I have been meaning to write a post about garden decor tips and ideas for weeks but every time I sit down at my computer, the schizophrenic British weather strikes again and by the time I write the headline, it's 15 degrees and cloudy again... Today is not much better but I have decided to just go for it before it's actually autumn again, even if it means taking the risk of jinxing the rest of the summer... Or it might actually sunny and hot by the time you read this, who knows...
For disclosure purposes I feel like I should mention something first so you don't feel like I am leading you on or anything like that: I absolutely hate gardening. Well, it's not so much hate as total cluelessness. On top of that, I have mild OCD, which means I am not good with mess or dirt, or anything that involves mess or dirt... My relationship with gardening is a little bit like the one I have with Bloody Marys: love the concept, hate the actual thing... Every time I am out for brunch and I see those beautiful tomato juices in vintage glasses styled with perfectly structured celery sticks, and all the trimmings that go with it, I am literally green with envy. The annoying reality is I don't like the taste... Similarly, I dream of spending my sundays with Cath Kidston gardening gloves on, checking how my peonies are doing or just get my hands dirty and lovingly replanting my spring bulbs... The reality is, I am totally useless and I stopped counting how many beautiful green creatures have fallen victim to my not-so-green hands. The latest casualties at Stella + the Stars HQ are two lovely mini cacti bought from Columbia Road in East London and that literally decomposed under my eyes in just a few weeks... Tragic...
However, this doesn't mean I don't like having a stylish garden (well, mine is more like a patio), it just means I need to up my game elsewhere ie furniture and accessories so with this in mind, I thought I'd share my 5 tips on how to inject a little bit of fun and fabulousness into your garden if, like me, you're missing the green gene.
1. Go Faux
You must have seen that one coming from a mile away, non? Yes, I am not ashamed of it, I have artificial grass in my garden (even the potted little plants in the picture of my outdoor space above are fake...!) and it's been the best thing ever. If you invest in a decent quality one, it looks like the real deal, is as low maintenance as it gets, stays green all year round and if you have little people running around on it like me, keeps their clothes and feet stain-free. Most DIY shops stock artificial grass including Homebase who have a great variety. And it's super affordable of course.
2. Smart Dining
Vibrant coloured outdoor chairs can instantly brighten up even the most boring backyard. I like to steer clear of the standard rattan or wooden matching sets, 'cos let's be honest, life's too short and if you're lucky enough to actually own a garden in Central London, why on earth make it look like the back page of a tacky DIY catalogue? If you're really struggling with the idea of going a bit bold and more importantly don't want to spend a fortune, considering replicas of classic designs is always a good first step. Cult Furniture have a great choice of Tolix-style chairs and tables (my favourite is the brass model!) that will add a little bit of French coolness to any outdoors dining area... Combine with a matching table or even better with a reclaimed wood or vintage one like on the picture above and Robert is your father's brother, as they say...
3. Tropical Punch
How ridiculously amazing do these garden flamingos look?! Adore! And, they tick the current tropical trend nicely so it's win-win, really. I am obsessed with flamingos and these puppies have been on my shopping list for, like, ever, and I have finally decided to invest in a decent pair for the summer. I've got my eyes on this affordable model from Notonthehighstreet.com.
4. Find THE deck chair
Having grown up in the south of France, for me, a deck chair (or chaise longue as it's actually called in French - I know, all very confusing...) is the epitome of summertime chillaxing! I recently discovered the gold mine that is the London Transport Museum and their shop is a treasure trove of funky and affordable items for interiors. They also have a fantastic selection on their online shop. I have a soft spot for this little deckchair that features seaside coach destinations including Margate, Whistable, Rye, you get the vibe... And it's on sale.
5. Get arty
Yes, you read that right, I am talking art in your garden! Even the most simple piece will instantly lift the look of your space and be a great conversation starter. Doesn't have to be something fancy or expensive piece either, a traffic sign like yours truly or a vintage sign will do nicely. Another uber cool idea is street art. Commissioning a graffiti artist to do something with the brickwall in our garden is something I looked into but could never settle on an actual design. But when I look at the picture below, it makes me want to revisit the idea and actually make it happen.
Or how about an outdoor stag lamp, Abigail Ahern style?
These ideas should get your imagination going. Let me know if you end up using any of my tips! Happy gardening - I mean, outdoor decorating!