Your Questions About Emma Willis’ Garden

5th Jul 2023

Emma Willis' garden with 2 outdoor sofas

It’s not all about planting; furniture is an integral part of garden design which helps blur the boundaries between outside and in, allowing your outdoor space to truly become an extension of your living area. Our cohesive ranges make it easy to mix and match designs from different outdoor furniture collections, blending them together to create a look that completely echoes your personal interior style. We sat down with the multi-award winning garden designer Pollyanna Wilkinson as she talked us through the inspiration behind TV presenter Emma Willis’ garden transformation, the role of furniture in a scheme and her top tips for redesigning your outdoor space…

Tell us Pollyanna, what was the inspiration behind the garden design for Emma?

Emma and Matt were looking to create a really family-friendly space, which would also be great for entertaining. They wanted this to feature a contemporary twist, so we focused on a design which offered plenty of different areas to hang out in, as well as maximising the beautiful views of the countryside beyond.

Why did you select those particular garden furniture pieces to fit in the scheme?

I wanted the furniture in the garden to feel neutral and timeless, so we chose the Colwell Sofa Set for the poolside seating. The neutral tones and acacia wood legs give a natural feel to the space which works well with the oak pergola, and the rope gives a slightly nautical feel, which is perfect for poolside relaxing. It’s an incredibly comfortable set too – and comfort is a non-negotiable!

Shop Colwell Furniture Collection at Garden Trading

Nearer the house we went with the Porthallow Sofa , which again has a natural feel due to its acacia frame and neutral fabric, plus it’s another super comfy sofa. Armchairs from the same collection make it a really inviting space.

Shop the Porthallow Furniture Collection at Garden Trading

What are the main considerations when thinking about furniture placement in the garden?

Comfort is key. If seating is uncomfortable, it won’t get used – or not for long anyway! I also like to make sure we have more than one seating area in a garden to maximise the use of the space and invite people to explore their surroundings, rather than sticking everything right by the house.

Is there such a thing as the perfect sun orientation for lounging or dining furniture?

That depends if you are a shade lover or like to bask in those rays! We try to position some seating in an east facing aspect for morning sun, so you’ll always have a spot for an al fresco breakfast, or morning coffee. The Rive Droite Bistro Set in forest green is perfect for this.

Shop the Rive Droite Bistro Set in Forest Green

When it comes to soaking up afternoon and evening sun, then south or west facing positions are best. South will be sunny all day, whilst west facing will enjoy those late afternoon rays. I like to position a comfy sofa set in a west facing spot - I have the Porthallow Corner Sofa Set positioned in my garden for sundowner cocktails – it’s so comfortable and can accommodate a lot of people.

Are any particular trends appearing in customers’ wish lists when they’re contemplating a new garden design?

Outdoor kitchens are a must on almost all wish lists now, as well as outdoor dining spaces and firepits. I think the pandemic encouraged a lot of people to appreciate their gardens more than ever before; they are now a vital ‘room’ of the house, which can be zoned out for entertaining, play and even work.

Shop firepits at Garden Trading

For those who have missed the boat with a garden redesign that will be ready for this summer, what can we be planning now, for next year’s enjoyment?

Summer is a great time to plan a garden transformation. There are a couple of things worth doing now to prepare:

1) Watch the sun in your garden and see where it falls at different times of day; this will tell you where you might want to locate seating areas.

2) Draw up a planting wish list. Autumn is one of the best times to plant new hedges, trees and shrubs, so putting your plans together now will mean that you are all set and raring to go when the weather cools.

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