Beginner Renovator? 6 Ideas for a Dramatic Backyard Transformation

Beginner Renovator? 6 Ideas for a Dramatic Backyard Transformation

With people spending more time at home than ever before, many are looking to increase their valuation by renovating their garden or backyard. Giving your backyard a little DIY makeover can provide you and your family a relaxing outdoor space to unwind after work and school. 

With so many ideas for dramatic backyard transformations, it can be hard to know where to draw your inspiration. For those looking to get their hands dirty, here are six ideas for a dramatic backyard transformation.  

Over-seed your lawn for overwhelming results

Create a stunning green lawn by over-seeding
Photo by Andy Watkins on Unsplash

A lush, luxurious green lawn invites people to lie in the sun and curl their toes in the grass. For that thriving turf appearance, try over-seeding your yard. Over-seeding involves planting new grass seed in patchy and thin areas without overturning your soil. When homeowners over-seed, they make their lawns look healthy and full of colour. Over-seeding also makes lawns resistant to insects and lowers the chances of diseased grass.

Homeowners have several grass seeds to choose from, but these are the best options for over-seeding:

  • Annual or perennial ryegrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Red or tall fescue

For that dramatic before-and-after picture, homeowners should invest in a high-quality grass seed to cover any bald patches in their yard.

Add a patio 

Regardless of the size of your yard, adding a patio immediately creates a dramatic space for entertaining. If you already have a deck or a patio, consider updating it with new flagstones. Rather than making the patio square or rectangular, rounded edges will give it a unique, natural look.

Add some comfortable furniture, a patio umbrella, and a fire pit to create a relaxing space where friends and family enjoy sharing time. You could also add an outdoor rug to make the space more inviting to those who love the great indoors.  

Consider adding patio seating areas in unexpected areas, like near flower beds or under shade trees. When it comes to a DIY backyard reno, it pays to think outside the box. 

Cosy and private outdoor backyard entertaining area
Photo by Collov Home Design on Unsplash

Give your small space an upgrade

Homeowners with limited yard space can still transform it into a refreshing outdoor living area. Find pieces that add drama, like moveable water features, plant walls, or small decks. Incorporate your favourite touches, like sculptures, pillows, or anything that makes you want to sit outside and enjoy the space. Smaller spaces can work in your favour if you create a cozy, nook-like atmosphere.

Paint your concrete

Removing concrete is challenging and costly. If you’re stuck with the concrete in your backyard, try freshening up its appearance by painting it. Some homeowners paint their concrete to resemble tile floors, while others paint trendy murals or use stencils to add interest. If you have kids, you can also reserve a section of concrete for chalk murals or hopscotch. 

Build raised beds for dramatic gardening

Garden planters open up the possibility of creating veg gardens in even the smallest of spaces
Photo by Michael PAMBO O. on Unsplash

If you’re looking to make a bold statement in your backyard, add raised plant beds of various sizes. The height adds interest, while the plants add colour. The internet is full of DIY plans for building raised beds and planting flowers, berries, and vegetables in them. 

Add unique privacy walls 

Gone are the days of the boring white picket or wooden fence. You can add interest to your backyard by using privacy dividers with greenery and planters. With attractive partitions, green walls, and trellises, backyards become more aesthetically pleasing while maintaining privacy.

Wrap up

Creativity is the key to creating a dramatic and relaxing backyard. With luxurious grass, colourful raised beds, and unique outdoor furniture and structures, revamping your yard is easier than you might think. Consider recycling or repurposing old yard implements to keep the transformation affordable and eco-friendly. Good luck, and don’t be scared to get your hands dirty. 

Featured image credit: House with green lawn Image: Marco De Winter, Unsplash



Chic Outdoor Party Decoration Ideas for Any Space

Chic Outdoor Party Decoration Ideas for Any Space

A rustic, chic space for hosting friends and family sets the scene.

A little food and music are essentials to any party. When you take the party outdoors, large open spaces and simple gardens can become a little boring without all your interior decor to create an atmosphere. Having a selection of items ready for your outdoor party can bring warmth and vitality, jazzing up any occasion. 

