In preparation for the BBQ season, many of us may be starting to think about our general garden designs and layouts and how to incorporate the ‘outdoors living’ way of life into our gardens. Gardens up and down the country are now busy being designed, built and crafted into relaxed outdoor eating areas where families and friends can relax over the summer months.
Designing the best garden to fit into your lifestyle can be as important as the way you design the interior of your house. There are many factors you need to think about before you start designing and ‘building’ your garden with a specific BBQ area in mind.
For starters, do you want your garden to have a modern and contemporary feel? Do you live in a country cottage? You may be wanting to maintain the traditional feel of your garden? Do you have children and want a safe play area in the garden but do not want it to take over (you’ll still want a grown up area, where you can sit and enjoy your garden once the children have gone to bed!) Modern house? You need a modern outdoor living area – possibly using modern building materials and incorporating contemporary features like lighting and Euro-style BBQ architecture. London terrace homes can get away with both ‘country cottage’ and modern design styles.
Decking is now a really popular part of any garden and decking design is a key factor in many garden building plans. For example, will you want your decking to come straight out from the back of the house? If your garden is lower than the back of the house, you may want a raised deck area, with steps then down onto your lawn or you want steps from the house down to the decking, so then the deck flows straight onto the rest of the garden. It may even be that you want to design the decking away from the house, in another part of the garden. Remember to consider the distance from your back door or kitchen though because in the height of summer you’ll need to be able to rush food out when the BBQ is ready…or back in when the rains start!
Shape of a designed deck area is another part of overall garden design to think about, it doesn’t just have to be a square or rectangular shape. With the different sorts of timber available, including the ‘typical’ redwood Pine, anything is possible and it is important that the design, and even shades of timber, fits with the rest of the garden. If you are wanting your summer BBQ’s to run late in to the evening, you may need to consider lighting, and possibly heat. Therefore consider how electric/power will feed into your design. Want something a bit more permanent that doesn’t need packing up each autumn? Why not consider a Spanish chimney BBQ? These also help funnel the smoke away from the BBQ garden area (especially useful, if like us, you have a habit of creating smokey BBQ’s).
If you intend using the decking area as the main dining area, then size is a factor you need to consider. The design and shape of the decking needs to be large enough to fit the type of garden furniture you are going to have (or do already have). If it is going to be used as the sun area, then make sure there will be enough space once the sun beds are out with people lying on them, and of course for a small table to hold the Pimms…
You may be lucky enough to have a swimming pool and want the decking and BBQ area to be designed around the pool, making it a safe and comfortable way for people to enjoy being near the pool…but not in it.
Not everyone wants decking for their BBQ area nor is it suitable in every garden. Many gardens look better with a more traditional feel and many people like patios as an alternative. These days, with so many choices of stonework and materials, a patio doesn’t have to be square grey slabs in a rectangle. Consider brick edges patios, different types of stonework including those with a slightly uneven surface or even reclaimed material.
If your garden is on a slope, you could terrace using these materials and have one of these terraces specifically as your BBQ preparation ‘zone’.
If designing a patio area, think about the area of the garden you want it to be in. If you’re planning to be eating outside every time the sun comes out, a spot furthest away from the sounds of the neighbours, and with natural screening provided by hedges, trees and fences is preferable (possibly for them as well as you). Stonework won’t mark as badly as decking either, so if a guest spills a glass of red wine or Pimms, it’ll cause less damage on stonework than it would on timber.
Raised flower beds and vegetable beds designed within patio areas using the beds as low walls would not only look nice but would also be functional in having fresh herbs and produce right next to the BBQ chef to utilise in ‘his’ recipes. Fresh thyme, coriander or mint is fantastic on BBQ’d meat.
If you are planning on a doing a bit of garden building this spring, it’ll therefore be worth making sure that you think about what you want from your garden first as the most important thing when preparing a relaxed BBQ or entertaining area is in ensuring that the garden works for you, your family and your lifestyle. After all you will want to be able to enjoy it for as many months of the year as possible, how ever long that may end of being during a typical UK summer.