Although the great British Summer is notoriously unpredictable when it comes to the weather, the warm, sunny spells we had last Summer, and also this April do give us a chance to make the most of our garden or outdoor space, whilst we can. Due to being neglected during the winter months and the lack of sunshine we are often faced with, even in British summertime, many people are unsure how to make the most of their gardens when it begins to warm up. The thought of cutting bushes, potting plants and mowing lawns can be pretty daunting to some and many of us don’t have the money to go all out on the garden furniture, the built in BBQ’s and the hot tubs, but there are definitely simpler ways of enjoying the outdoors during a rare bit of British heat.
No matter how big or small your garden is, when the sun is shining there is nothing better than taking your dinner to eat outside, with a nice cold drink. Whether you set out the table with a range of salads, cold meats and bread, or simply just cook your dinner inside and bring it out, there is something about dining alfresco that soothes the soul. If you haven’t already, it is definitely well worth investing in some garden furniture. It doesn’t have to break the bank, it can even be a simple little wooden or plastic set for two, but sitting out and eating at night, or enjoying a nice brew in the fresh morning sun is definitely a great way to utilise your outdoor space.
BBQ it up
Following on from my last point, eating outside in the warm weather is a dream, and cooking in it is also a great change. You might already have a fancy BBQ where you can cook all kinds of fancy and yummy meats and fish, but even if you just buy a small, disposal one and cook a few sausages, it still counts! Everyone loves a hot dog so bbq on a budget can be a simple task and a great excuse to get the family and friends together. ‘Build your own buns’ are a great, purse-friendly way to feed the five thousand. Cook a load of sausages on the BBQ, give everyone a hot dog bun and set out different ‘stations’ for the toppings (onions, mustard, ketchup, beef chilli etc). Fill a bucket with some ice and beers and voila! Everyone is happy – except maybe the veggies but there is always Quorn for that!
Get the Essentials
One of the great things about hot, summer days is sitting out late into the night and it still feeling warm (ish). However, if you want to make a habit of this (or do it as often as possible) there are some essentials that you will need to invest in. First of all, some outdoor lighting, from fitted lights with sensors to solar powered lamps, your lighting options depend on your budget and the size of your garden – so get researching! Secondly, small, mini fire pits are a great way to keep everyone outside once the sun goes down. You can buy them from major supermarkets for next to nothing and sitting around a campfire either toasting marshmallows or playing a few games is a welcome change from the TV indoors! Thirdly, bug spray – because they always try to spoil the fun.
Enjoy Some Fish
One way you could definitely improve the look of your garden is by adding a Koi pond. Koi are beautiful fish and a Koi pond is actually one way of owning pets that actually adds value to your home. But as well as this point, for those who have struggled with their mental health during lockdown, watching Koi and listening to the gentle movement of the water is actually a brilliant way to relax and de-stress.
This is not just an old wives tale, but one that doctors are now also alluding too.
Some doctors have begun to voice their opinions about the benefits of having a personal Koi pond. They have gained these opinions by witnessing improvements in such medical conditions as high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, and some heart conditions in patients known to have their own personal Koi pond. Stress can exasperate these conditions and doctors are always looking for ways they can recommend to their patients for reducing the amount of stress in their lives for better health. Doctors have even found that many stroke and heart attack sufferers recover sooner when they have an area they can access frequently for relaxation, such as with a Koi pond. – (from http://www.elertgadget.com/palert/the_benefits_of_koi_ponds_1120.htm)
If you decide to opt for a Koi pond, look to somewhere like Absolute Koi so you can sort all your Koi needs in one place.
Grow some Goodness!
You don’t need a huge space to grow a little of your own fruit and veggies this summer. A lot of us have been meaning to try this for ages but never get round to it – so now is your chance! Find a raised patch of soil and get planting some summer seeds. Nothing more rewarding than enjoying a salad with tomatoes you’ve grown yourself or a crumble with freshly picked raspberries and blackberries! You’ll be a domestic goddess in no time.
If you have grass in your garden, there is nothing better than a few good old fashioned games with family and friends to while away the hours. The games you can play even with just a single ball are endless and I’m sure everyone will enjoy unlocking their inner child for a good game of Piggy in the Middle – especially after a few drinks! A cricket set or a Rounder’s bat also cos very little from budget stores and can provide hours of (competitive) fun. If you’re more civilised or simply a little restricted on space, a pack of cards outside is the perfect entertainment!