Tara Dennis's Outdoor Garden Plans
Known more for her interior renovations, TV presenter Tara Dennis talks about her love of the outdoors and her sprawling back garden.
When Tara Dennis heads into her garden, it’s to recharge her batteries.
“Last summer we got a projector and showed movies on the wall of the backyard studio,” she says. “Everyone got blankets and beanbags, we lit loads of candles and it was a really beautiful way to enjoy the garden at night.”
Tara’s rambling back garden has plenty of lawn and lots of cottage charm.
“When I told Jamie (Durie) that I loved gardens with hydrangeas and camellias, he just looked at me as though I was some strange kind of person who liked all these old-fashioned plants,” she says.
“But I think families with children need lawn, beautiful plants and an area to play.”
Tara works from her backyard studio, which looks over her large north-facing garden screened by hedges which her partner has grown from cuttings.
“If I get out of my own four walls, I feel more connected to things,” she says. “I think you have to see green and trees to be able to fully relax – even New Yorkers head to Central Park.”
With an eye on the essentials for garden living, Tara suggests a sturdy outdoor dining setting is the most important purchase to maximise use of the garden.
“I hate those flimsy pieces of furniture that need to be put away after each use. Invest in something good and you’ll never regret it,” she says.
Tara realises that not everyone has the luxury of a backyard to escape to, especially people who live in apartments.
“I think it can be hard if you don’t even have a balcony to escape to, which is why it’s so important to have good portable outdoor equipment,” she says.
Tara suggests apartment dwellers invest in a good picnic rug and a picnic basket to enable easy weekend escapes to parks and beaches.
“Everyone needs a fix of the outdoors and if you can at least get to the local park with some easy picnic food, then you can see some trees and touch the grass,” she says. “Essentials like a thermos for tea and coffee may seem a little old-fashioned but certainly are great when a café is not within walking distance.”
Tara has penned a new book, Home: Classic Essentials for Easy Living, which is a guide to the practicalities of setting up a house.
“I didn’t want to ignore the outdoors because I think it is so important for wellbeing. There is a whole chapter on what you need to make the most of the outdoors,” she says.
Good to have
PORTABLE OUTDOOR CHECKLIST
Good to have
BUYING OUTDOOR FURNITURE
The designs and materials you choose should reflect the style of your home and sit well within the surroundings. They should also be durable and easy to maintain.
TIMBER furniture can be heavy, making larger chairs , tables and benches difficult to move around. Cedar, teak and mahogany are all highly durable out int eh elements but need good care and regular maintenance to preserve them.
ALUMINIUM furniture is affordable and long lasting and is often sold in sets. The aluminium is often stylishly combined with glass and cushioning. Light and easy to carry as well as strong.
PLASTIC furniture is affordable and resistant to moisture but will fade and become brittle with age, especially when fully exposed to the elements. Stack and store or cover when not in use.
CANE furniture includes wicker, rattan and bamboo all of which are lightweight and good looking. Natural cane is not very durable when exposed to the elements, so you may find that plastic coated or synthetic cane ends up being a better option.
STONE tables and benches can be expensive and incredibly heavy, but they do look amazing when positioned in a lush garden setting. Stone ages gently and often attracts mosses and lichens, giving it a beautiful rustic appeal.