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Make your garden inviting with these top tips from Thomas Sanderson

1.    Update your garden furniture

Comfortable seating is essential for entertaining outdoors. For occasional use, choose an easy-care dining set in a man-made material. For more regular alfresco dining, invest in classic wooden or metal designs. Patio and garden furniture can be easily updated by changing the cushion fabric.

2.    Get the lighting right

You can entertain long after dark with the right lighting. Solar powered lights are a great option in the summer. Try weaving threaded light designs around trees or the banisters on decking, or using scented candles in tealight holders. Remember: never leave a burning candle unattended.

3.    Use your conservatory

Conservatories are often under-used because they can be uncomfortable when it’s cold or too hot. Professionally fitted blinds mean you can use your conservatory all year round. They shade the room from excessive heat and protect fabrics from fading in the sun. Choose from pleated, pinoleum or metal venetian designs to suit the style of your home.

4.    Dine alfresco

A family barbecue, a children’s party, even a wedding reception - there are numerous excuses to entertain at home this summer. Choose table and glassware to suit the occasion, decorate the table with flowers and add candles for after-dusk dining. Use covers to protect food from insects and portable coolers to keep wine at the optimum temperature.

5.    Add colour and texture  

Imagine the garden as an extension of your home with specific areas for different uses such as dining (the patio), relaxing (the lawn), reading (the summerhouse) and so on. Add colour, texture and interest to each area with carefully chosen plants, an impressive statue or a sensory water feature.

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