A garden should be a place for socializing, whether it is enjoying family meals al fresco or inviting round family and friends for outdoor parties. In this article, we look at a few ways of transforming your garden into a social space.
Having a designated social area
Having an area designated for social activities means that you can still use the rest of your garden for other things. Most people mark off this designated social area by laying down a patio which gives you an even and hard surface for putting outdoor furniture on. Another option could be to get a decking area erected, which could be raised or on the ground. You could even mark it off with gravel as a more budget-friendly option. Many people position this social area near the house, allowing easy access for cooking or so you can dive into the house when it inevitably begins to rain. However, you may want to position it at the end of the garden if this area gets the most sun throughout the day.
Provide shelter from the sun and rain
It does not have to be a fixed canopy or covering – a gazebo can be useful. If you are feeling particularly fancy, you could opt for a roof that can open and close at the flick of a switch! One way of having the best of both worlds is by having a covered patio area, like a gable patio sydney. With this, you can huddle under if the weather is not great, or you can spread out to the rest of the garden if the weather is lovely.
Upgrade your outdoor furniture
It is worth investing in some comfortable outdoor furniture that will encourage you to sit outside. This also needs to be weatherproof enough to withstand the rain, wind, and sunshine. Cheap plastic chairs generally are not comfortable nor are they particularly weatherproof, often becoming brittle and cracking in the sun and rain when left out. That said, this is an inexpensive option, and you can always store chairs away in a shed when not in use to help preserve them. Wooden or wicker furniture is generally more comfortable and weatherproof and looks great. There are plenty of different wood and wicker furniture options to consider from cheap fold up table sets to luxury outdoor lounge suites. There is also cast iron furniture to think about – this is heavy and will stay put in strong winds, but can be prone to rust.
Invest in a premium barbecue
A good barbecue will also encourage you to cook outside more often. While some people love a traditional coal barbecue, those that favor speed and convenience would probably prefer to upgrade to a gas or an electric barbecue. These modern grills can prevent you from having to wait to warm up the coals, as well as allowing temperature control. Try to place your barbecue within the social area of your garden so that the person operating the grill is not entirely isolated at the other end of the garden. It does not just have to be used for social occasions either – who says you can’t grill up a burger for your dinner on a regular weekday?
Add lighting for the evenings.
If you are having outdoor parties, it is nice to be able to stay outside late into the evening. Adding some good outdoor lighting can help to keep your patio or decking lit long after the sun has gone down, and adds a touch of ambiance and atmosphere. Solar lights are probably the most economical option for providing lighting although many only offer an ambient glow. Try dotting them along walkways and paths. For something a little bit brighter, you may want to install a motion sensor light on the wall that is either battery operated or plugged into the mains. If you are looking for something a little more atmospheric and rustic, you could always use traditional candles and lanterns. Paper lanterns can be a beautiful touch as can traditional lanterns, although it is important not to leave them unattended and dispose of them responsibly once you have finished with them. For quick and easy lighting, drape battery operated fairy lights around fences and posts.
Keep warm when the temperature drops.
You do not have to head indoors once the temperature drops if you install a form of outdoor heating. In fact, it could give you all year round use of your garden if picked wisely. There are many different ways you can heat your garden. The most obvious and traditional way is with fire. You could look at building a fire pit – a bit like a more controlled campfire in your garden. These are great for huddling around and toasting marshmallows! However, these have to stay in one place, and may not be appropriate if you have children or pets. Another option is to buy a chiminea, which can be moved around the garden to wherever you want, and the top can be used for cooking. If you have the cash to splash, you might want to consider a gas or electric patio heater, which allow almost instant heating whenever and wherever you need it.
Play music outdoors
A social gathering is not a social gathering without some music. However, when it comes to playing music outdoors, you do need to be careful about using conventional speakers – these are more than likely not waterproof and could get damaged outside. There are plenty of specialist speakers out there that are wireless and waterproof, making them ideal for outdoor use. You can even get ones that look like rocks, making them look unintrusive in your outdoor living space.
Prevent unwanted guests
Unwanted guests such as ants, wasps, and mozzies can put a real dampener on your social gathering. It is important to look at setting up preventative measures so that these creepy critters don’t spoil your garden parties. Citronella candles are always a popular deterrent against mosquitoes, and the candles have the added benefit of giving you some extra lighting. Ants, on the other hand, loathe scents like peppermint and cinnamon. If your outdoor space is prone to wasps, look at buying a fake wasp nest to hang on the fence. They will think that there is already a wasp colony in the area, and it will scare them off and stop them from settling.
There are various other gadgets for getting rid of bugs such as electric bug zappers and ultrasonic pest repellents, but we advise you always to read reviews of these products online to see how effective they really are and whether they are worth spending your money on.
Add Some Fun Features
Your garden might not be big enough for a swimming pool, but even small gardens usually have the space for a hot tub. They are big news these days, with everyone queuing up for one. Just like your patio, build a cover over it, and you can use it all year round! You and your guests would love sitting in it sipping on a glass of champagne and eating something from the barbeque!
Add a Splash of Color
The garden does not have to be green and brown — far from it! So, get creative with the design. Adding bedding plants and herbs to wooden planters can really liven up your party area, so pick a theme and run with it. Change your plants with the seasons as new colors start to become more prevalent. Summer is the perfect time to add white, yellow or light pink annuals to your garden. As the summer begins to fade into autumn, go for oranges and pinks such as helenium and Japanese anemone. These will keep the spirit of summer alive while it is still bright enough for an evening barbeque.
Make sure your garden is private and secure.
When you are enjoying the comfort of your own garden, whether on your own or in the company of your family and friends, you do not want to have to worry about nosey neighbors peeking in or keeping an eye on what you are doing. To give your garden a little privacy, you should look at introducing some fencing to keep your garden to itself.
It is s also going to benefit you to make sure you have a lock on your garden gate too, as when you begin to introduce new furniture pieces and heaters and speakers to your garden, you want to make sure that the parts are secure and locked away in the garden where they belong.
With a small budget and a bit of creativity, even if the most modest and most uninspiring back garden can be turned into a fantastic social space. What ideas do you have?