It’s supposed to be nice weather later in the week, so here’s a post about little jobs you can do in advance to maximise your enjoyment of the garden, park or balcony.
1. Decide what you want your garden to do for you. Do you want it to be an outdoor sitting room (for the sunbathing kind of person), an outdoor kitchen (for the keen cook), an outdoor dining room (for the keen host) or an outdoor playroom (probably inevitable if you are the parent of young children)? It may be that you are trying to be all things at once, but it would end up being a lot more stylish and/or easier to use if you did some simple zoning. Investment in simple storage solutions for children’s toys, BBQ equipment and so on might help this as well.
2. Have you got an eyesore in your garden? Russian Vine, also known as “A mile a minute” will clad it in no time at all.
3. No BBQ? Don’t worry. If you get hold of a few paving slabs and old bricks, you can improvise. Put down two slabs on the ground, then put three or four layers of bricks on top, wide enough for the grid out of your domestic grill pan (you don’t need mortar for the bricks, or anything like that). Rest your grill pan on top and use logs or BBQ coals to create a fire on the slabs. This is also a good way of making an impromptu fire pit as well.
4. Plant herbs near where you plan to cook, or grow them in recycled tubs and jars, so you can cut them as you go along. You can also plant food near your table. ‘Tumbler’ tomatoes grow well in a hanging basket, for example, and ‘Cut and come again’ lettuce will grow well in tubs and planters, as will purple basil – hey presto, an instant salad!
5. No money for garden furniture? Consider laying a couple of pallets down with a mattress on top to make a sunbed, or if you would like to entertain, get hold of an old table, chop the legs down to half the height, and paint it to create a Japanese style table. Your guests can sit on cushions.
6. Have a pretty basket or box with all your picnic equipment in, ready to go. Collect things like salt sachets and salad dressing packets so you don’t have to scrabble around much on the day.
7. Create an outdoor play kit so you can relocate to the garden at a moment’s notice, and you don’t have to keep running in and out of the house for things. You might want to include a couple of beach towels, a waterproof picnic rug, suncream, sunglasses, flip flops, a decent novel or magazine, and a swimming nappy for any little ones.