Transform Your Outdoor Space for Entertaining this Summer
Simple tips and tricks to give your garden an instant lift in readiness for guests as COVID restrictions continue to ease over the coming months.
Transforming your garden in readiness for spring and summer entertaining doesn’t have to be a tiresome chore. With some simple tips and tricks you can give your garden an instant facelift and make it the perfect space for outdoor entertaining.
Taylor Gathercole, outdoor living expert and founder of purpose-led ethical fireside living brand, Kindwood, says: “Now that the weather is warming up and restrictions continue to ease, we’re all spending more time outdoors catching up with friends and family. And whether you have a small patio garden or an expanse of lawn, making the most of the outdoor space you’ve got and creating an inviting area for entertaining needn’t be difficult.
“With some forward thinking and clever hacks, you can transform your outdoor space not only to welcome, but also impress guests this spring-summer.”
Read on for Taylor’s guide to giving your garden a makeover in readiness for successful spring and summer entertaining…
Are there any areas of your garden crying out for some TLC? Whether it’s giving the shed, fences or garden bench a fresh lick of paint or oil, or cutting back any hedges, it’s best to start with the areas that most obviously need your attention.
If you have garden furniture, it’s worth considering the positioning – would you prefer tables and chairs in the shadiest part of the garden or the sunniest? Do they overwhelm the area they’re positioned in or perfectly balance out the space?
Investing in some new planters or pots is the ideal way to add new life to an outdoor space, no matter how big or small it is. Consider planting fresh herbs around seating areas. Rosemary and thyme are great options to have to hand come BBQ season and fresh mint leaves work in all manner of summer drinks.
Likewise, a trellis with flowering climbing plants such as roses, jasmine, clematis or sweet peas, is a great solution for creating a screen to zone a garden or hide unsightly walls, fences or other garden features. They will also add beautiful fragrances to your outdoor space and attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.
Create an outdoor kitchen…
If you love barbecuing, why not create your own outdoor kitchen to enjoy year-round?
If you don’t have the budget or time to invest in a built-in brick barbecue, simply zoning the immediate area around your current barbecue will work. A nearby wall or fence is ideal for shelves or racks to ensure all the utensils, herbs and rubs you may need are to hand. A dedicated BBQ table or surface is a good idea to ensure there’s adequate space for food preparation, resting and serving. This can be fashioned from upcycled crates or pallets for a more rustic feel.
Ideally your recently planted herb collection will be near to your outdoor kitchen too.
If your outdoor space is small or dark, try adding mirrors, which will both flood the space with light and make it feel more spacious. Just make sure to consider what the mirror will be reflecting once positioned – nobody needs to see a drainpipe or the back of the neighbour’s broken shed reflected back.
Placed against a wall or fence and behind colourful flowers, a mirror will accentuate and create the illusion of even more beautiful blooms.
Bunting may sound twee, but it’s a simple and inexpensive way to brighten up any outdoor space – and it doesn’t have to be traditional. Opt for bold brights and geometric patterns if that’s more to your taste.
Solar powered string lights are a must. They will help light the space when darkness falls and create an inviting twinkly atmosphere.
Take your guests into consideration…
As we move through spring and summer, we will all be spending more time outdoors and considering many of us haven’t seen friends and families for many months or even a year, there are sure to be some very lengthy garden gatherings. So make sure you have plenty of spare cushions and blankets to keep guests comfortable, whether they are sat on garden chairs or on the ground.
To keep kids entertained (and off screens), try some strategically placed outdoor games. Giant jenga, quoits or croquet will be enjoyed by children and adults alike and can be a great icebreaker too! If you’re feeling creative, why not set up a scavenger hunt? And if it’s really warm, a sprinkler can provide the ultimate summer fun for smaller guests.
Be mindful of any canine visitors – make sure they always have access to water and keep dog snacks on hand in case they get hungry.
Think smart when serving food and drink…
Store beverages in ice buckets in a shady part of the garden that guests can simply help themselves to. This will be useful not only in terms of any social distancing measures that may still be in place, but also means you, as the host, won’t be traipsing in and out of the kitchen repeatedly and can focus on socialising rather than serving.
Non-perishable snacks for kids to enjoy between meals – crisps, nuts, raisins and fruit leathers – can also be stored in shady spots in crates.
Don’t forget to keep guests warm when the sun goes down…
Humans have forever been drawn to fire, using it for protection, warmth and cooking. And there’s still nothing quite like the primal comfort of watching, listening to and smelling a warm, crackling fire.
To ensure guests don’t feel compelled to retreat inside once the sun sets, it’s well worth investing in a fire basket, fire pit or chimenea to enjoy the spring and summer evenings. If you want a less permanent addition to the garden or something a little more unusual, try a Swedish Torch Log – once used by the Swedish army as a way to enjoy instant heat and light, you can even use it to cook or heat up the BBQ leftovers.