garden sofa and table set garden update for summer

15 easy garden update ideas

May 16, 2023

Outdoor living has become huge over the last few years. Not only because we were stuck at home a lot during the pandemic, but because warmer summers have made alfresco entertaining more palatable in Britain.

So why not try a few easy garden ideas to ‘level-up’ your summer entertaining game? Good Homes highlights some easy ways to give your garden an extra-special makeover this year…

1. Upgrade your garden furniture

A modern sofa set is one of the easiest and most impactful garden update ideas. An L-shaped design is not only more inclusive, but it’s a good way to zone off a dedicated seating area in your garden. A matching coffee table and two built-in side tables at either end are perfect for perching drinks and nibbles on.

Whether it’s a comfy sofa set or a new dining table, treat your garden to some new furniture for a fresh look this summer. The Stockholm dining set (£1,450, Next Home); vinyl tile border indoor/outdoor rug (from £65, Next Home) and festoon lights (£28, Next Home) are ideal for this. However, if you’re looking for more of a bargain corner sofa set, try B&M’s four-piece corner set with storage box and table at £500.

garden sofa and table set garden update for summer

Photo: Next

2. Add a living wall

Living walls are a great idea for urban gardens where there’s not much room for greenery elsewhere, or spaces where plants don’t naturally grow. If you’re not especially green-fingered, there are plenty of faux living walls out there for a stylish maintenance-free alternative.

This faux living wall panel system from Vistafolia (pictured below) offers realistic living walls packed with 72 faux plants per panel (from £288 per panel). For a bargain version, try Dunelm’s artificial eucalyptus and sedum wall panels (£80 for a pack of six), Dowsing & Reynold’s moss wall panels (£36.99 each) or Ikea’s FEJKA artificial plant panels (£3 each).

Living garden wall with sofa, yellow string seats and garden rug

Photo: Vistafolia

If a living wall is too much for you, you could create a similar effect with a wall planter. These are ideal for making good use of space in a more compact garden, and still look fantastic. This slatted wall planter with shelf (£99.99, Forest) is available now.

wooden slanted wall planters

Photo: Forest

3. Decorate with planters

If a living wall is a little beyond your means or doesn’t fit your space, try grouping a number of colourful planters and outdoor plat pots. This will give a courtyard garden instant Mediterranean vibes, and is also a great way to soften a patio or decking area. In sunnier spots sheltered from the wind, you can grow orange or lemon trees in planters. In shadier spots, try leafy green plants like ferns. The plants and pots below are from a selection at Dobbies.

mediterranean courtyard garden with colourful outdoor planters and plant pots from dobbies

Photo: Dobbies

4. Go for rattan garden furniture

For a natural looking garden, introduce natural materials such as bamboo, jute or rattan garden furniture and surround it with leafy plants. Not only will this make your garden feel cooler, it will give it a real lush, woodland retreat feel – perfect to escape the trials of everyday lift with a good book and a cool drink. Below: Mundo sofa, around £848; Mundo grey concrete coffee table, around £219; Acean seagrass rug, around £98, all from Bloomingville.

use rattan garden furniture in a leafy space for a tropical garden feeluse rattan garden furniture in a leafy space for a tropical garden feel

Photo: Bloomingville

5. Screen it off

We all have those parts of the garden that are more functional than stylish – the bin shed, the jumbled collection of bicycles – but you can screen them off. Opt for a stylish metal screen with a built-in planter over the usual timber trellis for a modern and long-lasting way is a great way to hide something unsightly, create a little privacy from neighbours or even to zone a garden if you have a larger space.

Screens with Envy offers a wide selection of large garden privacy screens and trellises in a variety of colour and pattern options. They’re made from advanced wood composite material, so they don’t warp, age or mould. Below you can see them used in Good Homes editor Karen Walker’s garden to help zone the space.

A message from the editor:

Let us help you create the home of your dreams! Get ideas & inspiration from Good Homes every month, delivered direct to your door. Visit to sign up for the weekly Good Homes newsletter. Meet the Good Homes team at Ideal Home Show and be inspired by our on-trend roomsets.

~ Karen Walker, Editor, Good Homes

garden screens creating zones in a modern garden with corner sofa, pergola and patterned tiles

Screen with Envy garden screens create zones in Good Homes editor Karen Walker’s garden. Photo: Lizzie Orme

6. Add a firepit

Make the most of the long summer nights with a firepit that will keep everyone toasty as the sun sets. This one should be top of the garden ideas list for Love Island fans! Top tip: add a bunch of herbs to the fire such as lavender, mint and sage that’ll not only smell nice, but will keep pesky mosquitos at bay too. Pictured below is the Pittsburg small firepit, £139.99 from Dobbies Garden Centres.

