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4 Types Of Outdoor Living Spaces You Can Enjoy This Summer

Outdoor living is amazing. Honestly, we couldn’t recommend it enough. And no, we aren’t talking about physically living outdoors with nothing but a tent to your name!

We mean turning the outdoor areas of your home into much more than a place to let grass grow or plant wildflowers. After all, when the weather is warm, you want to spend as much time in it as possible (especially if you’re in England, and warmth is rare). So to help you make the most of it, we have 4 kinds of outdoor living space you can create and enjoy this summer, and all year round.

Outdoor Kitchen

If you take every possible opportunity to get the grill going and have a barbeque (even if that means breaking out the umbrella as well), then you may want to look into building an outdoor kitchen. Whether that’s a full kitchen with decking, a simple sunroom or a canopy with an outdoor oven and bar – an outdoor kitchen can be a fantastic space. Perfect for anyone who wants to create a warm space for entertaining, and can be used well into the autumn with the simple addition of space heaters and fire pits. An outdoor kitchen can create a lot of interest and add value to your home, especially if it’s surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Lounge Areas

If cooking isn’t your thing, but you still want to enjoy the sunshine, then an outdoor lounge area may be more appealing. This really is as simple as it sounds – bring the comfort of your living room into the garden. You can do this in a basic way – get some outdoor sofas and a fire pit and arrange them around the pool – or you can go all in and custom-build a lounge area into your garden or decking. We’ve also seen some fantastic setups that include a full TV, integrated audio and mood lights, truly bringing the indoors out. These are typically more popular in country’s with higher base temperatures than the UK, but they can be a very modern and cosmopolitan addition to your garden if done properly. Great for relaxing and drinking in the sun.

Patio And Deck

If you’re a party person, then investing in a good patio or deck space is a great way to go. These don’t just have to be plain sheets of stone or wood – after all that doesn’t make much of a ‘space’, does it? Instead, think of integrating seating areas, bars, or even dance floors if you’re feeling creative. Patios and decks are a great way to make the most of your outdoor space, create new scenery for your entertaining and bring the comfort of the indoors into the beauty and freedom of the outdoors.

Twilight Gardens

For the more romantic hearts out there, you can use your outdoor space to create your ideal outdoor environment. Whether that’s a snuggly spot for a glass of wine, a secret garden full of wildflowers and places to relax, eat and drink, or a secluded garden clearing surrounded by twinkling lights. Your outdoor living space doesn’t have to be confined to just the patio – you can reach out and use your entire garden if you want to.

At CMA Garden Design we specialise in creating perfect outdoor living spaces for homeowners in the South. We don’t just sell out-of-the-box solutions - we listen to your ideas and create a perfect design to match, complete with 3D rendering. We can tailor every aspect of your design to suit your tastes and budget, so that you can enjoy outdoor living the way you want. If you would like to find out more, please just get in touch with us today.



10 Things To Ask Your Landscaper

If you’re reading this, then you probably aren’t a landscaper. But you might be looking to hire one to give your garden a refresh, or a complete makeover. The problem is, there are so many landscaping companies out there, how do you choose the right one for you? How do you know if they’re reliable, knowledgeable and capable of designing and creating the garden of your dreams? Today we’ve put together a list of questions you can ask your landscaper to find out, before they even lift a spade.

How Long Have You Been A Landscaper?

First things first, find out how experienced your landscaper is. We all have to start somewhere, but the longer your landscaper has been working, the more experience and knowledge they will have. They will be able to assess and understand your space in a clearer way, and will have a wider skill set to be able to deliver the results you want. It also means they will be able to pre-empt things that could go wrong, and take steps to avoid them. Choosing an experienced landscaper means you are in safe hands every time.

What Sort Of Training Do You Have?

School and college aren’t for everyone, and a degree isn’t always relevant for hands-on work like landscaping. So this question isn’t about GCSEs and A-Levels, but about how the landscaper got into the trade and how they learnt the theory behind the practice. Landscaping is usually learned through a combination of:

  • Working alongside an experienced landscaper who can explain and educate as they go.
  • Attending specific courses for techniques or products.

For example, at CMA Garden Design we:

  • Are RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) qualified
  • Hold a diploma in Garden Design from Merrist Wood College
  • Are fully trained in the use and safety of the products and techniques used in landscaping

Are You A Member Of A Trade Organisation?

