outdoor living

Style, comfort and duration

Confusion around Brexit has seen Brits renovating their outdoor spaces to provide a luxurious escape in their own back garden, and the category is embracing new trends to fit customer demand.


rom parasols with LED lights to tables with built-in ice buckets, companies like Bramblecrest have been adding ingenious special touches to its furniture to meet demand from customers who want to make the most of their garden. The market is increasingly seeing the garden becoming an extension of the home and Paula Cole, lifestyle consultant at Bramblecrest says this means marrying logistics with the visual aspects of producing outdoor garden furniture: “We recognise that outdoor living is an extension of the way we live indoors. Durable, comfortable outdoor furniture is paramount whether we are reclining by a pool, lounging on a sofa or dining with family and friends. We use the finest materials to produce furniture whose function and aesthetics are regarded in equal measure. It’s our attention to detail that makes us stand out from the crowd – the recessed glass on our tables or our dual height casual dining tables – and keeps Bramblecrest as a brand synonymous with alfresco style.” Customers are not only looking for experiences

in their shopping habits, they also want to create a similar experience in their homes, and the warmer weather sees people using woven materials and loose cushions to create a relaxed holiday atmosphere in their own spaces. Paula gives more insight: “There is a current trend for corner sofas. Customers are now recreating the open plan living and relaxed style in their garden. Darker colours are also becoming increasingly popular. Grey has been a huge trend in the home, our charcoal grey has proven to be very successful.”

GCU July 2019

Paula continues: “We have seen a sharp rise in sales of woven furniture, and with it there is often an abundance of loose cushions. As a result, there’s a growing demand for a cushioning solution that does not require storage, with a fabric that can be left outside throughout the year.” Big open garden spaces may seem a bit of a

luxury to the average Brit, so customers are increasingly looking to make the most of their space and treat it as an extension of their homes. “Although the British weather can be unpredictable, patio heaters and fire pits provide warmth and are very popular,” adds Paula. Homebase outdoor living category buyer,

Katy Higgins says the trend of Brits embracing an ‘outdoor-room’ is “set to continue this year”. She explains: “This is when our customers transform their outdoor space into a multi-functioning living area that can be lived in from spring through to early autumn. Although the British weather is typically inconsistent, last year’s glorious summer has encouraged our customers to consider a year- round living space outdoors for dining, entertaining and relaxing. As such, outdoor kitchen areas – with a food preparation area and a barbecue – have become a growing outdoor trend.”

Homebase director of trading in the gardening sector, Stephen Pitcher adds: “We’ve spotted a continued demand for low maintenance outdoor furniture, as people opt for long lasting yet stylish ranges. As a result, wood is on the decline with rattan and aluminium emerging as market leaders. We will embrace this trend whilst still providing our customers with a varied collection of furniture made from FSC certified wood.” | 11

Customers want garden furniture that is stylish, comfortable and durable, yet with the fast-paced lifestyle most of us are accustomed to these days, it means the majority of us are time poor, and don’t have the time to move outdoor furniture around to accommodate the indecisive weather. “Having to move cushions or cover entire sets each time it starts to rain can be really time-consuming and is simply not practical,” says Paula. “Consumers are now realising that our new ranges of season-proof furniture really do withstand the extremes of our British weather and a significant upturn in sales are testament to this.”

These changes in the garden don’t have to be colossal, in fact Paula says small things can really make a difference: “We have created a range of dining tables which can be instantly converted into coffee tables – just by lowering (or raising) them until they click securely into place, with no need for any awkward fixtures.” Outdoor living is a category which is seeing

more demand as customers integrate it into their busy lifestyles, “one moment you can be enjoying lunch with your family, the next you can put your feet up and just relax,” laughs Paula.

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