Outdoor Lifestyle

outdoor entertaining

For most of us, one of the joys of a Mediterranean summer holiday is that you can live outdoors all day long. They know how to create comfortable outdoor spaces, for relaxing, for cooking, for having fun, so there is hardly a need to step indoors at all.  With the British climate being rapidly turned on its head, we should be learning from our neighbours how this stylish outdoor lifestyle is done.  Here are our top tips on getting that Mediterranean villa feeling back here at home.

Setting the scene

As the garden design experts, Hambrooks could write essays on creating beautiful gardens. Suffice to say here, think about the immediate surroundings of your seating area and what atmosphere you want to create.  Can you top up with some lush leaved annuals to create a tropical feel?  Do you need to think about something bigger as a privacy and noise screen?  If you’re night owls, what about some flowering plants that will provide a beautiful evening scent?  If you have a dark or shady corner, would a carefully placed outdoor mirror or two brighten it up? And don’t underestimate the power of a statement pot or a tinkling ornament to draw the eye or catch the ear for creating that mood you’re after.

Really comfy seating

Remember those white plastic garden chairs that everyone used to have?  Yes, they are still handy in an emergency, but (luckily) outdoor furniture has moved on so much since then.  Start by thinking about what you are going to be sitting outside doing: eating at a table or relaxing to read a book, for example?  Some modern garden furniture looks absolutely beautiful but is the wrong height for eating at and devilishly uncomfortable if you want to put your feet up to read a book.  Think about your outdoor seating like it was your new sofa or your new office chair: sit on as many as you can before you make decisions just based on how elegant they look.  (We have a range of garden chairs in stock at Titchfield and are quite happy if you want to try sitting on them all!)

lighted garden
Shade for when it gets hot

Noël Coward once wrote that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.  With hotter temperatures and better knowledge of the dangers to our skin, let’s hope those Englishmen take their sunscreen!  For when we do need a break from the sun, think about providing a source of shade in your garden.  Whether that’s a sturdy umbrella with a solid base that you can raise or lower as you wish, or a more permanent structure, like a pergola with climbers trained up it, think about what suits your lifestyle and the size and style of your garden.  Deciduous climbing plants often work well as their leaves help cool the air down in summer and fall off to let all the light through in winter.  Talk to our garden experts if you’d like some advice on which might suit your garden.

Heat, light and atmosphere for when it cools down

If you want to prolong your outdoor day into the evening, you’ll need to think about some sort of lighting and perhaps a heat source – or something that will provide both, like a firepit! 

There are so many types of garden lighting available today, with much of it solar powered too, that we are spoilt for choice.  We would caution against buying the ‘cheap and cheerful’ lights that many of the bigger chains sell; they are largely made of plastics (bad for the environment) and are not made to last, so you’ll likely have to replace them next summer. It is probably a wiser spend to go for something a little more robust which will last you for many summers to come.  A mix of soft uplighters that provide subtle depth around the garden coupled with some table or over-head lights for meals alfresco will provide a good balance in most gardens.


If you’re not content with toasting marshmallows over your firepit for the evening, you might want to think about sources of outdoor entertainment.  We have some stunning water features in stock if you prefer your evenings on the more meditative side, but we also know there are many suppliers around of rocket-powered barbecues, outdoor sound systems and even outdoor TVs if you prefer to ‘go large’!

Whatever you do in your garden this summer, we hope you enjoy it.




N. Haggard 20 September 2022

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how delighted I am with my new garden.

Jon, my designer, listened to my ideas and delivered on everything I asked for. I wanted something different to any garden I’d had before, no lawn, no landscaping but packed with plants. He designed such a lovely secret garden, around a statement tree. And I have to commend him for his unwavering patience! I changed my mind a hundred times but never did he give me the impression that he was losing patience with my endless indecision. And my confidence in him led me to place an order for over £10k.

My landscaping team, Blade and Tony, were exceptional, from their work ethic, skill and knowledge, to the way they dealt with me, the customer. My standards are very high and I couldn’t fault them.

All in all, a very professional team of people. And it showed that they all care. I’m over the moon with the finished result. I will send you a before and after photo. Thank you so much.

A delighted customer.

G. Gray. May 2022

My front garden has been transformed by Andy and Bradley who both worked incredibly hard and I am delighted with the result. Andy had the vision and skill to turn my idea into reality and I can't thank him enough.

C. Haig Sept 2021

We recently had our garden landscaped by Hambrooks and I just wanted to pass on my thanks, not just for the outcome - which is superb - but for the professionalism of all the staff involved on the job who are all a credit to you company. Mike, Dave, Les and Adam.

H. Sharp Sept 2021

I just wanted to let you know how delighted I am with my new garden. Melanie was a delight to work with and the ideas she had have worked perfectly. Also Sheldon laid the patio beautifully and him and Dave were a pleaseure to have at my house. Quiet workers and polite.

B. Rendell April 2021

I would like to say how delighted we are with the work carried out. Mel, Paul and Tony all worked very hard, they totally took on board the specific need relating to safety as well as the general garden issues. Paul and Tony were excellent at consulting and discussing with me what I felt best in terms of the brief and adjusting if and as necessary, constantly pleasant and polite to deal with. Mel had picked up on particular issues from the first consultation and offered valuable advice. The outcome means a great deal less worry for me going forward.
Altogether a very positive experience and outcome which I would not hesitate to recommend to others.

Stephen March 2021

Dom and Adam's work (garden maintenance) is greatly appreciated. Dom really listened to everything we discussed very carefully and went out of his way to understand and then act upon that discussion. We are extremely pleased with the work done - both to the pond and pyracantha.


We have been coming to Hambrooks for years and it's our favourite garden centre because of its friendly helpful staff and a great selection of plants and trees and the garden design ideas.

“We wanted to write and say how pleased we are with our low maintenance garden makeover. We are very impressed with the attitude of your staff who were prepared to listen to our requirements. Your team John and Rick brushed up and left everything tidy at the end of the day. We now have a garden we can manage and it looks great. THANK YOU HAMBROOKS.”

Mr & Mrs Venables, Southampton. April 2019

“Dear Josh & Mike We just want to say you both did a brilliant job of designing our garden along with the guys who did the work who were amazing. A few weeks on its looks even better now some of the plants are blooming. Thank you!!”

Mr & Mrs Gazzard, Winchester July 2019

“To James, John & Rikki. Thank you so much, we are delighted with our new garden. We really appreciate the attention to detail, the high quality workmanship and the standard of the finished project. We are amazed at how John & Rikki resolved the difficulties of the site and by the quality of their craftmanship. It was a pleasure to work with them and thank you for making our ideas into something we will enjoy for years to come.”