We know that it might be a little chilly in the UK now, but we've got to start thinking about summer and looking ahead to where we want our gardens to be by then! Do you know why? Because they are the perfect socialising and party locations!
Including viable food preparation areas, soft lawns and extravagant water features are all important parts of creating a social garden and we want to help you get ahead of the curve so that when summer arrives, all you need to do is invite people over and relax. Take a look at our tips for creating a social garden and see if you can start thinking about your garden overhaul now!
Before you can get your social garden design happening, you need to clear your outside space so you can get a really good handle on exactly how much room you have to play with. You'll probably find that you have a lot more than you thought, so while you are moving things around to assess the potential of the garden, be ruthless and throw away anything you don't want to keep.
This lovely spot, from Fernanda Gastelum, would be the ideal starting point for any social garden and with mature grass already in place, a lot of the hard work is already done for you!
In any social garden, you will need to section off different areas that will have specific functions. For example, we think this seating spot is fabulous, but you wouldn't want wet bathers running over here to dry off, so this is the seating spot, there can be a summerhouse in place for swimmers and a covered terrace for eating. Simple!
By keeping designated areas in play, you are able to retain easy control over the clear up that will be inevitable after any party or gathering too. We think we'd be keen to include some subtle bins in the seating area itself, just to make the task even easier.
If you are planning to have a very social garden, you will naturally need to include a lot of seating. We think it's a great idea to include different types, so that guests can choose how they relax. These box chairs are great for enjoying conversation, but look to include some reclining garden chairs too, for the sunbathers out there!
Any furniture you choose will need to be protected against the elements, so be sure to regularly treat any wooden items and put away any soft furnishings at the end of a party, to prevent them from getting damp.
We aren't only suggesting this so you can continue to enjoy a social garden in bad weather, though that is a major concern here in the UK, we think a covered terrace is important for skin health too, in good weather. Offering shelter from the sun and the rain in equal measure, covered terraces are also fantastic locations for enjoying some al fresco dining.
To keep bugs and nasties away while you are eating under a terrace, we suggest that you light a citronella candle and place it on the table. This will naturally deter pests, but won't smell at all unpleasant to you and your guests.
What social garden would be complete without the means to make some delicious food? It's never quite the same when you grill food in the oven and bring it outside, so we think you should cordon off a patch of your garden to turn it into an al fresco cooking haven. You can even repurpose a patio.
Don't think that you have to invest in a large or unattractive barbecue, as there are so many options for outdoor cooking that there will be something to suit you and the style of your home. We are huge fans of rustic pizza ovens and pared back grills, such as this one, as they retain some classic styling and make for delicious food.
If you have treated yourself to a little slice of luxury in the form of a hot tub, make sure you have it switched on and heating up before you welcome some guests! The perfect way to relax at the end of a fun evening, an outdoor hot tub is a fantastic way to ensure that your social garden remains popular for many years to come.
We don't think there can be many things more appealing than enjoying a glass of something decadent, while sitting in a hot tub and chatting with friends, so when you send out your barbecue invitations, be sure to add that guests need to bring a swimming costume!
This is a little extravagant, we know that, but if you are planning to revamp your garden, a swimming pool is fantastic addition that will add value to your property and heighten your social garden to new levels of popularity! A small, simple pool will not be as expensive as you might think, but you can of course go as crazy as you want, after all, this is the UK, so perhaps a heating system might be a good investment!
If you are looking forward to getting out into your garden this year, take a look at this Ideabook: Landscaping For Less: Garden Renovation Ideas. We think you'll be surprised at what you can create on a small budget!