7 Steps To Get Your Garden Ready for Outdoor Picnics & BBQs This Spring
The rule of six will return on 29th March in England, which means that family and friends will be able to reunite outdoors – hooray! So it’s time to start planning those wonderful garden picnics, pizza parties and BBQs where we’ll get to spend quality time with our nearest and dearest at long last.
So here are some ideas to get your outdoor space spruced up, warm and welcoming – you could tick them off in a weekend:
Your garden or yard might be looking a bit winter weary, with debris lying around to clear up and dead plant growth which would benefit from cutting back. You might want to give your lawn its first cut of the season in March, too. Set the lawn mower to cut high initially and mow when the grass is dry.
Have a look around at what needs sorting out. Perhaps your garden gate is creaking on its hinges and needs oiling, or maybe your fences could benefit from a few repairs and a fresh coat of colourful garden paint? Alternatively, putting up some trellis or a bamboo screen to disguise tired old fences is quick and cost effective, when you use reed screening on a roll – it can make such a world of difference!
Cleaning the patio/deck/BBQ
If your paving slabs are looking dingy and dirty, either give them a blast with a jetwasher, or alternatively use a bucket of hot soapy water and a stiff bristle broom to brighten up paving stones. Just remove any moss first and then get scrubbing.
If you have a wooden deck, winter may have taken its toll. You can buy deck cleaning solutions and apply them with a smaller stiff brush to get into the grooves. Once it’s dry, give the base a coat of varnish or some deck paint.
You’ll want to give the BBQ a thorough clean before cooking on it, too. If it’s a gas BBQ, heat it up to burn off any deposits, then if you clean it once it cools down but is still a little warm, you’ll find the job a touch easier. Disconnect the gas container, then scrub with a wire brush and a paste made of white vinegar and baking soda, or use some dish soap and hot water to cut through the grease and grime.
When inviting guests over, you’ll need some comfy seating. If the existing patio furniture is looking a bit grimy, you can clean it with a jumbo sponge and soapy water. Cushion seat pads will give your chairs a brand new look – places like B&M Stores have a great range of outdoor cushions which are cheap and showerproof. Did you know that you can spray-paint plastic outdoor furniture, if you fancy a hot pink or smart black patio set. Just make sure the spray paint is suitable for plastics. Wooden dining sets usually require a light sanding and a layer of teak oil or varnish to bring them up to scratch and enhance the natural wood grain.
If you wanted to splurge a bit and get some fancy outdoor furniture, a modular sofa or armchairs and a coffee table really help you to create an outdoor living room with style.
As well as seating, don’t forget about heating! As we know, British spring and even summertime can be unpredictable. If you can sit your guests in a sheltered spot, it can feel quite warm when the sun comes out, however the weather is never guaranteed – and if your seating area is shady, you ought to think about how you’re going to keep your guests warm. One of the best options has to be electric patio heaters like those available from Electric Radiators Direct. They can be free standing, wall mounted or even fixed to a pergola or fitted inside a parasol, which is a great space saving option. They are a fantastic source of instant and controllable heat, guaranteed to make any get together more pleasant and enjoyable. Just think about the times you’ve sat at a pavement cafe that has heaters – it feels lovely! I prefer them to chimineas and firepits as they aren’t smoky and are a safer way to provide heat, especially if children are around – you can simply wall mount them high up out of reach.
Shelter & decor
As well as heating, you need to think about what happens if it rains. There is always a strong possibility of precipitation! So get ahead of the weather with some sort of covering – a good sized table umbrella, or an awning over your patio area can be practical enough. Canvas ‘sail shades’ are another option to affix above head height, to keep off both the sun and rain and they look attractive. If you have a bigger budget, you could invest in a motorised awning which is remote-controlled for the ultimate in ease.
Alternatively, you could use a pop up gazebo – or especially popular with children and teens, a tipi-style tent which can be hired for the day or a weekend. Gazebos and tents are also a great option if you love to go to town with outdoor decor, as you can add some colourful floor cushions, festooned lighting and special occasion balloons for a party atmosphere.
You probably have some old planters dotted around the garden, so why not give them a clean and plant some flowers for a splash of colour. Garden centres are currently open in line with goverment guidelines, so you could pop along and get some pansies which are a great early spring bedding plant. They add instant cheer! Ideal for patio planters, hanging baskets and any pots on the doorstep to welcome your guests.
Lights & lanterns
Perhaps you plan to meet in the early evening rather than daytime. This is the perfect opportunity to light up your outdoor area beautifully with candles in lanterns and twinkling fairylights. Solar lights are great fun as they come in lots of different shapes, sizes and themes and they are good value for money. If you have an outdoor plug socket, you may prefer to opt for outdoor plug-in lights – wind fairylights around tree trunks or drape stringlights overhead for a dreamy holiday feel.
If you think of your garden or balcony as an extension of the home, you’ll start to make it feel much more like an extra living room. Plants, lamps, furniture and soft furnishings such as cushions, tablecloths, blankets and an outdoor rug all give it a cosy and inviting feel. I hope you are looking forward to partying safely and enjoying some togetherness. We’ve missed it so much!