Belonging to a trade association is completely optional, but it’s a good measure of quality and integrity. Trade organisations usually have a thorough betting process for all of it’s members, and they are frequently re-tested to ensure quality. A membership to a trade body usually means the landscaper has:

  • Proven that they work to high standards
  • Been checked for honesty and transparency
  • Got all of the necessary insurance in place
  • Frequent and ongoing training to encourage staff to develop their skill set

Are You Insured?

Insurance is an absolute must for any good tradesperson. It keeps them, and you safe. Before you work with any landscaper, ask to see evidence of their insurance, including public liability, accidental damage and injury cover. Essentially, you want to know that their insurance covers you, equipment, employees and any damage done to your property.

How Long Do You Think The Job Will Take?

Landscaping work can be quite disruptive to your life, so it’s a good idea to check that your landscaper has an idea of their timelines. While final start of finish dates can be difficult (thanks to things like bad weather, which can delay progress), they should be able to give you a rough idea to plan around.

What Time Do You Start Working In The Morning?

There are a few different rules are regulations around when workers can start in the morning – especially if there is machinery or other noisy work is involved. It’s always worth checking when your landscaper is planning to start and finish each day. It gives you a good idea of their respect, integrity and approach, as well as giving you time to warn the neighbours!

Are You CDM Compliant?

CDM stands for Construction (Design and Maintenance) Standards, and is all about keeping you, your visitors and anyone working on your site safe. It’s a set of government regulations describing health and safety, and managing risk on work sites. They state that you, the householder, are responsible for the health and safety of everyone on site, unless you appoint a principal designer and contractor,. If you work with us, we can sort that out for you, nut not all landscapers will. You can find out more about CDM here.

Are There Any Safety Issues I Need To Warn Visitors About?

This sort of comes in under the CDM question, but it deserves its own section since it’s things you as the homeowner need to know about. Landscaping requires a lot of digging, moving things around and general disturbances to your familiar ground. Your landscaper should make sure you have safe passage to your door, that any holes are lit or marked and that you’re aware of them. That way you can be sure to let visitors to your house know about any potential hazards in advance. It also protects your nice new landscaping once it’s done! Freshly laid paving or turf needs a few days to settle in, so you might need to remind people not to frolic on the lawn right away!

How Do You Like Your Tea?

For tradesmen, the most important question of all! In all seriousness, we do need to stay hydrated while we work, and the more you can help us with that, the better!

At CMA Garden Design, we are always happy to answer any questions you have and work closely with you to ensure you are informed and comfortable at every stage of the work. We pride ourselves on our high-quality work and dedication to customer service, so you can be confident in your choice of a landscaper. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with the team today.



What Does A Landscaper Actually Do?

We talk a lot about our work as landscapers and garden designers, and hopefully give you lots of useful insights into how to make the most out of your outdoor living space. But it occurred to us that if you’re new on the scene, you might not be all too sure what a landscaper actually does. So we wanted to give you a little explanation.

 Essentially, landscapers and garden designers do the physical creation of your garden, driveway and general outdoor areas of your home, from concept to finished project. We work closely with you to understand your vision and needs before creating a plan for your dream garden. We cover ‘hard features’, like decking, driveways and fencing, as well as ‘soft features’ like planting. Put together, we can create a brand new garden for you completely from scratch, with all the functionality you need. But in case you’re wondering, here are a few things you might consider using a landscaper for:

Patios and Paths

Whether your existing patio needs a bit of TLC or you want a new one installed, landscapers can manage the project from beginning to end. All you need to do is choose your style and tell them what you want. For example, if you want a more rustic ‘secret garden’ effect, this will change the materials your landscaper chooses and how they lay it out.

Fences and Gates

Fences and gates are essential border protection and access for your property, so you need to make sure they are high quality and well installed. But there are still a number of styles and materials you can choose from. Fences can be used to separate parts of your garden as well, allowing you to create a whole new feel for the space.

Walls, Terraces and Brickwork

Building walls, terraces or other separating elements is a skill, and generally not something we advise doing yourself. If you have an older house, or one with a lot of character, you need to ensure everything is ‘in keeping’ with the current style. An experienced landscaper can choose the right style, materials and placements to create your ideal garden, and make sure it’s built to last.

Decking, Gazebos, Sheds and Pergolas

Outdoor living spaces are our speciality, and we love creating a ‘home outside home’ that you can use any time of year, especially summer. Decks, gazebos, sheds, pergolas, outdoor kitchens – you name it, your landscaper can build it. Not only that, but your landscaper can advise you on the best materials to use and create a bespoke design to suit your needs – rather than working with a templated structure.


