Just because the summer holidays are over and school uniforms are back in the ironing pile, it doesn’t mean the end of those relaxing sunny moments or al fresco gatherings. Make the most of the golden light of late summer and the fresh, color-rich days of early autumn with these simple ideas.
1. Find the sunniest corner. As the shadows lengthen, relocate your lounger to the sunniest corner of your garden or deck. Note the optimum time of day for catching a few rays and, if possible, plan your hours accordingly. Also remember that retailers often reduce the price of garden furniture at this time of year, so it could be a great time to invest in a set of loungers or a modular outdoor sofa.
2. Let the light in. The sunlight is a little thinner than it was, so make sure to maximize its impact. White voile curtains provide privacy while allowing beautiful diffused light to filter through. They’re also thin enough to draw back almost entirely, so when they’re open, they can practically disappear. Throw open a window and let them billow for a summer breeze that would put the Isley Brothers to shame.
3. Plan your plantings. A bit of strategic sowing will ensure your garden gets a blast of color even as autumn arrives. There are plenty of late-blooming flowers, such as these vibrant Heleniums, that will help you see out the season in a blaze of glory.
4. Be prepared to dine outdoors. The first rule of late summer sun is: Grab it while you can. So be ready to move your meal outside at a moment’s notice. Have a weatherproof table, such as this zinc-topped farmhouse design, and comfortable chairs set up in anticipation and eat out whenever the weather allows.
5. Introduce year-round blooms. Nothing says summer like abundant blooms. But if your flowers have seen better days, re-create the impact of vibrant plant life indoors with some stunning floral fabric. Curtains are a good choice, allowing a large expanse of color, or try cushions or a rug.
6. Re-create that vacation mood. Transport yourself back to carefree afternoons at the coast with a dose of coastal chic. Sun-bleached wood, broad stripes, a touch of tongue and groove and, most important, a deck chair will keep any ideas of autumn well and truly at bay. Just add a summer blockbuster to complete the mood.
7. Enjoy the evenings. There’s no need to give up on those magical al fresco evenings just yet. A freestanding fire pit is a wonderfully flexible addition to the garden. Adding light, warmth and a bewitching focal point on cooler evenings, it can be retired to the shed once summer returns.
8. Decorate with mellow yellow. Lift your interior with a hit of the sunshine hue. Accessorize with colorful cushions, a bright rug or grouped ceramics to boost the mood in an instant. If bright yellow is a bit too much, go for a palette of pales, from lemon to muted green.
9. Take advantage of expansive windows. If there are any corners in your home with plenty of windows, consider creating a permanent relaxation spot. That might mean a table and two chairs for enjoying tea for two, or it could be an armchair for morning coffee and gazing at the treetops. Whatever your view, being able to see the sky is a massive mood booster, and all that glass will translate any sunshine into a gorgeously warm glow.