Summer’s here, which can only mean one thing – It’s BBQ season! Now that social restrictions are coming to an end, what better way to get together with family and friends than with a garden party, especially if you’re still a bit tentative about meeting indoors. But before inviting everybody round and firing up, make sure your garden is in shape.
Be prepared for that moment when the sun decides to show its face, there’s nothing better than an afternoon of good food and good company. Here are a few simple things you can do to get your garden ready for it. Aside from wiping down the grill, here are our top tips on how to get your garden ready for that BBQ, because outdoor gatherings are here to stay.
Mow the Lawn
The first thing to check is the state of your lawn. Mowing overgrown grass will instantly make your outdoor space look a lot neater. If you don’t have time for much else before your guests arrive, be sure to make this one of your priorities. It is a quick and simple way to make your garden look good in no time at all without much effort.
Before mowing, make sure the lawn is completely dry to prevent damaging it. And try not to cut the grass too short, as a bit of length will withstand more foot traffic.
If your grass is looking a bit tired and sun dried, give it some lawn feed the day before to perk it up and keep it looking lusciously green throughout the summer.
Tidy the Garden
A quick tidy can do wonders in making your garden look better. However, you don’t need to spend hours pulling out every weed if you don’t have the time, just concentrate on key areas. Target the most noticeable sections or places where you guests are likely to be.
Brush back any bits of stray soil or gravel, and sweep away any fallen leaves or petals.
Cut away any menacing looking overhanging branches to keep areas clear from obstructions. A few quick snips with some secateurs will soon rid you of messy looking overgrown plants and trees.
Keep your BBQ and dining areas free from clutter. Tidy away any items that you’re not going to need, like gardening tools and bikes by putting them inside garden sheds or garages. A clean and clear space will help create a calming atmosphere, free from potential trip hazards.
Refresh your garden furniture
The elements will take their toll over time on garden furniture kept outdoors. Give it a new lease of life with a quick scrub down or some fresh cushions.
Garden furniture that spends its life outside all year round, is likely to need a little TLC. Brush away any cobwebs and wipe away dirt, to ensure your guests have somewhere clean to sit.
If you have time in advance of your BBQ gathering, then it’s worth giving tired looking wooden furniture a fresh coat of paint or coating of preservative. A stain or treatment will get it looking as good as new, and protect the timber over the coming months.
If your garden furniture really has seen better days, and you’re likely to use it often, you may need to invest in some new items. Rattan effect furniture is popular as it is typically hard wearing and weatherproof. Simple and practical fold away garden chairs can easily be stored and brought out as and when needed.
To protect your furniture in future, use a cover for the winter, or better still put them away inside a garage or shed.
Prepare the seating area
Now your furniture is ready, it’s time to get your patio area sorted. Give decking, flagstones or paving slabs a clean using a hose and brush, or a jet washer if you have one. Create a pleasant area to sit in by moving pots of colourful flowers from elsewhere in your garden.
Arrange your seating so everyone can sit comfortably and easily socialise with each other. Sitting inside a summerhouse or underneath garden structures like a gazebo is a good idea as it will provide shelter and shade in any weather. You’ve spent time preparing your garden, so the last thing you want is for the unpredictable climate to ruin your plans.
Set up tables for dining, as well as a buffet table for cooked foods and salads, and a work station next to the BBQ for uncooked items. Keep drinks cool by placing them in a mini fridge, cool box or tub filled with cold water and ice. Better still, why not create a dedicated garden bar area where people can help themselves to drinks or have fun creating their own cocktails.
Don’t forget the soft furnishing. Add blankets, rugs and cushions for a cosy and comfortable feel. These finishing touches are an easy way to add character and colour to your outdoor space, and give it an attractive appearance. They can also help to keep you warmer as the sun goes down in the evening and the temperature drops.
Add garden lighting and decoration
Now all that’s left for you to do is complete the finishing touches to your alfresco dining area.
Add ambience with some garden lighting, so your party can continue even when it gets dark outside. Hang battery powered or solar lanterns or fairy lights on trees and garden structures. It’s so quick and simple to do, and will help create a great atmosphere. Citronella candles will add to the mood, emitting a warm glow and will also keep pesky insects at bay.
Decorations and bunting can bring fun and a splash of colour, for an attractive and eye-catching display.
If you do plan on staying outdoors when it gets cooler, think about adding a fire pit, chiminea or patio heater for warmth.
Now your garden is BBQ ready, all that’s left to do is light up the grill and invite everyone over to enjoy.