Get creative and bring your chic theme out into the open air with these simple but effective ideas.

String and Fairy Lights

String fairy lights in your garden to create atmosphere at an outdoor party
Photo by Bradley Pisney on Unsplash

A classic addition to any outdoor decor selection are string lights. There are so many options for outdoor lights, but their timeless style of these lights always set the mood. 

To keep it minimal, framing your space with poles and connecting string lights to them is a simple and classic way of creating a relaxing atmosphere.

To add a little more, you can mix it up with the finer fairy light style. These little lights can go anywhere: you can wind them between wall fixtures, around plant pots, or scrunch them up in a vase and suddenly you have a centrepiece!

Throws and Cushions

Use throws and cushions to add comfort, colour and texture at an outdoor party
Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash

Whether you are throwing a party in your garden, the farm shed or the forest, having throws at hand to put on the grass or even the odd hay bale will really transform a space.

Choose a selection of throws that match the theme you have in your home or garden space. Bold contrasting colours or light pastels are always firm favourites. To finish off the look, add in a mix of large and small cushions following the same colour scheme and you’ll have a space that looks modern and fresh.

Hoop Wreaths

Outdoor table laid with homemade decorations
Photo by Ibrahim Boran on Unsplash

Here is a fun DIY project for the weekend! There are some beautiful hoop wreath designs out there, particularly where the hoop is exposed and flowers are arranged to one side. This design adds an elegant touch that will transform any space your wreath occupies.

Stick to your theme when choosing the colours of your flowers, or go for a classic leaf design for a refined rustic look. You can hang it as a permanent feature on a shaded wall or bring it out to jazz up unconventional spaces.

A Fire Pit

A fire pit provides warmth and comfort for an outdoor evening party
Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Hosting friends and family outdoors does not have to be limited to the summer months with a fire pit. Cosying in around the bellowing flames exchanging stories as the night draws in is an atmosphere that you’ll want to recreate again and again. 

It’s a good idea to keep your fire pit in a shaded area to minimise smoke. You should also keep it away from anything that is hanging low or easy to catch fire for your safety. 

Create memories with your loved ones with these outdoor decoration ideas that will convert a space from drab to chic throughout the year. With a little thought and a defined theme, you’ll find yourself enjoying outdoor parties more and more.

Featured image credit: Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash



How to Host the Perfect Alfresco Lunch or Dinner

How to Host the Perfect Alfresco Lunch or Dinner

We may be able to move back indoors for meals with friends but many of us will still prefer an outdoor setting this summer. After all, lots of us have been working flat out on our gardens over the last few months and are keen to show off the fruits (and flowers!) of our labour. If you’re meeting outdoors, you can have more guests as well (see the Government website for up to date restrictions on numbers of people who can meet).

If you’re feeling anything like us, you may think that you’ve completely forgotten how to host any kind of social event – so we’ve put together a list of our top tips for hosting an outdoor meal to help you sail through the occasion with aplomb.

Keep the menu simple – fresh, seasonal salads look lovely and can be pre-prepared. Image: (c) 2021 Pixabay

Keep it simple

We’re all so over-excited at actually being able to invite friends over for a meal that the temptation might be to go completely over the top! While everyone appreciates a little effort, you don’t want to be so tied up in the catering that you don’t get a chance to sit down and talk to your friends.

Plan a simple menu that you know how to prepare, and do as much of it as possible beforehand. Stick to one hot dish such as a quiche or pastries which can be pre-made and heated up at the last minute, and serve it with cold salads. These latter can be put out on the table beforehand, just keep them covered up against insects. Barbecues are a good way of being able to cook and chat at the same time!

Mix and match crockery for an eclectic feel. Image: (c) 2021 Pixabay

Create some atmosphere

Even if you’re hosting a lunch rather than a dinner, candles and lights outside always help create a magical atmosphere – and using insect repellent candles can be practical as well as attractive! Hang outdoor solar-powered lights from trees, place storm lanterns on low walls or on windowsills or in trees.

