Louise Wicksteed, Design Director at Sims Hilditch
Sims Hilditch is passionate about creating homes that enhance the quality of their client’s lives. George Smith has a long standing relationship with the studio, and in 2021 we launched their designer collection, which is now featured in projects around the globe. This collection can now be made for the great outdoors too, so you never have to compromise on style, or comfort. Louise Wicksteed, who heads up the design team, creates layered, personal spaces, with a unique skill for curating one-off antiques and contemporary vintage items. Louise gave us her tips and tricks when it comes to creating an outdoor space that feels as stylish and accommodating as your interiors.
Q1: How can furniture be integrated into a garden scheme?
At Sims Hilditch, we treat outdoor seating and dining areas as an extension of the home. This means that we consider them with as much care and attention as we would a sitting room. The Sims Hilditch Outdoor Furniture Collection with George Smith works well in this respect. Its sumptuous cushions and elegant lines wouldn’t look out of place in a drawing room, but it also offers all the protection required for an outdoor piece.
O2: What are the most important requirements of outdoor furniture?
Something hardwearing that will withstand wear and tear is key. It is also worth bearing in mind that whilst this furniture is designed for outdoors, the chairs should still be comfortable and beautiful. While we are fond of colour, we often recommend staying fairly neutral when it comes to outdoor furniture upholstery so as not to jar with the natural hues in the garden. Pops of colour can be added through scatter cushions and cosy throws to great effect.
Q3: How do you create an outdoor garden scheme?
Consider the interior design scheme for the rest of the home and apply this to the outdoor seating area too. If you have used a limestone flooring in the kitchen that leads out to the garden, why not lay the same flooring on the patio? This creates continuity and flow, making the garden feel like part of the home. You might also consider installing Crittall windows or bi-folding doors to enhance this effect. The same applies to furniture. If you have used plenty of wood and rattan in the home, consider this in your outdoor furniture choices. Equally, if you have chosen something plusher, the same could apply to your outdoor furniture.
Q4: What is the most beautiful garden you’ve visited?
There are several beautiful gardens in the UK and further afield. I must say that I am always drawn the wildness of the British countryside first and foremost. The rolling hills and abundance of colour and texture offer boundless inspiration that, for me, is unbeatable.
Q5: Where do you get garden inspiration from?
We like to be led by the seasons when choosing flowers and foliage for the gardens we work on, often working closely with landscapers. The natural environment offers endless inspiration and we pay homage to this in our design decisions wherever possible. Stone floor, wooden tables and natural linens all work well with this in mind.
Found this interesting?
Read our other interviews with experts of 'The Great Outdoors'.