7 must-have garden features
As the temperature steadily rises, and the calendar starts highlighting days off and holidays, it is inevitable to start thinking about the garden.
Those heady summer days spent unwinding outside from morning until evening, and of course, thoughts of garden parties are just on the horizon. But if you want to really get the most out of your garden this year, what are the must haves? Here’s our guide to the seven items we think every garden needs.
There was no way a list of garden must-haves could not include a BBQ, so we thought we’d get it out of the way right away. From simple charcoal burners to propane-fired grills that would give most domestic stoves a run for their money, there’s a BBQ out there for every price point. While gas varieties are more convenient if you’re a fan of smokey flavours opt for a charcoal BBQ with a smoker hood.
2. Table and chairs
Next up, some decent garden seating. No patio is complete without a nice table and chair set, so that you can serve Sunday lunch outside without the fear of ants in your gravy. Wicker and hardwood options are stylish and long-lasting, however, they are costlier than aluminium or plastic varieties.
There’s something incredibly primaeval feeling about being sat outdoors around a crackling fire as night draws in. A good chimenea or fire pit can be picked up for less than £40 and allows you to have fires whenever you want, without fear of damaging your lawn or patio. Plus, the smoke helps to protect you and your guests from the perils of midges and mozzies in the evening.
Whether it’s to illuminate an intimate evening, supper or it’s to light up the dance floor at a party, every garden needs some form of lighting. LED bulb festoon-style lighting is always a popular choice being attractive and versatile, in that you can drape, wrap or hang them just about anywhere.
Outdoor lighting also comes in incredibly handy in the winter, when it gets dark at 4pm, if you need to pop down to the shed to retrieve something or are struggling to find the cat/dog.
5. Box of blankets
The number of uses of a pile of blankets kept beside the back door has cannot be understated. From protecting skin from itchy grass as you sunbathe to keeping ill-equipped guests warm after sunset, they even work folded-up as impromptu cushions if a garden chair starts to feel a bit hard on the behind after the sixth hour spent unwinding in it.
While there is always the temptation to stick your headphones in and listen to a podcast, it’s antisocial. Music improves most situations so having some way to play some tunes for guests is a good idea.
There’s nothing worse than the tiny muted sound you get from a kitchen radio pointed out the windows. Invest in some all-weather speakers or a portable system so you can play whatever you want, whenever you want.
Word to the wise, if you’re using a portable system then make sure it’s got some oomph to it or it may be near inaudible in a medium-sized garden.
Finally, there’s nothing worse than having to walk all the way to the fridge to get yourself another beer when you’ve just gotten yourself comfy in that hammock. So invest in a cooler of some sort. Some large coolers come with two sections so that you can store drinks on one side and food for the BBQ in the other. A wine cooler is also a wise investment when dining al fresco as you won’t have to root around the ice-box every time someone wants a top up.