From the Garden to Alfresco Dining for Spring

Spring is approaching and now is the time to begin thinking about bringing the inside to the outside with well-placed tables and chairs under a shady tree, a large umbrella or even a pergola. For inspiration check out the latest restaurant trends and Pinterest for great ideas.
 
Shape up
Tie your garden in with the rest of your house by adding architecture, such as a pergola, which is ideal as climbing frames for beans, passionfruit and the like which will also provide shelter while eating. 
 
Shed restoration
Use battens to soften an unattractive shed or garage. Or, simply paint it a dark colour to hide it making the structure fade and the greenery pop. Get your dessert right off the tree to your table by espaliering a fruit tree against a wall or trailing strawberries over the perimeters of the bed.

Dining in the terrace
There are many ways you can add an eat-in garden to your deck or courtyard with various dwarf varieties of potted trees; stretch wires to grow climbing vegetables; or place a bed of year-round lettuces and herbs in a sunny spot. Use the back of the raised bed to support bench seating and add an umbrella to provide mid-day shade.
 
Rock that vegetable patch!
Create a relaxing palette by using only a few materials so that your best veggies are shown prominently. many vegetables can be eaten straight from the garden without having to be cooked.
 
At the base of the garden
There is no rule that says the barbeque must sit beside the house. Place it at the back of the garden, so you can have a lovely stroll between the veggie beds as you choose which ones you’d like to eat. If you got an ugly portable barbeque, decorate the area with the right outdoor bench, install a tile splashback and living roof to create an excellent focal point.
 
If there is a tap in your garden, it’s easy enough to install plumbing for a kitchen sink. Visit demolition yards for inexpensive vintage and use old brass taps that can survive the outdoors.
 
Sun screen
Create shade in your yard with architecture if there are no big trees to provide it. Balance the geometry of the raised beds with crisp posts and beams. Adopt different looks with shade materials, such as mesh gardening shed to create a dappled look, solid canvas shade sails for intense colour, or operable louvres that allow you to change the light or for weather protection.
 
If you are after a themed alfresco area like the south-of-France look, choose striped canvass in traditional black and white or blue and white.
 
Vertical garden
If you don’t have enough space for a horizontal garden, create a vertical one. You can grow enough veggies to feed many people and use it as your outdoor space’s focal point or privacy screen. Ready-made pockets that you can fill with excellent potting mix are easily available. Plant densely to avoid ugly gaps and drying out fast.
 
Plants in mass groups are eye-catching. For example, combine coloured lettuces and herbs, and mixed in swatches of vivid-coloured flowers like marigolds to ward off pests, blue followers to welcome bees.
 

Living Space
Your veggie garden is not just for outdoor dining, it can also be turned into a living space during spring. Deckchairs or basket chairs can be brought out so you can lounge on it after eating. When the dining table is not being used, dress it up with rows of classic plant pots, glass hurricane lanterns for candles, or pots of herbs that you can readily use for salads.
 
Side of the house
The side of your house can be much more than a dumping ground for trash bins or gardening tools. Even if there is little light, a small raised bed by the back door or side window can be planted with fruit or veggies that flourish under the warm sun. Compliment it with hard paving and resilient ground-cover herbs, plus a folding table and chairs where you can sip your morning coffee.

For more ideas and inspiration go to my Veggie Patch Pinterest Board.  Not only will you get to enjoy the the product of your hard work, both visually and by eating it, but creating your garden will also add value to your home!

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