New lawns, seeded or turf on a fine grade topsoil – your landscaper can do it all. We can also help manage drainage, create clean borders and make your lawn look flawless. And if you don’t want the ongoing upkeep of real grass, we can also design a garden with turfed lawns, giving you luscious green grass all year long, with no upkeep.


We know how much work planting borders and your garden can be – which is why we believe it shouldn’t be down to you. A landscaper can plan out your borders and beds, work out what flowers, shrubs and trees would work best for your space, source them and then plant them all in for you – so you can just sit back and enjoy your colourful new garden. We can even provide you with a simple maintenance plan to follow, so you know how to keep your garden looking beautiful all year round.


If you’re looking to spend a lot of time in your garden (as we think you should), then lighting is a key thing to think about. Because a landscaper doesn’t just ‘do gardening’, we can work out how to best use lighting to create the perfect atmosphere for your space. Whether that’s uplighting in trees, through decking or downlighting from walls and other structures, we can design something that’s perfect for you.

At CMA Garden Designs, we do all of this and more. Our team of experts spans work with outdoor living, gardening and horticulture, driveways and patios, and are on hand to help you create your ideal outdoor space just in time for summer. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with the team today and book your free consultation, complete with 3D design.



The Benefits Of Outdoor Living For Your Mental Health

Have you ever been in a bad mood, gone for a walk and felt much better by the end of it? It’s not just a coincidence – spending time outdoors really is good for your mental health. It’s something that’s been studied for years now, and was one of the big bits of advice during the lockdowns of COVID-19. But why does being in nature have such a positive impact on us, and how could we get more of it at home?


Reduce Stress

Stress is all around us, every day. We live in a stress-fuelled society, so finding a way to disconnect and get away from it all is key to good mental and physical health. But did you know that it can sometimes be as easy as leaving your phone in the house and going to a lie down in a hammock in your own garden? Find your own refuge – a quiet place for contemplation that gives you an antidote to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And that place looks different for everyone. It might be relaxing in an outdoor recliner under a sheltered arbour next to a wall of beautiful climbing roses. It might be cooking lunch over a fire pit in the sunshine, or just strolling through a garden of wildflowers. Spending time outside doing any of these things can reduce your stress levels and leave you feeling relaxed and ready to face anything that comes your way.

Boost Your Immune System

Spending time outside has also been linked to boosting the immune system. Exposure to trees has been found to improve the symptoms of asthma in some sufferers, and spending time in clean, fresh air can do wonders for your natural immunity and wellbeing. One of the reasons the human race tends to get sicker than we used to is because we don’t spend enough time outdoors. Almost all of us will be suffering from a mild vitamin D deficiency, lower natural immune responses, lower moods, worse memory and higher blood pressure, all because we don’t spend enough time in the great outdoors.

Help With ADD/ADHD

If you or your children suffer from ADD or ADHD, spending time outdoors could actually improve their symptoms. Interaction with constant noise and simulation can be very distracting and difficult for those with ADHD, and it can make it harder to cope with everyday life. Having an outdoor space to spend time in, particularly in an urban environment, can make all the difference. Studies have shown that in children with ADHD, a 20-minute walk in a park or outdoor space can improve concentration, mood and even cognitive ability. Green outdoor spaces are now being used all around the world to reduce the impact of ADHD symptoms in children and adults, so if you or someone you know has ADHD, an outdoor living space could be a life-saver.

Improve Your Mood

Nature is humanity’s anti-depressant. Really! Soaking up the sunshine, breathing fresh air and feeling your toes in the grass can provide as much relief for depressive symptoms as talk therapy and anti-depressant medication. Spending time outdoors at any time of year has been proven to reduce the symptoms of depression and improve emotional health – and it doesn’t cost a penny. Having a natural outdoor living space in your back garden means you can do this every single day. Listen to the sound of nature, smell freshly cut grass, dip your toes in a pond and feel the endorphins flooding your brain.

But sometimes getting time in the fresh air is difficult. You might not live somewhere suitable for walks, there might not be any green space around, or you might just not want to go out in public. But that’s no reason you should miss out on the health benefits of the great outdoors – you can still enjoy the great outdoors from your own back garden. At CMA Landscapes, we can help design and build the perfect outdoor living space for you and your family. Whether that’s a fully landscaped space with streams and water features or an outdoor entertaining space with a little secluded seating area for when you want to be alone. We use turf, stones, decks and a wide variety of other options to create your perfect outdoor space.

Buy with confidence from CMA

CMA Garden Design, 46 Albert Road, Farnborough, Hants, GU14 6SL
T: 01252 664029