Those of us in urban sprawls probably don’t want to encourage our feathered friends or the rather nastier furrier variety, whose name, like Voldemort, we shall not mention, but this bird feeder is so pretty that even if you don’t put any food in it, it will still look great hanging from a branch, and for those kinder people in the country, it is also a great buy. Made from mouth-blown glass designed to withstand wind, weather and beating wings, it is easily suspended and easy to fill with seed and other titbits.
How much: £28
Radio Controlled Clock
There are those that feel that, out in the garden, time should cease to matter as you relax in a lounger or stroll about deadheading the odd rose. Then there are the rest of us,who have to juggle lots of things at once and find that actually it’s quite handy to know what time it is. This clock is fully weather resistant and even jumps back and forth automatically when the clocks change twice a year. You can either make a focal point of it on awall, or have it peeping out from the foliage as a hidden surprise.
Where: Able Gardener (01738 639222; www.ablegardener.co.uk)
How much: £39.95
Award-winning designer Susan Bradley has created these stunning graphic images of flowers and foliage, which double up as mirrors and would add a good touch to any garden, either traditional or contemporary. She has also made a wall hanging – that she calls outdoor wallpaper – using a traditional flock pattern from stainless steel that can be used either as trellis or as simple decoration. It’s like reversing that old trick of bringing the outdoors in.
Where: Hidden Art Shop (020-7729 3800; www.hiddenartshop.com)
How much: £190 for the mirror and £220 for thewallpaper
Padded Oil Cloth Picnic Blanket
It’s good to find a picnic blanket that isn’t in that ubiquitous tartan – and the other common problem is that while it might be nice enough to sit on the grass, there’s a good chance it’s still a little damp from previous showers. This pretty, faded floral blanket has cotton on one side and wipe-clean oilcloth on the other, so you can either protect your bottom from the damp or make sure it’s easy to clean when someone has spilt drink on it. There is also a non-padded version, which is slightly easier to lug about.
Where: Handpicked Collection (0845 602 3578; www.handpickedcollection.com)
How much: £49.95
All garden designers love a water feature and most parents hate them for obvious reasons. This is a quite a stunner though and doesn’t leave pools of water gathering at the bottom, which might be reassuring. The highly reflective stainless steel also means that it reflects the surrounding greenery beautifully and seems to give the appearance of a shimmering illusion.
Where: Feature Deco (0845 200 4956; www.featuredeco.co.uk)
How much: from £179.95 for the small, £754.95 for set of three different sizes
Acrylic Garden Mirror
It’s a good trick in a small garden to add a mirror that will bounce the light around and hint that there might be more space there. It’s the same principle as inside really. Now you can either choose fancy mirrors, that look like little windows on to another world or go for a cheaper, but much large acrylic mirror, which looks great slotted into a hedge with perhaps a seat or more plants in front of it.
Where: Primrose London (0118-942 7345; www.primrose-london.co.uk)
How much: £14.45
Now take a deep breath, because this is the superb budget-busting suggestion. The Vortex is amirror-polished stainless steel crucible in which thewater, lit with blue LEDs, spirals round and round. It is mounted on a handcarved black stone plinth. The designer David Harber makes fab sundials and water features of which this is just one. Check out the petal water wall, made from polished-steel petals, down which the water runs in a zigzag effect.
Where: David Harber Sundials (01235 859 3000; www.davidharbersundials.co.uk)
How much: Vortex £7,528 and petal wall £11,456
If you fancy a change from the ubiquitous parasol, then a sail shade is often cheaper and can look really decorative to boot. Fix to either the house and a post or buy the specially-made steel poles. These ones are made by the Australians, who know a thing about sun protection, and will block 90 per cent of the UV rays. Colours include sand, grey and green and they are lightly shower proof.
Where: Crocus (0870 787 1413; www.crocus.co.uk)
How much: £59.99
Alton Rose Arch
Amid all this furniture, tools and lighting it’s easy to overlook the fact that gardens are meant to be about the plants. This arch will look stunning with a rose scrambling all over it and can be positioned to highlight a path, frame a pretty view or just add some height to a low level garden. You can add your own trellis to it to strengthen it, and should perhaps be forewarned that it comes in a flat pack.
Where: Crocus (0870 787 1413; www.crocus.co.uk)
How much: £89.99
It seems that everyone is jumping on the solar bandwagon these days, which is probably no bad thing. This is a nifty idea though – a parasol that provides shade during the day but converts all those rays into light in the evening, so it’s a kind of decoration that lights up. It gives a sort of fairy light effect which will be enough to sip drinks by and to create a pretty atmosphere. I like the multipurposeness of it.Ohand it’s waterproof too.
Where: sedifurniture (0845 055 8468; www.sedifurniture.com)
How much: £179
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