Zone out!

Liz Nicholls

Summer beckons, so why not think how you can best enjoy your outside space, come rain or shine? We speaks to some Bucks specialists who can help you

Picture the scene… The Euros have kicked off and you’re relaxing with friends, a chilled drink in your hand, as the action unfolds on the big screen…

And all of this (delete the hypothetical footie and replace with Wimbledon, the Grand Prix or the Olympics as you wish) in your own back yard. It’s an enticing prospect isn’t it? Well it’s not beyond the realm of possibility, thanks to a lightbulb moment Bob Best had last summer.

While Bob, who runs Herts Pergolas, was with his team admiring their recent handiwork, he noticed that the flat, white surface would make a perfect screen so a projector could be fitted opposite. “Suddenly the penny dropped,” says Bob, who has years of experience across the home counties building conservatories before switching to pergolas in 2022. “I thought: this is the perfect way to make the most of the space, watching the Euros. That’s the dream, in your own garden! You could add a hot tub or whatever floats your boat as well.” 

It’s a popular trend to create outdoor zones to suit a particular purpose which can make a huge difference, even in smaller gardens, where two or three areas work well. Outdoor structures such as pergolas are a great way to define a space and are often easier to achieve than extensions because they usually don’t require planning permission. That’s why pergolas are a fashionable choice with Bob’s customers, taking gardens to the next level.

“The bulk of our team’s work is now pergolas, led by our customers, which is great,” says Bob who lives in Kings Langley. “Our pergolas are made of aluminium, have a polyester powder-coated finish and are available in white or grey, which looks really elegant. They come in three sizes, 3 x 3m, 3 x 4m and 8 x 4m. The roof is fully adjustable, and they come with a full-height blinds and LED lighting with optional remote-controlled heaters and USB sockets to charge phones or devices. What’s genius, too, is they have internal drainage so that inevitable rain drains on to your patio area. It’s the way forward!” Visit

Garden rooms have increasingly become an extension of your home and not just for those who work from home. If you’ve been coveting a beautiful hand-crafted bespoke oak building in your garden or adjoining your home, you’re not the only one! The Artisan Oak team work with clients across Bucks to help you design your dream bespoke space. The company, based just outside Stoke Bruerne, believe oak to be one of the most beautiful materials to use, with raw textures and uncompromisable strength. They also offer a landscaping service and incorporate materials such as glass, stone, brick and other wood, working along side sub-contractors for a hassle-free project. Visit

Seating is also a must, anything from a cute stylish bistro set for a smaller space to a full on comfy garden sofa next to a fire pit.

But, before you start planning your garden layout, you might come across an unsightly stump blocking your way. This is where the Wycombe-based Simply Stumps team step in. Led by owner Scott Howfield, a fully qualified arborist with 25 years of experience and a vast array of five-star reviews, they offer a convenient Whatsapp or online quote system at Scott emphasises the challenge of removing tree stumps due to their extensive root systems, making digging them out nearly impossible. Instead, he recommends stump grinding, which produces fine woodchips that are easy to move and make excellent mulch for the garden. It’s a clean and efficient solution that avoids the hassle of dealing with a leftover stump. Scott also highlights the risk of honey fungus, which can use old stumps as a food source to attack living trees. As he aptly puts it, “it’s most definitely a case of better out than in!”

One thing that’s bound to be a godsend in this country is some sort of shade or cover. The experienced team at Verdec will help you create a fantastic outdoor area with bespoke timber garden structures and buildings, such as summerhouses, offices, adventure playgrounds, decking, hard landscaping and patios. Find out more at

If you’re looking for high-quality long-lasting outdoor furniture covers or gazebo side panels check out family-run, UK-based Kover-it. The team manufacture all types of covers, including for sofa sets, BBQs, pool tables and gazebos. All are bespoke and manufactured to ensure the best fit. Visit

Metal Gates Ltd are manufacturers, fabricators and installers of quality metal gates, railings, garage doors, balustrades and staircases. The family business has over 30 years’ experience in the metalwork industry, they can guarantee quality craftsmanship and a professional service from planning to installation. Contact them on  01628 621974 for a free no obligation quote. More at