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Outer beauty shines.

Byline: By Gabrielle Fagan

It's time to tackle what will be the most important 'room' this summer - the garden.

Designers now regard this as a key area that should enhance your home, and most importantly echo the quality of style indoors.

So the outdoor space is now as subject to fashion trends as the rooms inside, and the most fashionable feature for a well-dressed garden this year is a water feature.

From ponds to streams, waterfalls to fountains, the only limit to the complexity of your water feature (budget and space aside) is your imagination.

Gardens inspired by water are a key feature at the Daily Telegraph House & Garden Fair, from June 30 to July 3 - so get ready to take the plunge and create a garden that makes a splash.

New research from John Lewis says that men are from Mars and women from Venus when it comes to choosing an ideal garden.

Jo Davis, store central buyer for outdoor living, points out the divide between the sexes: 'Most males want to equip their gardens with gadgets while women are motivated by refreshing the look of the outdoor room.'

Soft light is vital for al fresco evening dining. Candles are ultra romantic and enhance any garden lighting.

Dibor's outdoor lights collection includes mini brass and glass lanterns for tea lights, pounds 40 each.

Woolworths' excellent selection of lanterns and lights features a square battery-operated paper lantern, pounds 2.99, a string of 20 silk lanterns, pounds 9.99 and a string of clear round bulb lights, pounds 9.99. www.woolworths.co.uk

Banish those yellowing plastic chairs and invest in furniture that will grace a patio.

Country/Traditional: Oka's incredibly realistic synthetic 'rattan' can be left outdoors all year long without damage. 0870 160 6002/www.okadirect.com

Urban chic: Tesco's Brightly Coloured Stripe Furniture Set, with a Hampstead Six Seater Table, pounds 90 and a matching Carver Chair, pounds 35. www.tesco.com

Add instant glamour to a patio with trees in planters and windowboxes from John Lewis. Choose from a variety of planters and trees including bay trees, zinc cupressus and bamboo.

A tall, lemon-scented three-ball Gold Crest cupressus, pounds 100. www.johnlewis.com
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 29, 2005
Words:368
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