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Don’t let the cool weather stop you from enjoying your garden. Landscape architect and horticulturist Ben Scott shares his tips on how to warm your outdoor space and maximise its usage all year round.

When designing a garden, Ben opts for a more naturalistic approach. A plantsman at heart, Ben aims to marry his rich horticultural background with built form, embracing natural materials and interesting plant species. His gardens are designed to be lived in and enjoyed, whatever the season.

I feel an outdoor space is about going back to nature and being relaxed as possible.

Bringing greenery into the outdoor space is important for the overall atmosphere whatever the season, advises Ben. In the warmer months, Ben suggests that a creeper-clad pergola, or a large tree, adds value by providing shade.

Bringing the element of water as close to the house as possible is also effective. This could be in the form of a pool or smaller water feature. “The natural movement and the reflection of the water adds greatly to the outdoor space.”

Being located in Melbourne, Ben is well acquainted with the cooler climate and has become a strong advocate for the use of fire in an outdoor space. “I tend to find most people are only using their gardens for six months of the year,” says Ben.

Fire outside allows people to use their area for so much more of the year and it creates such atmosphere

“It’s about going back to the basics. The feeling of sitting by the fire adds so much.”

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Malvern garden by Ben Scott Garden Design

Ben suggests a simple fire pit can be enough to make an impact and warm up the outdoor area. However, if you’re looking for a more detailed finished look, a built-in chimney is a great option.

“A chimney has the added benefit of being able to draw all the smoke away,” he says.

You can also incorporate a built-in bench, BBQ and wood stack into the entire design to create an impressive feature.

For weather protection, Ben suggests creating an alfresco area with an roof system that can be opened, particularly if you’re short on space inside and out.

You can have an openable roof system with an outdoor fireplace incorporated into the same area

This will help achieve shading and weather protection, encouraging you to use your outdoor space more often. If you have a larger area, Ben suggests creating an open pergola structure in another area of the garden with a lovely vine draping over for atmosphere.

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Flinders garden by Ben Scott Garden Design

For now, the quickest and easiest way to warm up your outdoor space is to get your hands on a fire bowl or a brazier. “It can be a simple drum,” says Ben. “When you’re having a gathering of family and friends, it adds massively as a source of heat to draw people out into the garden.”

Click here to see more projects by Ben Scott Garden Design.