In England? Seriously?!

Following on the theme from yesterday, I was thinking that there’s no reason really why outdoor living has to be limited to places with great weather year round.  We were back in London (for example!) for a flying visit in June this year and, my goodness, the weather totally conspired against me and any potential homesick-ness (that I am, admittedly, yet to suffer).  It was fricking r.o.a.s.t.i.n.g and just gorgeous all week.  Wimbles, drinks on outdoor terraces and picnics were go go go – incredible for England! 
So it got me thinking that, really, for the 3 weeks of good weather we Brits average per year, we should really make the most of it in our homes – why not adapt Caribbean designs to UK use by installing a combination of firepits, outdoor heaters, undercover areas with good quality throws in outdoor fabrics etc. so that the outdoors can also be enjoyed in the blooming spring and smokey autumn (as well as in the more-often-than-not rainy summer…). 
I‘m feeling very inspired by the pics below – especially loving the lanterns and carved wood in the second one:
A back copy of Living Etc. earlier in the year featured an article describing various ideas for designing urban gardens, and I thought it would be relevant to these musings…
One of my favourite ideas was to ‘create continuity’ between the indoors and outdoors spaces, using full-length retractable doors and by echoing the design and palette of the living space outside.  Another benefit of this is obviously being able to make a quick dash indoors when it inevitably starts to drizzle…(sorry, I’m trying not to be too smug and slate the English weather too much!).
I also LOVE outdoors fireplaces/firepits:
Now all you need are a few cosy throws, cushions, lamps, (maybe brollies), a glass or two of mulled wine and your December nights in are sorted!  This design is by Charlotte Rowe.
Cooking al fresco also seems to be rising in popularity – how’s this for an oven…?
The design is by KR Garden and Planting Design.
Now this is definitely not an idea for extending the ‘outdoors season’ of your garden, but there was also a mention in the article of outdoor showers:
I can personally confirm that outdoors showers are AWESOME (except when a fishing boat sails past very slowly…).  I am occasionally permitted to accompany ‘Those Guys’ (you know who you are!!) to Cayman Brac to go climbing and we stay at a beach house with a fantastic outdoors shower, which is excellent after a day on the bluff!  Except for the aforementioned fishing boats…   The one featured here is by Boffi Chelsea.
The last idea I thought I’d post was actually to ‘include shade’, but I was thinking it might be more relevant to ‘include shelter’!  If you substituted this shade sail for a proper canvas jobbie, maybe with side bits (the technical term), you could use the deck year round.

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