Garden style for summer
The lovely weather means we all want to spend more time outside, so if your garden needs a quick summer spruce up, these are Shimu's top tips for stylish outdoor spaces.
Start with some outdoor housekeeping. Sweep your patio or decking, and your whole garden will instantly look better. A cracked or stained patio can be fixed by hiding the flaw with a flower pot or an outdoor rug. During the day, you can bring out rugs from the house, like this hard-wearing eco-friendly hemp rug. Wipe down garden furniture, and put away any items that no longer look their best. If you have time, why not paint shabby furniture in bright hues for an instant colour pop?
Next, mow the lawn, and remember to edge it neatly. Crisp edges make a big difference between a garden that looks neat and orderly and one that looks uncared for.
Consider summer containers. A few large pots of colourful bedding add drama to your seating area and look better (and are easier to plant and maintain) than lots of little ones.
For the lazy gardener, choose a bold and unusual container but leave it empty. We love these Affiti clay pots which can be used inside or outside.
Don't just stick to pots. Garden ornaments don't have to be tacky gnomes or painted woodland animals. An oriental stone-carved Buddha will bring a zen-like tranquility to your patio. Shimu has a fantastic range of Chinese and oriental Buddhas suitable for inside or outside, in materials including wood, stone and bronze.
In modern China, they are more often found outside restaurants and hotels, but why not choose a pair to guard your gate?
Clever garden lighting will allow you to enjoy your garden long into the night. Choose a mixture of modern solar lighting and old-fashioned candle-light. Shimu has a good selection of oriental lamps and lanterns, many of which are suitable for outdoor use.
For example, the large Mosi lanterns pictured here, have glass walls and a black antiqued finish and are ideal for alfresco dining. Hurricane lanterns made from recycled glass sitting on bases made from sustainable mango wood are a popular choice, as are storm lanterns made from zinc and glass in a simple box shape.
Occasional seating for unexpected visitors is a must. Shimu has a range of ceramic and wooden stools which can be brought out from indoors when you have a gardenful of guests. These oriental ceramic stools are particularly attractive, with their brightly painted Chinese images, and this hand-carved stone stool is a practical choice as it can be left outside.
When the sun goes down, keep warm with throws and cushions. The Talani range of cushions (pictured) are made from a combination of cotton and denim and feature a rich, Aztec-Style pattern. Pile them up and add soft throws in wool, cotton or linen and you'll stay warm on even the chilliest evening.