Come rain or shine, the garden is a special part of the British home.

When it’s cold and miserable outside, we sit by the window and enjoy seeing our plants and flowers lapping up the rain water. When it is hot and sunny, we love to sit on our decking with friends enjoying a barbecue or glass of wine. Even when we are not in the garden, it’s appearance is important to the view through our windows.

This view is our own private creation. It may only be small, but it is our outlook and reflects our personality and tastes. Some people install beautiful water features. Others pack their garden with every colour in blooms. Lawns and decks and patios and gazebos all make up the structure and layout of this extra room for our home. We live in it, and we stare longingly at it all year round, through four distinct seasons. Tending and nurturing our gardens is one of our favourite pastimes and rather a good way for us all to stay in shape.

To enjoy the fruit of our labours even more, you may want to invest in a bigger window. To be able to see the results of all your hard work, you could install bi fold doors in your living room. This effectively makes the wall onto the garden almost completely glass. The mechanism to fold the doors back, completely out of the way, really does bring the garden inside, and you out into it.

This folding door concept is nothing new. For the last couple of decades, people have wanted to maximise their garden space all year round. They have wanted to bring the garden inside and the living space outside simultaneously. Bi-fold doors can help achieve this. With so much glass comes lots of light and the maximum view of your beautiful garden. With the doors open, you can step straight from your sofa into your garden, to enjoy a glass of wine on the deck with the whole family.

Using decking, you can create a platform and outside entertaining space that you can step straight onto, as if it were an extension of your indoors living area. Many people tier or terrace their decking to lead you down into the lawn and planting areas of the garden. As decking can be slippery in our wet climate, it is best to step down, but there are adaptations for slopes to improve their safety.

The summer days in the UK are very long, meaning outdoor lighting is not really required during entertaining hours. However, as the nights draw in again, you could take advantage of outdoor heaters and mood lighting to enhance your outside space. This lighting looks great from the patio or from the living room, and can bring a new dynamic to your garden. In addition to providing extra security and safety, you can light planting and water features to help bring your garden to life all year round.

With bi-fold doors, you can see almost every part of your garden from the comfort of your sofa. They also allow easy access to it. Combined with decking, they make it easy to step from the inside living space to your outside living space. This convenience is great for families with small children. It is possible to for kids to extend their playing area out into the garden. Alternatively, you can gate your decking area to provide a very secure extension to the living room.

Many families are choosing to add gating to the deck area to allow their toddlers to play out in the fresh air and natural light. It helps avoid the dangers of the rest of the garden and allows them play on their ride along toys safely. The convenience of being able to step in and out without a step is also useful. By building your decking up to interior floor height and using a bi-fold door, this part of the deck becomes part of the main living area in your home.

Decking does require some maintenance. Primarily, a power washer can be used to wash away slippery residues from leaves, pollen, and sap. A clean deck helps to ensure good run-off from rainwater to avoid rot and slippery surfaces. The wood for your decking will weather over time, taking the vibrancy out of the colour and helping it blend in with the natural surroundings easily. Any pots stored on the deck should frequently be moved to ensure equal exposure to sun and rain. You may end up with ‘pot stains’ if you leave a pot in one place for too long.

If you have a patio area, using bi-fold doors to access this area can also be very convenient. Patios also need regular power washing to keep them looking fresh and clean. Patio slabs also tend to get slippery from plant matter and the weather, so be sure to keep it swept and hosed down. Many people like to place a gazebo or other form of shade on their patio, particularly if it is South facing. Patio slabs can be quite reflective of bright sunlight, making it uncomfortable for the eyes to look at in the summer.

Planting can be built up to make a softer frame for your view when you have bi-fold doors. As you can see so much, you may want to draw the eye into the garden, by shaping the planting to the sides of your new view. Bamboo and other plants that have green leaves all year can be used to ‘green up’ the edges and draw the eye to the distant part of your garden. Having colour and foliage in your garden all year can be a challenge in the UK, so ask your local garden centre for some ideas. Sometimes the eye likes to follow a path, so think about the shape or line of your pathing to the end of the garden. Once you have created your view, you can sit back and enjoy it.

Main image by SITS Girls @ Flickr