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SPRING has sprung and it's time to spruce up your garden with some brand new outdoor furniture.

Whether sunning yourself on that brand new decking or cooking up a tasty barbecue on a long lazy afternoon, outdoor living is a great way to unwind this summer - weather permitting.

Outdoor entertaining has never been more popular, according to Yvonne Sutherland.

The outdoor living department manager at Glasgow's John Lewis store says: "These days people love to entertain in their garden and there are so many choices of furniture and accessories that it's easy to make your garden stylish and fit in with the feel of your home."

Outdoor furniture should be made to last and to withstand the harsh elements of our Scottish climate.

How many times have you headed into the garden with a magazine and a cool drink ready to rub on the sun tan lotion only for the dark clouds to roll in front of the sun. You can easily escape the downpour but your garden furniture can't.

Yvonne says: "Metal or teak are low-maintenance materials. You can wash metal with hot soapy water and it's great if the weather gets particularly wet because you can easily dry them off. Teak is a great investment because it has a long life span and will take on a subtle silver patina with age."

And these days it's not just white plastic tables and chairs. John Lewis have a great range of sun loungers and deck chairs.

Yvonne says: "Whether you want your garden to be a sanctuary to escape to or a buzzing social hive - a sun lounger is essential.

"You can choose from so many different sizes, colours and styles these days. Deck chairs are also coming back into fashion in a big way. These in- expensive seating alternatives for the garden can take up little storage space in winter.

"Accessorising your garden is also a big trend these days. Floating candles and bird boxes have never been so popular and even garden essentials, such as watering cans, can now be chic."

If you can muster up the energy to pull on the gardening gloves, John Lewis also offers a wide range of lawn mowers and accessories to help you stop the garden turning into a jungle.

And for those chilly summer nights a patio heater is ideal. Choose one with wheels so that it can be moved and stored easily.

In a way the garden can become an extra room complete with all the mod cons we'd expect to find indoors.

As Yvonne points out: "Night lighting is the best way to give your garden an atmosphere and there are lots of dif- ferent lighting solutions available.

"Dragon fly outdoor lights sit in amongst the plants and give a fabulous effect at dusk. Candles can create a relaxed feel and use ones with citronella to keep those midges at bay."

Barbecues are the ultimate in summer entertaining. And John Lewis have more than 25 gas or charcoal ones to choose from. There are sizes to suit a romantic tete-a tete or a massive street party.

And to keep the kids amused as you relax with a cool drink, an outdoor activity toy might be well worth the investment.

John Lewis stock TP climbing frames and swings from as little as pounds 89, together with a wide range of outdoor games including swing ball and croquet.

So if you fancy doing some outdoor living this summer, why not pop along to your nearest John Lewis store for some expert advice on choosing the right products to suit your garden.
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Title Annotation:Living
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 13, 2003
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