I'm a garden designer – the things making your patio look tacky & the feature that'll drive your neighbours mad | The Sun

NOW that summer's well and truly here you might want to spend more time in your garden.

But if your outdoor space is a but less than an oasis, the answer might lie in your patio.

Design pro Nick Lewis often shares clever tricks to spruce up both the inside and outside of your home on his YouTube channel.

When it comes to creating a patio that the whole family can enjoy there are a few things to keep in mind, he told Fabulous.

Choose patio furniture wisely

Steer clear of glass tables, they're not going to do anything for your patio area other than make it look basic.

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Nick said: "I can't stand glass tables in interiors because I think they are annoying to clean, show fingerprints and always look cheap.

"When you factor in dust and dirt from outdoors – they are truly a nightmare!"

"Also, stay away from fire tables or fire pits with bright coloured glass beads.

"Nothing makes a patio look cheaper! Use heat-resistant rocks instead, but if you must, clear glass beads with no LED lights."

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Avoid tacky accessories

There's a fine line between fun and quirky garden accessories and ones that just look tacky.

Re-think the kind of statues that you place on your patio, colourful gnomes might seem like a good idea, but they're a bit other the top and frankly, a bit creepy.

Nick explained: "I mean look, if you love them then go for it but they can look a little tacky. 

"I think if you really want to add some personalities with little statues, and you want something more modern, go for ones that are painted a single colour. 

"It adds some fun, can be combined with your colour palette easily and won't be as garish as a kitschy as your more traditional gnomes."

Don't annoy your neighbours

"If you live close to your neighbours, I would avoid anything that makes repetitive noises like windchimes, water features or anything that plays music," Nick explained.

"The problem with water features is that the pump can be noisy and the repetition can be grating after a while."

There is a way to include fun features into your garden though, "If you have some features that twinkle in the rain a little bit, those can be fine to create more of a Japanese inspired zen space, Nick added.

"However, as in all things in design, don't overdo it."

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Patio plants

A lot of people opt for a large patio so they can avoid getting their fingers dirty with other garden chores.

But that doesn't mean you should forgetting about adding plants to your patio, a few pots of flower can make a massive difference.

And there's no excuse to use fake plants, the patio pro said: "I think fake plants have a place where access to natural light isn't possible, like a bathroom.

"On a patio, that shouldn't be an issue if you buy the right plants for the amount of shade you have.

"Plastic plants on a patio tells your guests that you're lazy! If I can water them, you can too!"

Spruce your patio up quickly

Now that summer is well on the way you might not have as much time as you'd like to plan out your patio.

But fear not, if you've got a big BBQ coming up there are a few things you can do to give your patio a new lease of life just in time.

Nick said: "Take a look at what you have and make sure it's the right size for the space you have so that people can comfortably move around your patio and the pieces you have are in a style that you love.

"From there work on the basics – seating, a rug if you want to have one, and tables for drinks. 

"Then you can bring in lighting, pillows and plants which act as your accessories.

And while there are a lot of similarities in designing a patio, there's some differences to keep in mind too.

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"Patios are more casual and rustic than you would expect in an interior space so consider pieces in brighter and livelier colours and with playful patterns. 

"Hopefully you'll enjoy some sunshine out there, so have fun playing with bright coral, sky blue and yellow which are three colours that are super hot right now for outdoor and really pop on a patio."

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