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Optimise your holiday home’s outdoor living space_title

The outdoors is somewhere we’ve all wanted to spend more time recently and with the promise of warmer months on the way, it’s worth considering the best ways to optimise your holiday home’s outdoor living space.

A garden or outdoor space is a key component to securing bookings, not only for those travelling with pets, but for families and couples too. In fact, according to the Sykes Staycation index, a garden is one of the most sought-after property features, so it’s worth giving outside spaces the consideration they deserve.

Whether you have a bijou balcony, cosy courtyard or vast rolling grounds, with some creative planning and a few tips from our holiday letting experts, you can add character, value and booking appeal to your holiday cottage.

Optimise your holiday home’s outdoor living space


Use the quick links below to read about a particular topic or continue reading for details on optimising your holiday home’s outdoor living space:


5 low maintenance gardening tips and outdoor living hacks

Having a low maintenance outdoor space that’s both practical and functional will mean that both you and your guests will be able to make full use of your holiday home, whatever the season. Think of your garden, balcony or patio like an extension of your home, rather than a completely separate space.

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  • Consider using artificial grass in your garden: Without the same need for regular mowing and upkeep, having artificial grass means it will continue to look great way no matter the time of year. It’s particularly worth considering having artificial grass if your holiday home is host to bigger parties, if guests have young families or you accept pets. Fake turf can withstand heavy foot traffic and is also safe for small feet and paws, giving your guests the peace of mind to be able to use the outdoor space as much as they like, with it remaining pristine.
  • Choose a low maintenance patio or decking: Choosing a patio or decking that is versatile and equally low maintenance will improve the functionality and use of your outdoor space. Using materials like composite decking, which is a lower maintenance material than wood, or opting for a natural stone patio, which is not only easy to clean but also relatively slip resistant, is guaranteed to provide the pleasure of outdoor living without the hassle.
  • Use easy to maintain plants: No matter if you’ve got a vast garden or small patio, sprucing outdoor areas with low maintenance plants can go a long way to creating a relaxing outdoor space. Perennial flowers, herbs and bushes bloom every year and don’t require constant upkeep, such as English lavender, which not only stands winter temperatures but also adds a fantastic, relaxing aroma. If your property is exposed, why not speak to local garden centres to find out what plants can help you achieve privacy?
  • Weatherproof exterior paint: Ensure your holiday home’s exterior stays pristine and ready to welcome guests throughout the year by using suitable paint and exterior decorating material. Prevent the wind beaten look, erosion, damp and dust by using the best exterior wood, metal and masonry paint.
  • Convenient, tidy storage for outdoor furniture: Keep your garden looking neat and tidy by using functional outdoor furniture storage. Choose weatherproof garden storage boxes, sheds and benches, where you can store furniture, cushions, wellies and any other outdoor pieces to prevent them from being damaged in winter storms.

Consider a covered outdoor living space to enhance usability

Having a covered outdoor living space that can be used whatever the weather is a desirable feature in any home, and if done well, it will be like adding another room to your holiday cottage. Investing in a beautiful, covered area is a great way to create a seamless transition between life al fresco and the cosy indoors.

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  • If you want to create a space for entertaining, a strategically placed pergola with a canopy is a popular choice and creates the perfect outdoor area for all-weather socialising.
  • Awnings are a good option and can be as simple or as extravagant as you wish. Simple to install and offering protection from the elements, they’re a good option if you want something less permanent.
  • Adding a summer house is a great way to extend a living space outdoors – a practical use of a spot in the garden that can be used as a summer snug, outdoor cinema room or just as a place to relax and unwind. If you’re tempted to make the most of an unused outside building or annex that isn’t being used, you may need to check the rules and regulations surrounding this, so be sure to read our blog on holiday let planning permission for more information.
  • A large outdoor umbrella or an extendable sunshade system are affordable, convenient solutions to providing the option of sun and shelter in an outdoor space, without taking up a huge amount of space.

No matter whether you have the grandest of gardens or the smallest of spaces, it’s possible to create a sheltered area that will allow your guests the opportunity to be outdoors for longer.


Style your outdoor living area with the right furnishings

To truly embrace the idea of al fresco living, treat your outdoor living space in the same way as you would interior furnishings. Form an idea of what furniture you need by thinking about what it is you and your guests would want from your outdoor living area. For example, a sturdy outdoor dining set or picnic bench is ideal a family friendly holiday home, or an elegant bistro set could provide the perfect morning coffee spot for a couples retreat.

Optimise your holiday home’s outdoor living space

Dine al fresco: If you are looking for an informal dining experience, then why not have a long, extendable table with chairs? Or consider having various size tables that can be placed in different areas. Having this option will give your space versatility, allowing you to take one table and pair it with another in order make the table as big or as small as you would like, perfect for larger gatherings. Alternatively, rattan sofa and table sets can provide a sociable space for dining, but also be used as a more relaxing space during the daytime.

