2020 has thrown us all a massive and unexpected curveball, to say the very least. However, in these trying times, there’s a need to stay positive. One of the most important things we can do is stay at home. At least we are now officially in spring and it’s heartening to see sunshine and plants starting to bud. I think one of the best therapies is to spend more time out in our gardens or on our patios and balconies. Whatever outside space we have, however tiny, why don’t we turn our attention to making it a lovely sanctuary?
It is unlikely that we will be able to go on holidays for a while, so if you are lucky enough to have a little outdoor space, or a lot, try bring the benefits of a holiday back home. Think of all the elements you enjoy about a summer holiday and try and recreate some of those features in the garden. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Get a Chic Parasol
If you think of beautiful sunshine resorts, the one thing in common all the exclusive hotels and beach and pavement cafes have in common are stylish parasols providing shade. So it’s worth investing in a good quality parasol, like those from Solero Parasols which are well constructed, sturdy and have a high quality canopy featuring fade resistant fabric. With the exception of the ‘natural’ coloured cloth, all their cloths filter the harmful UV-radiation entirely (100%), giving the effect of a UPF 50+ factor. There’s a choice of parasol sizes and fabric colours; you could opt for bright cheery shades such as red or orange, timeless neutrals like taupe or classic black or white. You can also opt for traditional garden parasols, or even wall mounted and cantilever designs. The pretty Vaticano Pro is one parasol design that caught my eye.
Did you know you can also add extra features like heating and lighting to the interior of your canopy for a very exclusive, 5* resort feel!
Fire up the BBQ
If you have a BBQ, spring is a great time to clean it down and fire it up. If you don’t have one, why not build your own brick BBQ to have as a permanent feature in the garden. From corn on the cob to king prawns, whatever type of cuisine you enjoy it tastes so much better when grilled over hot coals. The key is to wait until the coals are white/grey when they are really hot. (Cooking food with the flames will only char the outside and not cook the food through.) Experiment with tasty glazes and marinades and serve alongside healthy, colourful Mediterranean salads with feta cheese, olives, pine nuts, accompanied by crusty bread rolls. If grilled meats or seafood aren’t your thing, how about a pizza oven instead to give you the same holiday vibes?
Cocktails at the home bar
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade and serve it from your very own home bar! Get hands on and practical with this DIY project. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it can be as simple as a shelf on an outside wall, or something more elaborate. Maybe you could use some old pallets to construct a tall, slim bar – create a rustic bar sign and cover the whole thing with string lights! The perfect place to mix up your favourite exotic mocktails or cocktails. Make mine a Mojito, please!
Make yourself comfortable
Seating is key; it needs to be comfy and relaxing. A popular choice for a holiday feel is sofa style seating, with low coffee tables and side tables. Many rattan designs are waterproof, including the seat cushions, so you don’t have to worry about the furniture getting rained on too much. For full on relaxation mode, how about a sun lounger or luxurious hammock to stretch out on?
Hot tub, anyone?
It would be lovely to have a pool in the garden, but sadly that is not a common feature in the UK! However, a hot tub could definitely help add the ‘water element’ to your outdoor space, when recreating a holiday feel. Luxuriate in a bubbling, soothing hot tub – it’s an ideal way to sooth stresses away and unwind. It also doesn’t depend on wall to wall sunshine, as a hot tub can be used pretty much year round!
To capture that exclusive resort feel that you get with a summer holiday abroad, add some exotic plants to your relaxing space, the larger the better. Think potted palms with large fronds and banana leaf plants, dotted around in terracotta pots to add to the ambience. You could place them in front of stylish bamboo screening (this can be ordered on a roll) to give a real feeling of sanctuary and privacy.
Create a mini beach
OK, this one is for the youngsters mainly, but if you like the feel of sand between your toes you might enjoy it too! Making a sandpit can provide hours of play for kids. Add shells you’ve collected from previous beach holidays, a bucket and a spade and it could keep them busy and amused while you lay back on your lounger with a good book.
Lighting is a lovely feature for the garden as dusk falls, so don’t overlook it. There are some really good, inexpensive solar or electric garden lights if you have an outdoor power socket, all available online either through Amazon and home department stores. Why not go to town with lovely lanterns or fairy lights and create your own magical escape in the back garden.