Covid Lockdown has encouraged more of us to use our gardens as outdoor entertaining spaces. In this article I’m looking at the ways that clever landscaping can turn an unloved lawn into an Instagram-worthy entertaining space.

Let’s look at the whole outdoor entertaining experience from your guests point of view, then we can discuss how landscaping can help turn your garden into THE place to be.

Parking spaces

Nobody loves trying to squeeze their vehicle into a tight space, bumping it onto the kerb or parking 500 yards up the road. Are you making the most of your front garden? Does it look good? feel safe?

A driveway makeover can make a huge difference to your guests’ experience. Plus, a driveway is for lifetime not just for party time. Imagine how much easier daily life could become.

modern driveway

A welcoming entranceway

Does the entrance to your garden invite people to come in and explore? Of course, your back gate needs to be secure enough to keep unwanted visitors out and children and pets in. There’s a balance. But if your gate sticks or the pathway is uneven, a good landscaper can help.

Here’s an example of a simple, moderately priced pathway. It’s well drained, buggy and wheelchair friendly and could easily have lighting added.

path to side entrance

Weather proofing your outdoor entertaining spaces with sheltered spaces and firepits

The British weather has a way of putting the dampers on outdoor entertaining. But you can prepare for that with some clever garden design and landscaping.

Creating a sheltered haven is key to outwitting the English weather. Garden screening ideas are not just for hiding the wheelie bins. Consider building a pergola, or using hedging or tall plants to create a wind break. A garden office could double up as a summer house and just imagine the convenience of having electrical points and plumbing close by.

Surfacing is of course crucial. Lawns are lovely for picnicking but in the aftermath of a rainstorm they could become muddy. A patio or some decking will keep your feet dry.

For those chilly afternoons or evenings, a firepit creates a wonderful ambience. If you’re not a fan of woodsmoke, ask your landscaper about a gas fired alternative. I like to have a basket of blankets on hand too. Perfect for laps, shoulders and groundsheets.

Eating al-fresco

Eating al-fresco

As I am writing this the government has lifted some of the covid-19 restrictions. Social distancing still applies but it’s OK for small groups of people to meet in gardens. I can’t think of a better excuse for a picnic.

Is your garden up to the job though? Do you have a hard standing for your furniture? Is your lawn comfy enough to sit on? What about keeping warm (or cool)?

No matter what the size of your garden, there’s no substitute for a well-made patio. Not only is it stylish and practical, it’s easy to sweep clean when everyone has gone home and it’s always ready to receive guests.

back garden with sandstone patio

Cooking out of doors

Outdoor kitchens are bang on trend right now. Everything you need from worktops, storage, preparation areas and a source of heat. Perfect. I dream of a pizza oven with a hearty meal cooking in it.

Fellow APL member Paul Baker is a barbecue fanatic and he wrote an inspirational blog a few weeks ago. I’ll publish the link at the end of this article so that you can read it for yourself. Highly recommended

Outdoor TV screens

It has to be the ultimate in luxury. A firepit, a comfy chair, good company and watching a movie whilst sat under the stars. Every garden makeover should make provision for an outdoor TV screen of some kind.

Ensuring that your garden is ready for visitors

You may feel a little self-conscious about the state of your garden – plenty of people do. But if a complete garden makeover is beyond your budget, you could try talking to the garden maintenance team at Manor Landscapes.

Our experienced landscapers and horticulturists can make short work of tidying your garden. Pruning, weeding, hedge trimming and mulching can transform any outdoor space in a relatively short time.

Even if you tidy away rubbish, hide wash down paths and patios, de-slime the deck and plant up some pots you’ll find that you feel a lot more comfortable in your garden. When you are confident, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy spending time with your visitors.

Need help or advice to create outdoor entertaining spaces?

Contact Manor Landscapes for an informal chat about what your garden needs

Visit our gallery for inspirational garden makeover ideas

Cooking outdoors – Paul Baker’s inspirational article for budding chefs