Taking inspirational interior design to the great outdoors

M&S Carmelo dining table and two benches set �699

M&S Carmelo dining table and two benches set �699

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The sun has finally been shining this week, sparking a dash for the patio and barbecue.

And if you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space, it deserves as much attention as your indoor rooms.

A survey by Lloyds TSB Insurance has found that over the last year Britons spent £14 billion turning their gardens into luxury havens. Our holiday budgets may still be tight, which is all the more reason to make the most of the summer at home.

The survey found that furniture, hot tubs and summerhouses are increasing in popularity while sales of plants declined.

“We are valuing our garden spaces more as the trend to improve rather than move continues,” says Frances Tophill, presenter of ITV’s Love Your Garden.

“As homeowners have become too time-poor for gardening, features like decking, summerhouses and leisure items have moved into prime position in our gardens.”

“Designers are helping to transform our outdated perceptions of garden spaces. They are focusing on outdoor furniture as never before and using state-of-the-art materials and marine-grade fabrics to produce innovative, weather-proof collections,” says Tina Mahony at Go Modern.

“People now want to create the ‘wow’ factor when they entertain outdoors. The modern approach is literally to take the indoors out and conjure a beautifully-furnished area which seamlessly blends with the interior.”

Pure white has been a star on the fashion catwalk and is playing a key role on patios this summer.

“The disadvantage of white furniture, that it was hard to clean, has disappeared with the use of durable, modern materials,” says Luke Albery at Encompass Furniture. “White reflects the light, and can make a space look larger and is an ideal choice for those who want to make an impact with a makeover.”

Or raise the temperature in the garden no matter what the weather with zingy coloured garden furniture teamed with bright accessories. The setting will be reminiscent of the dazzling shades of foreign hotspots.