Heather Nette King is a Melbourne‑based interiors stylist and writer for many leading interior titles and newspapers. She has been the Melbourne Homes Editor of Sunday Life magazine for over a decade, and her work has appeared in many Australian and international magazines, including Inside Out Magazine, Country Style, Australian House & Garden, Real Living Australia Magazine, Home Beautiful Magazine, Vogue Living, ELLE China, The Design Files and The Interiors Addict.
Be it the balcony of an inner-city apartment, your dream backyard in the suburbs, a seaside weekender or rural acreage, there has never been a better time to make your summer outdoor spaces the best they can be. Whether it’s via the big gesture of new piece of furniture, or smaller tokens like new napkins or a scented candle, there’s a way create outdoor magic that will appeal to every one of your senses so that you — or your lucky guests — will never want to leave.
From sparking light tricks that will delight your eyes, fabulous aromas from the kitchen as well as the garden, the indulgent comfort of soft furnishings and the sound of summer tunes, prepare yourself to be transported into the best version of summer, right here in your home.
There’s a way create outdoor magic that will appeal to every one of your senses so that you — or your lucky guests — will never want to leave.
Scent is an incredibly powerful tool for creating a fabulous summer mood at home. It can trigger such wonderful happy memories — for me, nothing transports me to summer more than the smells of freshly mowed grass, Aerogard mozzie spray and Reef Oil suntan lotion. Scent can be used to relax, invigorate and even create a party mood at home — try these ideas to indulge your olfactory senses this summer:
Heavily scented summer florals like jasmine, gardenia, honeysuckle and lavender can all be grown in pots so you can move them around your outdoor spaces to capture their scent night and day. Place them on your balcony or veranda when you’re relaxing at afternoon tea, under your kitchen window as you prepare a family feast, or beside your outdoor dining table for a heady aroma as the sun goes down.
From florals to botanical herbs to the smell of the seaside, scented candles provide not just incredible aromas, but their dancing flames will add to sense of occasion. Place them in small tea light candle holders, amassed in groups on platters or even in hurricane lanterns.
From florals to botanical herbs to the smell of the seaside, scented candles provide not just incredible aromas, but their dancing flames will add to sense of occasion.
Those gently curling tendrils of smoke that wind upwards and fill the air with woodsy fragrance are no longer just for ageing hippies or yoga classes. As a whole new generation discovers the wonderful ritual of burning incense, the new scents available are sophisticated and refined mood enhancers. Pop the sticks into your garden pots (away from pets or danger, of course) to set the scene for a decadent dinner party, and maybe send a few sticks home with your guests so they can continue to relive the magic of the night.
An outdoor open fire can be utterly mesmerising and they’re perfect for congregating around after a fabulous meal. A brazier is such a clean, portable and fuss-free take on the classic campfire, so don’t forget the marshmallows and chestnuts.
Music has never been more readily available, or portable, with amazing quality sound now coming from the tiniest of speakers. Here’s a checklist for getting the most of music this summer:
Hide the speakers in the bushes for out-of-sight ambient sound.
Controlling the light in your outdoor spaces may sound like a very big task, but to me there is no better mood creator or enhancer than light. Here’s a few instant ambience hacks to try:
As much as summer styling should appeal to the eyes, ears and nose, possibly the most important sense to appeal to is touch, particularly in terms of all-over comfort. Outdoor furniture is, by nature, less upholstered than indoor pieces are, so don’t forget seat pads, nice plump cushions and outdoor rugs.
Even table linens are important to the comfort factor as cloths and napkins make sitting down to a meal more comfortable. And for the comfort of guests, don’t forget to have some throws on hand for when the night air starts to become cooler.
So, whether its spending downtime by yourself, an intimate gathering or an all-out big special celebration, take the time to indulge all of your senses, and make the most of summer 2021 — you’ve earned it!
— Heather Nette King
Installing an outdoor lighting really creates extra effect and mood to an outdoor space. Thanks for these wonderful trends!