Outdoor open firepit on balcony with wooden chair nearby

Photo: Dobbies

7. Add a hammock

On a scorching hot day when there’s nothing for it but to take it easy, get yourself a garden hammock and hang it in a shady spot. You can either suspend it from two trees, utilise a hook in a wall or attach it to a garden pergola. Alternatively, you can pick up a hammock stand for around £50-£100 from Amazon. Below: Cruz hammock, around £135; Guilian jute cushion, around £59; Sacha just rug, around £155; baskets and planters, from a selection, all from Bloomingville.

garden hammock with terracotta stripes and fringing

Photo: Bloomingville

8. Add layers

For a cosy, inviting look, dress garden sofas like you would indoors with cushions and throws in a mix of textures, colours and patterns. Similarly, style tables with plants and coordinating accessories, adding footstools and rugs underfoot for that outdoor-room vibe. Below: Porto four-seater sofa set, £799; alfresco goose-eye rug, from £69; Jungle picnic highballs, £12 for four; Jungle picnic pasta bowl and dinners plates, £15 for four; elephant-print outdoor cushion, £25 for two; straw outdoor cushion; £19.50; woven monochrome throw, £29.50; metal lantern, £25; outdoor pouffes £99 each, all from Marks and Spencer.

garden ideas from Marks and Spencer: decorate you outdoor space as you would indoors with cushions, throws and rugs

Photo: Marks & Spencer

9. Summer tablescaping

Make a colourful tablescape using bright colours and fun prints. Finish with a floral centrepiece or a simple glass jug filled with fresh flowers and foliage from the garden. Below: scallop-edge square napkins, £12 for four; multi squiggle stripe cotton runner, £14; Coastal retreat tapas plates, £10 for four; Coastal retreat wave bowl, £7; wood serving bowl, £12; multi stripe bowls, £4 each; scalloped cereal bowls, £5 each; Shell serving plate in blue, £7; Shell serving bowl in coral, £8; Anyday colour-pop green glass tumbler, £5 each and highball glass, £6 each, all John Lewis & Partners.

summer tablescaping with colourful bowls and fun prints from john lewis

Photo: John Lewis & Partners

10. Garden lighting

If you want to enjoy your outdoor living room long into the night, then you’ll need some suitable lighting for both practicality and ambience. Add colourful boho vibes to your garden by hanging outdoor solar lanterns from a tree or pergola. Below: outdoor solar lanterns, £36.95 each from Sparkle Lighting.

outdoor living: solar hanging lanterns in bright colours for alfresco dining

Photo: Sparkle Lighting

11. Create shade

Unfortunately, climate change means that heatwaves are set to become more common, so make sure you have shady spots in your garden for when the temperatures hit the mid-30s or above. Adding a sail (like the one pictured below) or garden parasol – or a simple sheet – will do the trick.

shade canopy over wicker furniture in garden

Photo: Marks and Spencer

12. Outdoor wall panelling

Replicate the timber panelling interior trend outdoors using Red Cedar, larch or Redwood slatted panels as a more solid and contemporary alternative to fencing. This Woburn outdoor concrete dining table (£2,300) with matching bench (from £1,300) is from Rust Collections.

garden panelling with grey and white picnic bench set

Photo: Rust Collections

13. Transform the shed

Turn your tired-looking shed into a feature rather than an eyesore with a bright lick of paint. Add a trellis or garden wire for climbing plants such as rambling roses, sweetpea or even beans to creep up the outside once you’re done, and finish it off with a string of solar-powered bulbs. This stylish shed-cum-summerhouse is painted in Osmo natural oil paint from the Country Colour selection in Labrador Blue, priced around £25 for 0.75L.

Blue and white large outdoor shed in garden,

Photo: Osmo

14. Paint a holiday wall

Holiday walls are the new summer trend for Gen-Z and Millennials. Born out of lockdown, when holidays were tricky and good social media content lacking, many took to creating a ‘holiday wall’ in their garden as a backdrop for better photos. A holiday wall is a space in the garden or on a balcony that is transformed to look like a picturesque holiday spot.

Holiday wall with bright pastel rainbow colours and flowers in Brighton

Hannah Gale’s colourful holiday wall in Brighton. Photo: Hannah Gale

15. Create a mini allotment

Create a mini allotment plot in your garden with a raised planter – it’s the perfect way to get the kids growing their own fruit and veg, or for those with compact gardens to grow-their-own lettuce. Order the stackable small raised bed kit, shown below, for just £16 from B&Q. Stackable and modular, you can expand you garden allotment patch as you get more green fingered. Add a mesh tunnel cover (£28) to help keep pests off your patch.

Outdoor raised planter with net covering for home vegetable growing

Photo: B&Q


A message from the editor:

Let us help you create the home of your dreams! Get ideas & inspiration from Good Homes every month, delivered direct to your door. Visit to sign up for the weekly Good Homes newsletter. Meet the Good Homes team at Ideal Home Show and be inspired by our on-trend roomsets.

~ Karen Walker, Editor, Good Homes