If hosting family barbecues are your idea of heaven then it’s time to think about your garden design and layout with this in mind. Outdoor living is increasingly popular and creating relaxed al fresco dining areas mean that families and friends will have a lovely place in which to relax during the summer months. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your garden space.
Choose your lifestyle
First of all, decide whether the garden and BBQ area should have a modern and contemporary feel or whether a traditional country cottage effect is preferable. If there will be smaller children or grandchildren around, a safe play area in the garden will be needed, well away from the cooking area but still within sight of the adults.
Decks have long been popular and a good deck project is a key part of many garden plans. If a deck is to accommodate an eating area it is best not to place it too far away from the access door to the house as tableware and glasses will likely have to be shipped in and out frequently, unless there is a refrigerator, icemaker and storage space elsewhere in the garden. Decks don’t have to be just square or rectangular, they can be fitted in an awkward corner if need be.
The kids will enjoy being consulted about garden plans; they may want to decide where to locate a sandbox, for example or a small swimming or paddling pool. Bear in mind there should be plenty of shade available if children are playing outdoors.
For individuals who like to stay out late on summer evenings it’s wise to give consideration to garden lighting and possibly heating. Solar powered lights can be placed almost anywhere and a chimney-type barbecue helps control smoke and where it goes, so it’s worth considering where it should be located at the design stage.
Remember to think about the maximum capacity of any deck that is intended to be used as a dining area. A space that is cozy for six people will not be much fun for 12 or more. The same applies if loungers are to be set up outside; the number of people that can be accommodated comfortably on the deck will be important.
If a patio is more appealing there are plenty of choices when it comes to materials and, as with attractive decking, patio furniture will enhance some of the lovelier types of stone paving. Stone is also better when it comes to accidental spills, as decks will stain more readily.
Sloping gardens can be terraced, which is ideal if creating a specific BBQ preparation area separate from the dining terrace and the kids’ play space. Remember to consider garden planting; while trees and hedges are useful for screening and shade the BBQ itself should not be positioned too close to something that is easily ignitable. It’s nice to have a small herb garden in the vicinity of the BBQ, however, because the chef is then able to use fresh herbs when seasoning the food.