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How to style your outside space for summer socials

Now's the time to make the most of your garden, garage, patio or sunroom, says Sam Wylie-Harris

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Ambient vibe: an outdoor patio with table and chairs, string lighting and lanterns

Ambient vibe: an outdoor patio with table and chairs, string lighting and lanterns

Press Association Images

Bradstone's Easy Stack Walling

Bradstone's Easy Stack Walling

Press Association Images

Ambient vibe: an outdoor patio with table and chairs, string lighting and lanterns

With summer well within our sights, there couldn't be a better time to home in on design ideas and projects outside, preferably under blue skies.

Of course, when it comes to DIY, some might say confidence is key. But with the right tools and a little guidance, it is possible to re-imagine your outdoor space and style it up for when the time comes for those much longed-for summer socials.

And having made the most of your time at home being super-duper organised, you'll be able to showcase your achievements when we finally throw open our doors.

In the meantime, here's how to get those projects off the ground...

1. Celebrate 'happy hour' in your own garden

Building an outdoor bar can be the next best thing to visiting your local. Splash out on a pre-assembled drinking hole - Argos sells one that comes with a couple of stools, or opt for a tiki style, stocked at places like Wayfair and John Lewis. Or if you're ultra handy, knock your own up from wood or pallets, or upcycle an old bookcase.

Add some theatre to your stylish serves by decorating with bunting, furnishing with bottles of spirits and juices, and adding a selection of stemware. Grab an ice bucket and fill with beers and spritzers, and you've made the perfect pub in the garden.

2. Paint your sunroom

Think south of France, olive groves, and a courtyard with a lovely sun trap, and you've found your colour. This Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Arles (£21.95 a litre) - a rich, deep yellow - is inspired by Arles in the heart of Provence, an inspiration behind some of Vincent Van Gogh's most famous paintings.

Paint the walls of your sunroom, conservatory, garage or summer house - and even some wooden furniture too - for a fresh, new look.

3. Make wooden furniture look like new

Sadolin's Classic Wood Protection in Light Oak (£15.50 a litre from Crown Paints) is ideal for garden furniture, decking and large timber surfaces, and will breathe new life into weathered pieces. Available in a wide range of wood colours, you're sure to find one you like. And having closely followed the painting instructions, you can then look forward to the fun bit of styling up the seating.

4. Build a wall

Not that you don't want to see your neighbours, but building your own wall can change the whole look of your patio or garden and create separate areas. You could even build a BBQ area to make the most of staying at home this summer.

Heather Foo, regional sales manager at Bradstone, says their Easy Stack Walling (POA) is a great way to change the style of your garden. Even a low-lying wall can add a bit of depth and texture to your outdoor space.

And as she points out, it's ideal for novice DIYers, as the hollow bricks can simply be stacked and bonded together with a suitable sealant, and then filled with concrete to create a stable base for a feature wall.

5. Light up your space

With everything coming into bloom, it's only natural you'll want to put the spotlight on your best borders and flower beds. And, on sultry summer evenings, ambient lighting makes for a relaxed, luxe atmosphere.

Try LED torch lights with a flickering candle effect which are quick and easy to install, outdoor pendants, string lights, or bordering your garden with lanterns and spikes.

Alternatively, Paul Davey, category director for timber, hardware and electrical at Wickes, says wall sconces and up/down lights are a compact way of illuminating large areas.

Or, for a more traditional evening option, he says: "A fire pit can be used as a great statement and centrepiece, providing not only light but the opportunity to freely roast marshmallows with the family."

Belfast Telegraph