The great outdoors

How to elevate your outdoor space

The latest design-led outdoor kitchens and furniture can transform your garden and your social life.

The idea of a garden as another room is well established, but the latest innovations and trends can take your outdoor spaces to the next level. These five insider insights on luxury living al fresco will make your outdoors truly great.

The cutting-edge design and luxe finishes of the outdoor furnishings in Go Modern’s King’s Road showroom mean some people struggle to believe they’re built for the elements.

Premium outdoor furnishing brands such as Manutti use fabrics with the same high-tech credentials as materials used in super yachts. Cushions are made from quick-drying foam with welded seams to prevent water penetration. Strong rust-proof frames are made from powder-coated or anodised aluminium.

“To invest in designs that withstand our often harsh Northern hemisphere climate, it’s worth carefully researching what you are buying. Find out if the fabric fades under strong UV light. If rainwater does get into cushions, how quickly do they dry?  How does water drain away from the structure of a design?” Go Modern director, Tina Mahony advises buyers.

As Mahony suggests, the finest outdoor furniture is defined by high spec materials, but also the design details that make pieces both beautiful and durable. For example, Iroko is a very solid type of hardwood which is extremely resilient to outdoor conditions. The wood is cut and arranged into lengths to create the tabletop, meaning any surface water quickly drains away and won’t just sit on the surface.


The frame can be made from hard-wearing powder-coated aluminium which is deployed in a gently curving shape. These contours are designed to deliver both a stylish silhouette and make it easier to clean off any seasonal debris.

“Outdoor kitchens used to include side burners and wine fridges, but now people want a space that’s a focal point for entertaining, not just somewhere to cook,” says Joni Beal of The Lapa Company, exclusive distributors of premium outdoor kitchen specialist Fire Magic.

This means the latest kitchens include everything required to prepare, finish and eat food in stylish and practical environments. Appliances, sinks, cutlery and warming drawers, as well as seating areas, in particular, bar stools that allow the host to cook while being at the heart of the action are all now must-haves.

In terms of the latest outdoor kitchen looks, the current themes are about more about clean lines, using materials like stainless steel. They’re less about creating cooking preparation zones with a rustic look: “People are less interested in creating a country kitchen feel. Today, it’s much more about design-led looks that provide a real centrepiece to an outdoor area,” says Joni Beal.

You don’t always need a large outside space to create a garden kitchen with impact. For example, a free-standing island kitchen with an integrated sliding table.

To heat modern outdoor spaces, go beyond patio heaters and fire pits. Opting for a state-of-the-art outdoor fireplace, such as Samuele Mazza’s Canopo Bioethanol Fireplace moves away from the bucolic feel some means of heating outdoor spaces can create.

Functional feature pieces such as this can update an outdoor room instantly, with the added advantage of not producing ash or other residues which makes maintenance straightforward.