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al fresco

Star buys: 9 under-€30 garden accessories that’ll change how you use your outdoor space

From picnics to playtime, these items will see your garden through the summer months.

IF YOU’RE LUCKY enough to have some green space in or around your house, no doubt you have made plenty of use out of it over the last few months.

With cross-country or international trips off the table, back gardens have had to level up this summer, serving as relaxation zones, playgrounds, sunbathing spots and picnic areas all in one.

At this stage in the summer, you may be beginning to look at your garden or patio with an extra critical eye, noticing what’s lacking or what could be updated. Below you’ll find a selection of hard-working garden accessories: items that have a low price point but that have the power to instantly add to your space.

Keep scrolling for a round-up of nine items to liven up your green area…

1. Garden parasol, €22 from Argos

Untitled design (5) Argos Argos

While I might have previously questioned the necessity of a parasol, the spring sunshine did result in a few sunburns around our household. This cheerful parasol from Argos will make you feel like you’re sitting at a cafe along the seaside.

2. Scandi metal ladder planter, €25 from Argos

Untitled design (1) Argos Argos

Every time I return home from grabbing the weekly shop, I have at least two new plants in the boot of the car. They’re definitely more appealing when you know they won’t die because you’ve left them for too long without water – a definite perk of the recent working from home setup. This double level metal planter will weather the elements outside, and the metal material will make it less likely to blow away.

3. Tall rattan solar lantern, €24.99 from Home Store And More

In the past, I’ve turned up my nose at solar lights because they never seemed quite bright enough. But I have to say, we have a few sets of solar string lights and they offer a surprising amount of light. A few of these tall solar lanterns at the edge of a patio would add lovely ambience.

4. STACKHOLMEN stool, €25 from IKEA

If you have a handful of guests over and you want to enjoy a socially distanced afternoon, these stools would certainly come in handy. They’re built to live outdoors, so are hard-wearing too.

5. White ceramic planter, €29.99 from HomeSense

Untitled design (4) HomeSense HomeSense

You’ll have to queue for a browse through HomeSense in order to bring one of these home to your patio or garden as it’s not available online – but it would give your outdoor area a fresh look. Planters on legs can be unstable in inclement weather, so make sure to put a layer of small rocks in the bottom. This will help with drainage as well.

6. Rainbow picnic tumblers, €17 for a set of four from Marks & Spencer

Untitled design (6) Marks & Spencer Marks & Spencer

Dining outside immediately makes me feel like I’m making the most of summer weather. However, smashing glasses on an outdoor patio is decidedly less enjoyable. These plastic tumblers will hold up if they drop and the rainbow effect is pretty cheerful.

7. Yoga frog garden ornament, €12.99 from HomeSense

Untitled design (2) HomeSense HomeSense

I’ll readily admit that no one really needs a yoga frog garden ornament. But if the coronavirus crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we should be enjoying small moments wherever we can find them. This pudgy little frog will help turn any garden into an oasis of calm, and will even serve as a good reminder to grab a few meditative breaths of fresh air when you can.

8. Gold beaded metal hanging planter, €23.50 from Oliver Bonas

Untitled design (3) Oliver Bonas Oliver Bonas

Hanging planters are another trend that I hope will stick around for a very long time. No matter what type of garden or patio you have, drawing your eye up with hanging blooms or vines will elevate your outdoor space. For planters, always ensure there’s a hole or two at the bottom for good drainage. If there isn’t, keep the plant in its plastic pot inside the planter, and be sure to empty any pooled water out regularly.

9. FUNKON cushion, €5 from IKEA

What an easy and inexpensive way to add a burst of colour to your garden! These cushions are made for indoors and outdoors, which means so long as they’re tied on, you can forget about them when you rush inside to escape a sudden downpour.

‘Raid the house for cushions and throws’: How to get your garden summer-ready in under 24 hours>

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