How To Create Your Very Own Outdoor Oasis For Under £200 (Including Prosecco)
So I don't know about the rest of the country, but the sun has definitely been showing it's face in North Yorkshire this week. True, it's been a rare occurrence over the last month but my Birkenstocks are out and am hoping it is here to stay, at least for a while. Unfortunately, I am shockingly poorly prepared for this prospective outdoor styling situation. If you are an Instagrammer, you will know that outdoor styling is THE event of the season. You always know that it's on its way when the wysteria hysteria posts start filtering through and the sheepskins come out. It's 14 May and the scent of competition is already in the air. You can almost hear the patio jet washing and frantic plant potting as the National Grid prepares itself for festoon plug in.
Last year, I recklessly flogged all of my old Neptune garden furniture that we'd had for ten years as it wasn't cool enough and replaced it with a bamboo sofa and chair picked up for £60 at the Community Furniture Warehouse. I was super happy with it. It was really comfy and looked fab strewn with folk blankets and cushions. I was back in the game.
What I had omitted to realise was that bamboo furniture looks fabulous outdoors but unfortunately, it's not waterproof or, in fact, made to be used outside, which means that we spent most of the summer lugging it backwards and forwards into the shed at the faintest hint of rain. Joe spent most of the summer swearing about it. So last weekend with the sunshine on the way, I went into the shed to check it out and discovered it was covered in mould. The chair had already been repurposed months ago for my living room, but the sofa hadn't made the outside/inside grade and was looking seriously worse for wear. Shutting my ears to Joe's "what a piece of shit, I told you we should never have sold the garden furniture" refrain, I closed the shed door and had a mass panic that I would be unable to maintain my styling game this summer amongst the hardcore international Instagram massive.
Putting aside my trauma, I went straight on to the internet to have a good look at what was around this year when it came to the outdoors. I was super pleasantly surprised. Two years ago, I remember being hysterical with excitement when I found a plastic rug in Homesense. I'd used plastic rugs in my kitchen previously and had been forced to order them from China as they weren't available in the UK. Now there are hundreds online to choose from as it becomes apparent that decorating your outdoor area is just as important as styling your indoor space.
Luckily for us, the big stores and online shops have cottoned on to this as well and prices are looking good. So as my blog ethos revolves around styling your home on a budget, I set myself a challenge to create an outdoor oasis that will keep you styling happy for the entire Summer for under £200. I do like a challenge.
Green Decor £25
This beaut is made of 100% recycled polypropylene and is 90cm x 150cm so a fab size. It's perfect for putting your patio furniture on and is fully washable, plus it's geometric pattern makes it super on trend. What a bargain.
Tesco Direct £59.99
You don't get much more comfortable than a deckchair when it comes to relaxing outside in the garden. Unlike my bamboo sofa, this pair are easy to store and whip out when the sun arrives. They're available in a few colours but black is timeless and super stylish. Plus no one will notice if you spill your crisps and wine on them. Free shipping too.
Red Candy £22
This perfect table is a great example of an inside/outside purchase. It's quite big (diameter of 42cm) and has a cool industrial feel to it. The tray removes for use which is deal for carrying out the cocktails, thereby making it a practical choice too. Oh, and it looks great and can easily double up for inside use after the sun has gone.
These fab floor cushions are a total find. At 60cm x 60cm they are far bigger than anything else I've found for the price. They're currently out of stock online but you can register for stock alert and they are still available in store so get down to your local Matalan now and grab one.
Aosom £15.99 (use code MAY to get further 5% discount)
I liked this umbrella so much that I've ordered one. It's perfect for that outdoor tiki vibe and it's very light so can be moved all over the garden with ease. You can use it in a normal parasol stand and sip your cocktails as if you were actually in Hawaii rather than, like me, overlooking the A166 to Bridlington. A super cool retro bargain.
Harbour Housewares £23.99
I am desperate for a firepit. We were at a friends for a BBQ the other night and they had an old washing machine drum in which they lit a fire and they really do kick out the heat. You have to take into account that you will smell chargrilled for days afterwards, but it's definitely worth it. This one is a seriously good price and a good practical size at 56cm diameter.
Festive Lights £14.99 (use code LDOUTSIDE for 10% discount until July)
Being brought up in Hong Kong, I love a hint of the Orient and these brightly coloured solar lanterns do the job perfectly. You can plug them into the ground and light up your evenings with no batteries or electrical points required.
When you are drinking outside, it's much better to have a chunky wine glass than a thin stemmed little number. I have a very chequered history with wine glasses outdoors plus I have two boys who use their Nerf guns as if they were Jason Statham, so the more solid the better, in my opinion. Obviously the practical choice would be a plastic glass but am going with the outside/inside theme and these beauties, made with embossed spotted glass, are just as nice to use in your dining room.
This little number is perfect for the tray table and keeping the mozzies away. Plus it's natural textured look is perfectly in style. If you live in the North Yorkshire countryside, be prepared to light it at least fifty times a night as you are hit by force ten gales. A winner at a bargain price.
And finally, no garden is complete without a pair of plastic pink flamingos. Everyone needs a bit of kitsch in their life and these flamingos are ideal for setting amongst your petunias. A must have.
So there you go. Your very own outdoor oasis without blowing the budget. This little lot will take you through the entire summer and keep you looking stylish (yes, flamingos are stylish) for the total price of £192.94. Which will leave you with £7.06 for a nice bottle of Prosecco. Behold the Instagram Summer styling season. Bring it on.