Garden designer Kirsty McLean offers some ideas for sheltered seating…

Our outdoor space has become one of the most desirable attributes for homes in recent years and 2022 is warming up to be no different. One of the best ways to really enjoy the summer months and extend the season beyond, is to create a covered space in the garden. A sitooterie – if you will – can work in any size and shape of garden. 

These structures can be used to zone the garden, create an outdoor room, or act as an extension to the house, to create a focal point or as a stand-alone building. They’re great for daytime use or for lazy evenings. With the addition of heat and light, these can make for a wonderful and welcoming space, even in the winter months. 

Here are a few of my favourites:

Louvre Pod:  This is an aluminium, powder-coated frame with optional roof louvres that can be set to open or shut, making it weatherproof. It comes with side screens in weatherproof material or a mixture of glass and weatherproof material, so can be configured to suit your requirements. 

Pavilion: Created with fixed seating and a half open structure, this gives a cosy area in the garden whilst taking in the wider views. It’s obviously not a year-round structure. 

Garden Pod: These are so funky and come in all shapes, sizes, colours and combinations, working particularly well in modern, urban spaces. 

The cosy corner: Where you have a cosy little corner that is currently dead space, why not try this?  It’s a hybrid of a summerhouse and an arbour. It can be painted and you can jazz it up with coloured cushions, fairy lights, rugs, and planters.

Pergola: As a standalone structure in the garden, the humble pergola can be designed in so many styles but the basics are usually the same. By using clear Polycarbonate /Plexi-glass sheeting, you can fix this across the span of the roof to create complete shelter from the weather or use climbing plants to clothe the structure. Others come with a solid roof.

The covered arbour:Even if you have a tiny garden, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Try a covered arbour seat. 

The Garden Room: Garden rooms made an impact on the garden some years ago and certainly haven’t lost their appeal with more and more designs coming out every season. There’s something to suit every taste. 

The awning:If you’d prefer something neater that takes up little space, awnings are the way to go. They come in a range of colours and their cantilevered system, often remotely operated, covers a surprising range of distance. They disappear into a neat, compact housing on the house wall or whatever structure you want to use them against.

Portable possibilities: If you’re looking for something that you can put away in the winter, then there are so many options to choose from including pop-up gazebos and sail canopies. 

With a bit of styling using fairy lights, festoon lights, lanterns, outdoor
rugs, planters and creating a bit of heat through fire bowls, fire
pits, chimineas, fire cubes, you can create a warm and welcoming space to share with family and friends.  

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