The perfect pergola for those awkward months. Retractable Pergola – aosom.co.uk
Clara Sun Shade Sail – clarashadesails.co.uk

Cosy your garden up even more

You’ve got your seating area set up, now you need to make it a space you (and your guests) can’t resist. I see my garden as an extension of my home and treat it as another living space. I love to have my cushions, throws and even a rug or two! Not only does it look pretty, that big knitted throw will work extra hard in the autumn months to keep you warm.

An inviting space
You can’t beat a sheepskin and knitted throw in the garden.
Knitted throw £45, Dunelm

Create your own warmth

Fire pits are huge at the moment and another perfect way to making your garden cosy in the autumn. There are so many to choose from, they can become a lovely focal point to your garden and give it a warm cosy glow.

My kids enjoying toasted marshmallows in lockdown 2020

I always get asked how we stop from smelling like a Guy Fawkes effigy on Bonfire Night when we use our fire pit. I’ll be honest, we don’t! But there are a couple of things we try to do to limit the amount of smoke.

We make sure the fire pit it completely clean when we use it by clearing out the old debris and making sure it is dry. We try to use good quality wood that is also dry and not green (“green” freshly cut wood tends to still hold a lot of moisture so will produce more smoke). The smoke comes from the chemicals inside the wood, so we also make sure the fire is extremely hot to quickly burn off the chemicals.

Fire pits automatically create a warm and cosy glow in your garden. Black and copper fire pit – Von Haus

If you really don’t fancy the idea of a real fire, there are also great gas alternatives to choose from which still give you the ambience but not the smell!

Gas fire pit – Von Haus

Chim Chiminea

If you still don’t fancy an open fire pit, Chiminea’s are your friend! They are better at channelling the smoke and are perfect for smaller patio areas. They can come with rain lids which stops the water getting in and creating more smoke and a bit like fire pits, they’ve become hugely popular over the last year or two with a huge range to choose from.

Contemporary Chiminea – NOTTHS
Livivo Chiminea – Amazon

Patio heaters

If you want something that gives you instantaneous heat, then patio heaters are your thing. I was quite surprised to find that they are not as expensive as I thought! They can range from £50 all the way up to £300, I guess it just depends on whether you want a statement piece or something inconspicuous in your garden.

This small electric heater should be enough to keep your warm whilst you sip your G&T. Heatlab patio heater – £54.99
The perfect heater to hang from your pergola. ALUK 2000W Patio heater – Amazon
Glass tube pyramid heater – luxuryrattan.com

Outdoor Fireplaces

Another item in the garden that really seems to have take off this year is outdoor wood burners! Yep, you heard right. An outdoor wood burning fireplace for your garden. A bit like the Chiminea, this is perfect for keeping you warm whilst creating a romantic glow in your garden without choking on thick smoke. Just add an outdoor cinema and you will never feel the need to go inside.

The gorgeously rustic garden of Hardcastle Towers! Image credit: @hardcastletowers
Wakehurst Outdoor Fireplace – Gardenesque
Henley fireplace – ivylinegb.co.uk

Table top heaters

If you don’t want a large imposing heater in your garden, or want to set fire to anything, then a little table top gas heater is perfect for those cooler evenings. The beauty of these is that many of them are portable so you can move them around the garden easily, or even take them away with you on a camping trip.

Our Cosicoop lantern sits happily on our pallet table. You wouldn’t even know it was there!

I have an outdoor Cosiscoop lantern from geckohomedecor.co.uk and it’s perfect for our needs. It provides a good bit of light in the evening to give our garden a warm cosy glow.

So cosy at night.

Lighting

I think I’ve already muttered several times in the last week; goodness me! Isn’t it getting dark early? Yes, it happens every year and I’m always surprised. With it now getting darker by 7pm, we need to start thinking about lighting up our garden so we can keep using it into the night and what better way to do it than festoon lights?

One of my favourite photos from our last garden. Gosh I miss this space! Festoon lights from lights4fun.co.uk

These have to be one of my favourite garden accessories and do the job of lighting up the garden perfectly. They also give your garden that festival feel, so not only are they hugely practical, they actually MAKE you want to sit out in the garden and enjoy all the prettiness. I wrote about festoon lights (thrilling content, I know!) here.

There are many other ways to light up your garden including lanterns, fairy lights and candles. I wrote about lighting for your garden here.

Plenty of lighting to choose from. Image credit: lights4fun.co.uk

Don’t neglect your garden

And finally, as it says above! Your garden has worked hard for you all spring and summer, don’t turn your back on it now. If you keep your garden looking tidy and looked after, you’ll want to spend more time in it. Maybe treat your wooden furniture to a fresh lick of paint. Invest in some covers for your table and chairs so when it does rain heavily, they’re not soaking wet when you do want to use them.

Give that pergola and fence a lick of paint. Image credit: @maxinebradystyling

There are even plants that still flower in the autumn, so don’t give up hope of adding colour and life to your garden yet! Flowers like Asters, Sedum and Autumn Crocuses are perfect for this time of year.

Beautiful flowers like Asters will grow well into the colder months. Photo by Yoksel Zok on UnsplashSo, rounding it all up, it’s basically about keeping warm and cosy, isn’t it? Do you think you’ll keep using your garden into the colder months?

Mel x

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