If your event is taking place in the evening, then hanging lanterns around the perimeter of your garden helps to add depth and creates a really pretty environment as the sun sets. If you have small children or pets running around, then an LED battery-operated ‘candle’ gives the same effect and you don’t have to keep getting up to re-light it!

Use fresh flowers from the garden to decorate an impromptu table. Image: (c) 2021 Pixabay

Make people comfortable

If you’re planning to stay outside no matter what, then your guests may well appreciate some throws and blankets. It may be summer, but just sitting down and not moving around can be chilling! Add cushions for seats and possibly a parasol against sun (or drizzle!) if you have room.

Make life easy

If you’re using disposable plates, cups and cutlery then consider eco-friendly, compostable versions – when the meal is over you can just sweep the whole lot into the compost bin! If you’re buying in some reusable picnic plates specially, check they’re the kind that will go in the dishwasher.

Set up a ‘bar’

Well stocked bar cart or drinks trolley
Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

If you have a hostess trolley or small table, then stock it with drinks and glasses and set it up in a corner out of the way. Then all the clutter is off the table and guests can get up and help themselves without having to ask. You could also add a bottle of sanitiser so that guests can help themselves before they touch any bottles.

Main image credit –  (c) 2021 Pixabay



Five Trends in Outdoor Design We Are Loving

Five Trends in Outdoor Design We Are Loving

As more people are making use of their outdoor spaces and gardens, new trends are emerging. Here are five trends in outdoor design that we’re particularly enjoying at the moment.

Making Outdoor Spaces More Functional

Nice example of a vertical garden growing edible plants
Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

Homeowners are keen to have outdoor spaces represent something akin to stylish and functional open-air rooms. For instance, they may have a trellis supporting a vertical garden, growing flowers or vegetables, yet also using the trellis in the role of a private fence or a boundary wall. With built-in seats and garden beds filled with colourful plants, outdoor spaces are being transformed into the ideal place for entertaining too.

Similarly, there are well-illuminated outdoor decks, kitchens, and living rooms. With the aid of fire tables and fire pits, as well as systems for cooling and misting, the outdoors become perfect for family dinners and get-togethers.

Greater Usage of Machines and Technology

Dining table for eating outdoors
Photo by Natural Goods Berlin on Unsplash

There is an attempt to streamline outdoor tasks via mechanical equipment and technological tools. People want to become more efficacious in nurturing and conserving the environment, too. It’s good to see people using robotic lawnmowers to give lawns a neater and even appearance. Other advancements include well-maintained electrical (outlets and USB ports) and lighting (practical and stylish light fixtures) systems, irrigation systems that can undergo programming, all-weather Bluetooth speakers, high-tech outdoor Wi-Fi or Internet networks, outdoor projectors, and TVs. In fact, the outdoors is becoming a smart extension of the indoors, permitting relaxation, working-from-home and studying anywhere and everywhere!

Display of Creative Accessories

Metals (generally, good-quality iron and steel) have become the in-thing, as far as garden or landscape accessories are concerned. They come into play for decorations, furniture, whimsical or fashionable extensions, water features and so on. In fact, metals are great for focal points and accents. Of course, manufacturers, such as Neighbor Furniture take great care to make everything waterproof or water-resistant, and rust-proof. As for conveying an impression of softness and good texture, planted centrepieces, colourful rugs, pillows, throw blankets and poufs do the job well.

Pergolas are in Fashion

Luxurious outdoor pergola with curtains
Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Landscape professionals opt for composite materials or well-polished wood, for awarding that sophisticated look. Today’s pergolas are really stepping up from the basics, with some boasting fire features, luxurious kitchen areas, or seating areas. They may also display sound and lighting systems, roll-down windows, and space heaters.

Pink is the Colour of Choice

Landscapes are acquiring an increasingly ‘feminine’ look and the colours blush and coral are becoming the shades of choice. Landscape designers are opting for flowering plants that will yield lush-pink flowers in all their diverse hues. They include hibiscus, roses, zinnias, and petunias. As for stone selections and hardscapes, light shades of blush come into play, giving the impression of neutral colours.



