Top tips to take the garden from zero to hero this summer
Summer is the time to enjoy being outside. It’s barbecue and garden party season, the perfect opportunity for family gatherings and fun with friends. And when the sun is shining, we all want to enjoy our gardens, rather than just improve them. But, if your outdoor space is feeling a little drab it can take a bit of encouragement to head outside.
Never fear - you’ll be surprised how easy it is refresh your garden this summer. With just a bit of your time and a few well-chosen items, you can create a space that’s perfect for relaxing or entertaining.
To help, here are our top tips to get great garden results without lots of time and effort. And best of all, we’re not talking massive changes, just quick fixes to improve what you’ve already got - ideal if you’re renting or not keen on a big project.
Tools & materials required
Quick and easy updates for outdoor entertaining
Mow and weed the lawn
Begin by getting the lawn under control. Giving your lawn a trim is an easy way to make your garden look instantly neater. A lawnmower with a grass collection box leaves no mess behind, making it quicker to tidy away afterwards. For the perfect finishing touch, use a grass trimmer to leave crisp edges.
If garden weeds are getting in the way of enjoying your outdoor space, a weeder will make light work of removing these from lawns and borders. It’s a simple, no-mess way to remove dandelions, docks and other unwanted plants. For more on identifying and controlling weeds, head to our helpful guide.
Tidy paths and patios
Sweep paths, paving and decking with a stiff broom to remove leaves, dust and dirt. If you’ve got time, pressure wash surfaces to bring them back to life.
For a speedier refresh, bring colour and texture to your dining or seating space with an outdoor rug. It’s a great way to make your garden feel like an extension of your home – and can draw attention away from tired paving and patios.
Add colour with planting
Hanging baskets and containers bring an instant splash of colour to front and back gardens, terraces and balconies. Choose summer stunners such as bold geraniums or petunias for easy-care but high impact displays.
For a speedy makeover that’s bound to please, opt for one of our pre-planted baskets or containers. As we do the hard work planting them for you, there’s no need for tools or mess. We love our new Imara Bizzie Lizzie Hanging Baskets - check in-store for availability.
Or for guaranteed colour and minimal maintenance, choose our highly-realistic artificial topiary or hanging baskets – no watering required!
For more on creating your own hanging basket, visit our step-by-step guide.
Light up the garden
For evening get togethers, nothing sets the mood better than some subtle outdoor lighting. Hang garden string lights along fences or the front of sheds and garages; cluster lanterns and tea light holders on tables and add ground lights to patio planters or along your garden path. You don’t need an outdoor power supply – many of our lights are battery or solar-powered, taking just a few minutes to install.
Add some garden party panache
Bring the British summer to life by adding decorative flourishes to your garden. Like interior decor, there are so many styles and looks to choose from. Hot in 2018 is the classic garden gnome - an old favourite that's back in fashion with its retro charm. Or how about cute animal ornaments, colourful toadstools (pictured) or hanging pieces, such as stars and hearts, that move with the breeze?
These decorations can be refreshed and updated throughout the summer, and those that need hanging can be secured from hooks on wooden fences and trellis or even from suitable tree branches. We recommend using Command outdoor decorating hooks – they’re self-adhesive and removable so can be used on painted and treated wooden surfaces. Simply hang, enjoy and remove when you need to with no fuss.
Make the table the centrepiece
If you’re hosting an alfresco meal or barbecue, bring your table to life for the occasion. We love our stylish table cloths and placemats from the Rural range (pictured). Mix and match colours, including cool shades of concrete grey and indigo blue and the vibrant warmth of terracotta orange for a fun, eclectic look.
Wow guests with a centrepiece. Create one by arranging a cut flower bouquet in a vase, or cut a few pieces of greenery from your garden for your vase. For a contemporary look that’s right on trend, cluster our artificial succulents - perfect for adding texture and vibrant colour to your dining area.
Create a kids’ play space
Having fun in the garden doesn’t need lots of planning or massive play equipment. Kids of all ages will love building a play den outdoors – simply drape a blanket or bed sheet over a small table or a washing line to create an instant hideaway. And keep the little ones entertained with our wide range of fun outdoor games. From Giant Hopscotch to Lawn Darts, Junior Tennis to Frisbee - we've got summer fun covered.
Cosy up with cushions and covers
Entertaining outdoors should be just as comfortable as entertaining indoors, so encourage guests to linger by adding extra cushions and seat pads to dining chairs and garden benches. Place a few throws and blankets on the arms of chairs so they can stay warm even if a breeze picks up or temperatures drop into the evening. A chunky knit throw is a firm favourite and can double as a picnic blanket for relaxing or playing on the lawn.
Raise the temperature
A chimenea, fire pit or fire bowl is a guaranteed way to make evening entertaining special. Arrange seating around the fire to keep guests warm, and have barbecue skewers and marshmallows to hand for toasting. It’s a fun alternative to dessert and helps to beat off any chills as the evening cools down.