Summer is here! With lockdown restrictions eased we can see each other again, so let’s get the garden ready for entertaining.
Take A Seat
Seating is always first on our garden essentials list when preparing the garden for entertaining. Taking a pew in your garden is one of life’s pleasures whether you’re enjoying a quiet early morning cup of coffee or entertaining a crowd.
Arbours are always popular because they’re attractive structures especially if you wrap solar lights around the slats for soft dusk lighting. Benches are a good addition too and you can’t go wrong with a traditional style. This particular bench has integral planters for extra growing space. Choose bright, scented flowers and no-one can resist a cheeky 5-minute break there.
Alongside your ‘proper’ outdoor seating dust down the emergency chairs and oil creaky folding seat hinges for those guests that always turn up unannounced. We’re looking at you Uncle Chris!
Kids are usually happy with a large blanket on the ground – throw down some cushions, colouring books, and they’re happy.
Instant Impact Plants
Good planting transforms a garden and our large plants create instant impact.
Surround your entertaining space with fragrant colourful containers and you’ll have a garden to be proud of within a few hours. Here’s a good selection of container plants that’ll manage well if you water and feed them regularly.
Need more tips to consider when planting up your outdoor entertaining space? Say no more!
Lots of our large plants are sweet-smelling such as daphne or lavender. Fragrant star jasmine is always popular and more unusual is camphor laurel that gives off a cinnamon spicy scent. It’s usually used as hedging, but it’ll suit a specimen container too.
If you have a fence or trellis nearby a climber like star jasmine, a passionflower, or a climbing rose will block out your nosy neighbours and provide shade or wind shelter for your guests. We recommend Rosa Barock – this beautiful yellowy-pink climbing rose is a real stunner.
Planting that doubles as food
Admire your plants and eat them too!
Bay goes well on grilled meats and mint not only improves water it keeps flies away if you squeeze a few leaves throughout the day. Keep mint in a container though because it spreads like wildfire.
Rosemary is another fragrant plant that doubles as food. It enhances red meat like lamb and its evergreen so you can pick it throughout the winter months.
Dessert time? The best bit! What about a currant bush? Currants can be picked straight off the plant and dropped onto ice cream.
Play With Colours
A theme of one or maybe two colours is a popular way of sprucing up an entertaining space. White is always a popular choice.
Good white plants include agapanthus, white lilacs, RHS winner white hydrangea, and RHS winning rock roses. Bedding plants like cosmos and lobelia tuck around container edges to soften lines. For more white ideas, see plants for a white garden.
If you prefer a different colour just type it into our search bar.
Texture and Structure
Colour isn’t everything. In shadier areas, large lush leaves create a tropical feel. Why not go all out with a massive gunnera for the best photo opportunities?
In hotter areas standard lollipop bay trees, holly, yew, and conifers create structure. Take a look at our blog on using dwarf conifers if you need some ideas. Conifers are hardwearing in high traffic areas and we love them.
We couldn’t mention structure without suggesting box. These box cubes are excellent, but if you’re in a box blight area try the Betterbuxus blight-resistant varieties such as Renaissance. They grow fast so you can shape them as you please.
Combining texture, structure, and colour is a UK favourite – Buddleia. Buddleia has bright structural flowers plus it’s tough and you can cut it down to the ground each spring. RHS AGM winner Miss Ruby is a compact pink one that’ll sit happily in a container, there are also white and purple/blue varieties. The butterflies will thank you.
Cooking Up Your Food
With your plants looking fine, you can concentrate on the chef.
Cooking outside is a pleasure with the right equipment. Is it time to upgrade the BBQ? We have gas-powered and charcoal BBQs but becoming more popular are fire pits. Fire pits create heat and light as the day wears on and some firepits double as a BBQ. Great space savers!
If you’re not keen on BBQ food then a pizza oven is the way forward. They are pricey but good investments. If you clean them and cover them up in winter they’ll last a lifetime.
Safe and Attractive Flooring
An overlooked aspect of an entertaining space is the ground. Damp grass, mud, and uneven soil aren’t nice to stand on so spruce them up with bark chippings, gravel, paving, turf or artificial grass. It makes a big difference.
If your entertaining space is the patio or decking this top-notch scrubbing brush will help remove winter stains – and finally why not improve the lawn?
Rake out moss and thatch then reseed any bare patches. Grass seed grows quickly if you keep it watered and protect it with fleece against those inevitable hungry pigeons and cats looking for a toilet.
What a note to end on!
We hope that’s inspired you to spruce up your outdoor space. If you need any plant, cooking equipment, or seating advice on preparing the garden for entertaining, get in touch and we’ll do our best to help you out.
Here’s to a hot summer and sunny days with friends. Cheers!