Double Duty

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With an overstretched housing market and a less than supportive economic climate many people are unable to move house and are instead turning their minds to how to make their existing property better suit their needs.

Often the biggest problem that people face is a lack of space. Once every cupboard has been cleverly utilised, space saving storage furniture acquired and clutter got rid of, you may be running out of options. That is until you consider your outside space. Whether you have a huge garden or a small back yard, making the outside of your home an extension of the inside can make a real difference to your quality of life.

A conservatory may be out of the question for some, but this does not mean that you can’t enjoy your outside space even if the weather is wet. A robust gazebo and safe garden heater can help to create a comfortable space in which to relax and get a few breaths of fresh air or perhaps even dine alfresco providing the wind isn’t buffeting you with sideways rain!

Add a garden bench and a coffee table and you have seating that can withstand the elements and offer you the comfort of a sofa if you go with the added extra seat pads and cushions.

There really is no getting away from the weather. We can hope for sunny skies and balmy nights and many of us buy special equipment to make the most of them when they arrive, but all too often it stays sitting in the shed or cluttering up the home. Call me pessimistic but I am much more of a fan now of double duty equipment that stays useful no matter what Mother Nature decides to throw at us!

Items like a garden bench with weather proof cushions and gazebos (useful for shade on a hot day as well as providing rain cover during a gloomy day) get my vote every time. Best of all, this is a great time of year for picking up bargains, there aren’t many people looking to kit out their garden in January!

I’ve learned this the hard way. A quick glance inside my shed tells a story of hopeful optimism. There are a fleet of sledges for the snow, garden chairs and umbrellas that have to be stored away in the winter (sigh), a pair of sun loungers now delicately nibbled by mice and a trampoline acquired in a bid to have some fun whilst getting fit.

The sheer effort required in moving this stuff in an out of the shed puts me off using any of it and I find myself sun bathing on my yoga mat with a cushion or two if the weather is nice, or if snow appears, taking turns to zoom down hills with a friend and her family, sharing a sledge and happily guzzling a flask of hot chocolate while I am waiting for my turn!

So this year is about keeping things simple and making life easier and cheaper into the bargain. Why waste money equipment ‘in case of X’ you are almost always going to be hit by Y and Z instead. So with that in mind, get creative and start viewing the whole footprint of your property as your home and make use of it whatever the weather!

Nicola Wilson is a keen blogger and mother from the UK, currently working for gardenbenches.com. She has an interest in Home decor and the property market.

Sarah Pinkerton

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