Lockdown is still very much in place and many of us are spending the majority of our time at home, keen to find a little oasis for ourselves within our four walls.

With the summer days getting longer, instead of thinking about interior design, it’s the perfect time of the year to think about our outdoor spaces. With a little bit of TLC, they can provide the perfect retreat in these trying times. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden there’s plenty of ways you can transform a corner or two but even small patios and balconies can be adapted and given a summer make-over to provide the perfect hideaway or sanctuary.

Head over to my Pinterest board https://www.pinterest.co.uk/room4interiorslimited/garden/. for some breath-taking ideas that I’ve come across. Really, anything is possible and you’re only limited by your own imagination. If you’re looking to transform part of your garden or patio into something spectacular, as an interior design consultant, I would be delighted to help you. The best thing about projects like this is the results can be achieved on a smaller timescale. It’s generally weeks not months to see a re-design and now is the right time to think about it so that you enjoy the benefits over the coming summer months.

A topical transformation amongst home improvements in the UK, is the humble shed. Fast becoming the most prized outdoor space a home can have, a shed can literally be transformed into anything you dream of. One of my friends has recently turned his shed into a bar and called it The Lockdown Inn, it is amazing! Another friend in Solihull has a Champagne Shed. It’s really cosy, full of chic decorations, a couple of inviting chairs adorned with blankets in case of a chilly evening and a music system. I mean what’s not to love? Whether it’s a ‘she shed’, a ‘he shed’ or a children’s den you’re looking to create, the first place to start is by painting your shed. I would always advise painting both the exterior and interior. It helps to seal the wood and provides a more finished look. Opt for lighter rather than darker shades to instantly brighten your garden and create that essential summer house feel. The internal decoration depends on what your aim is and how you’re going to use the space. Seating is essential but whether it’s bar stools, oversized gaming bean bags, deckchairs or rattan furniture very much depends on who’s going to be using the space and what for. Add in finishing touches such as bunting, artwork and soft furnishings and you’re nearly there.

There is one aspect of a garden makeover that shouldn’t, in my opinion though, be overlooked and that’s lighting. It might not seem the most obvious part of a garden makeover but the right lighting can totally transform a garden. And let’s face it unless it’s the peak of summer there’s going to be a fair amount of time when you’re viewing your garden in the twilight hours. Even when it is the peak summer months you want to make the most of your garden and maximise your time spent there. Lighting of course comes in all shapes and forms. There are some amazingly sophisticated systems available where you can control them from your phone, set them to music or change the colour at the touch of a button but for something more simple yet equally effective, solar-lighting is perfectly suited to the garden. My personal favourites are oversized solar lanterns which I think provide the perfect ‘entrance’ to steps, patio or a garden room and border lights placed along a garden path – just irresistible.

For balconies and patios, I love subtle lighting. Think twinkly fairy lights and festoons entwined in an olive, bay or eucalyptus tree. It instantly feels festive and special. Combine with a garden bean bag or two, a couple of window boxes or patio containers full of aromatic herbs, close your eyes and you might even be instantly transported to the Mediterranean!