It was Audrey Hepburn who coined the phrase, "To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow" and as we begin to stretch from the other side of the pandemic, we reflect on those elements which have encouraged us to continue looking forward at such a motionless time.

From disappearing into the greenhouse to wandering through expanding hedgerows, enjoying outdoor spaces has long been known to relieve the mind of various pressures. Speaking with botanical stylist and Chelsea Flower Show 5-Star Award winner Selina Lake, she emphasises the importance of garden spaces and how they allow us to reconnect with ourselves. Selina states that, "The pandemic has accelerated everyone’s interest in gardening due to uncertainty and depicted why turning to nature is so beneficial. If you plant something and you want it to grow, you are investing in it and gives you hope for the future."

With our gardens becoming sanctuaries of change and promising places to escape, "Creating a personal space where you feel comfortable is essential, as gardens are effectively extra rooms for us to utilise and there is no greater joy than forming your own botanical space. An area you can feel proud of is an area where you will feel most relaxed," explains Selina.

Fusing different styles and creating something unique is what inspires Selina, who highlights that her favourite type of garden is, "Very much the quintessential cottage style, where the space is full of flowers and different colours. Combining this with a modern twist is my preference. I have been fortunate enough to visit gardens in Scandinavia and the way they flaunt dark tones is what inspires me to implement an array of flowers."

Selina’s personal garden is influenced by this ethos, but also follows the notion of the extra room experience. "As a stylist, I aim to create different areas that motivate me and can be used for various reasons. For example, I have a space we call the outdoor lounge with a sofa and this is accompanied with a selection of various tables dotted round, each arranged with pots and distinct gardenia."

Creating the perfect outdoor space can be a challenging yet rewarding task, with so many elements to consider. "Rummage for props and accessories around your home before buying new. You need vases, planters, trays, candles, cushions and throws," explains Selina. The whimsical nature of her outdoor lounge was designed using a dark colour scheme as the main foundation. "This will help bring the look and the setting together. Then you can begin to add lights to extend the use of the space into the evening - my go-to for garden lights are solar powered festoon lights and candles in lanterns."

Exploring the gardens on the Unique Homestays portfolio, below we highlight a selection of outdoor living spaces to inspire your garden overhaul.

From top left to bottom right: The Art House, Little Portion, The Signal Station, The Meadows, Saphir Beach House, Alchemy Hill.