A space to entertain: Create a backyard oasis for guests by providing comfortable, sociable seating options as part of your furniture décor – a great way to create an extension from the inside of your home to the outside space. Having a bench or two, or pouffes with plush cushions and throws creates a warming, cosy atmosphere (even on chilly nights) – a fantastic, affordable option that works perfectly for small spaces.

If space and budget allows and you want to offer guests a luxurious hideaway, you may want to consider investing in plush waterproof sofas, or outdoor bean bags for kids. With new trends such as garden cinemas, why not consider providing cinema equipment too – a fun experience for families and couples.

Create a reading nook or lounge space: If it’s a peaceful escape you’re after, then why not consider more relaxed furniture such as a sun lounger, hammock or waterproof bean bag? Maximum comfort means your guests can remain outdoors from sunrise to sunset – perfect for star gazing from too!


A guide to outdoor dining

In true British style, whether it’s sunny or stormy, there are few things as reminiscent of staycations than cooking and dining outdoors. Whether it is having breakfast on the patio or grilling your favourite dish on an open fire, al fresco dining is a must.

Consider creating an outdoor cooking and/or dining area that will transform your guests summer holidays. Whether it’s investing in an outdoor kitchen, barbeque or simply adding a trendy beverages cooler, these luxury tweaks (big or small) will create memorable experiences.

Optimise your holiday home’s outdoor living space

If you’re thinking of providing a barbecue, consider that charcoal barbecues may be harder for guests to clean. Having a gas BBQ is easy to use and keep clean, however owners need to factor in the cost of replacing gas bottles. Another alternative is to build a designated space, such as a bricked area, for tenants to use their own disposable barbecues.


Create a welcoming atmosphere with outdoor lighting

There’s nothing more enticing on a warm evening than spending time outdoors after the sun goes down. Twinkling lights are a great way to create an inviting ambience and allow guests to make the most of days on holiday. Not only this, but lighting can also be used as a health and safety feature to illuminate paths and steps at night, whilst accentuating your home’s external features at the same time.

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To find out more holiday home safety tips, read our blog on holiday let rules and regulations.


How to make your holiday home garden more private

Whether it’s a shady spot or somewhere to soak up the sun, an enclosed private space is a sought after feature for any holiday home. There are a number of ways to create a space that feels sheltered, secure and tucked away.

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Using plants and foliage: A ‘green’ way to add privacy in any outdoor area is by planting bushes, grasses, trees and flowers, as well as creating natural shade. Boxwood and privet shrubs are the classic choices for hedges, but flowering greeneries like rhododendron or laurel are also a great choice.

Add a trellis or panel: Adapt any area of your garden and transform it into a hidden retreat by adding a trellis or panel. Fence panels can be interspersed with shrubs, woody ornamentals, and perennials to soften the appearance. Opting for the addition of a latticed trellis adds architectural interest, whilst creating a cosy and private space away from view – ideal for training climbing plants like ivy or clematis.

Install a shade sail: A strategically placed shade sail adds privacy and a breezy, coastal style. Not only will this feature piece shield guests from both sun and rain, a shade sail can also provide an inexpensive private area in a garden.


Invest in a hot tub

Soaking in a warm, bubbling hot tub is undoubtedly one of life’s great pleasures. If your property has the space, consider adding a hot tub, where your guests will be able to indulge in this little slice of luxury on their holiday. The Sykes Staycation Index showed that properties with hot tubs make 54% more revenue on average than other properties in the same region, so it’s worth considering if space and budget allows. Owners will also need to factor in the cost of operating a hot tub, such as running and water costs, and cleaning between each booking.

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How to make your outside space dog-friendly

Booking data shows that pet friendly properties can earn 11% more on average. So, by allowing dogs to stay at your holiday home, you could increase both your year-round occupancy and revenue. If you’re considering welcoming dogs, ensure your outdoor space is safe and secure. You can do this by making sure your property has an enclosed garden or patio and that plants are non-toxic; lavender, rosemary and calendula are low-risk options.

Read our guide on whether to make your holiday home dog-friendly for everything you need to know.


Additional parking spaces for your holiday rental

It’s worth noting that off-road parking is one of the most sought-after holiday home features, so if you’ve got an expansive outdoor space just waiting to be utilised, then you may want to consider creating additional parking areas into your plans.

Having a beautiful and multifunctional outdoor living space is undoubtedly a key feature for guests, especially during these unprecedented times. With just a few changes and a bit of planning, you can transform your outdoor living space into something amazing, which is a great way to boost your property’s booking levels all year round.


If you own a holiday home and you’re thinking of renovating, visit our property owners blog for a whole host of advice for homeowners. With over 20 years’ experience, from advice on electrical safety regulations to holiday let insurance, our team are here to help!

To find out more about holiday letting with Coast & Country Cottages, request your FREE owners guide today or call our team of holiday letting experts.

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