Britons spend over £5 billion a year on their gardens, yet very few maximise on the benefits of outdoor living, according to John King, owner of Kingspace in Bournemouth.
“As a nation we have long aspired to the outdoor ‘café culture’ life of our European cousins blessed with warmer climates and while we don’t have year-round sunshine in this country, there’s certainly no need for us to stay inside,” he says.
Not when you could be sat by an open fire, in the open air. Nor when you could be warm and cosy inside a glass room; the great outdoors outside brought inside. Or indeed when you could be submerged in warm, bubbling water with just the sight of your breath telling you it’s chillier than you think.
“The garden has become very much an extension of our homes and should work as another room – just outside,” says John. “People spend a great deal of time making it look good which makes it even more important to be able to enjoy it all year round.”
John worked in the building trade for many years before taking a late career break to study. It was while he was an architecture student at London’s Metropolitan University that he became fascinated by year-round outdoor living, which at the time was largely enjoyed overseas.
Part of John’s philosophy is to try to introduce people to new and exciting products you don’t find at your typical garden centres.
He set up Kingspace 3 years ago and even in that relatively short space of time the company has grown hugely. Part of its success is due to John’s passion for being the first to offer innovative, luxury outdoor products from abroad.
The Canadian cedar hot tub is one such product. Encased in its own beautifully-crafted wooden summerhouse surround, the hot tub can be sunken into the ground. Glass of bubbly in hand you step up into the tub and sink into, yes, more bubbles. It’s a heavenly experience, with the backdrop of dark, winter evenings making star-gazing all the more alluring.
You don’t need the protection of a summerhouse, says John. “Immerse yourself in the warm water of a spa, steaming in the crisp evening air and all the day’s stresses and strains will melt away,” he says. “Our swim spas allow outdoor swimming against a current, with the water heated to a bath-like temperature - warmer than most indoor pools.”
“Families are still embracing the whole ‘don’t move, improve’ phenomenon of recent years and the garden is often at the top of the list. Touches of luxury are highly sought-after and it’s easy to understand why. People work hard – and when they finally get home, they want to unwind, feel pampered and enjoy their living space to the full.”