Top 10 Barbecues For Summer Dining

Top 10 Barbecues For Summer Dining

There’s a strong rumour going around that summer is here! (we’re not sure if we’re prepared to believe it just yet, but fingers crossed…). With restrictions lifting and the weather improving, not to mention evenings getting longer, outdoor dining is once again a possibility. There’s nothing to beat a good old barbecue, so we’ve scoured the retailers to find the best of the barbecues and accessories for summer. Here’s what we’ve found!

1. American-style barbecue grill, Von Haus

American-style barbecue grill, Von Haus

This American-style BBQ has a huge cooking surface suitable for larger groups. The 2-in-1 functionality of this traditional charcoal grill means you can cook meat, fish and vegetables over the barbecue flames or in the wood smoker for a distinctive smoked flavour. Simply close off the ventilation and stack woodchips beneath the grill to convert it from a barbecue to a smoker. £189.99, available from Von Haus.

2. Broil King classic 301 barbecue, Dobbies

Broil King classic 301 barbecue, Dobbies

The Broil King Crown Classic 310 Gas BBQ is perfect if you’d rather have the ease and speed of gas instead of charcoal. It offers performance and versatility with a contemporary look. Features include cast iron cooking grids and a built-in thermometer. £449, available from Dobbies. 

3. Portable barbecue, Annabel James

Portable barbecue, Annabel James

A mini suitcase-style portable barbecue. This versatile BBQ grill is ideal for the beach, on a boat, camping etc.  Comes emblazoned with the words “The Adventure Begins”. It would also sit on a tabletop for smaller garden spaces. Was £64.95 now £59.95, available from Annabel James. 

4. Stripe rose white beach BBQ bucket, Ciel Shop Interiors

Stripe rose white beach BBQ bucket, Ciel Shop Interiors

At just £16.95, available from Ciel Shop Interiors, this cute little travel barbecue won’t cook a family lunch for six but it’s perfect for simple meals for two. You could even toast marshmallows as the sun goes down! It features a natural eucalyptus wooden carry handle and comes complete with grill.

5. Portable steel Ibiza barbecue, Ella James

Portable steel Ibiza barbecue, Ella James

For a slightly sturdier version of the travel barbecue, how about this versatile little steel bucket perfect for taking on picnic trips or to the beach this summer. It comes in a pretty sea blue and is easy to light and to carry around. £49, available from Ella James. 

6. Compact kettle charcoal barbecue, Weber

Compact kettle charcoal barbecue, Weber

Ideal for small spaces is this traditional 47cm compact kettle barbecue from Weber. It uses charcoal for a traditional ‘BBQ’ flavour and costs £99.99 from Dobbies. It’s also available in a larger 57cm size.

7. Rockwell 410 charcoal barbecue, GoodHome

Rockwell 410 charcoal barbecue, GoodHome

The rockwell 410 charcoal barbecue has a large cooking space that allows you to feed up to 16 people. It comes with an electric rotisserie and has a side stand to keep accessories close at hand. The grills can be put in the dishwater for cleaning, making it a practical choice. Was £444, now £325, available from B&Q.

8. Beer barrel BBQ grill, Tramontina

Beer barrel BBQ grill, Tramontina

This stylish, contemporary barbecue only needs 1.5kg of charcoal to cook a full BBQ. With its rounded handles, it’ll be easy to move this grill right to the heart of the action to ensure you don’t miss a moment with your friends and family. It won’t take up much space, either! It costs £79.95 and is available from Cuckooland.

9. Portable Kamado ceramic grill 15″ barbecue, Gardenesque

Portable Kamado ceramic grill 15″ barbecue, Gardenesque

Take your barbecuing to another level with this portable Kamado ceramic grill and smoker that heats up ready for cooking in 15 minutes, perfect for a weekend camping trip. Designed to allow for precise temperature control, ranging from 107 and 399 degrees celsius, you can use this charcoal grill for grilling, searing, baking and smoking by adding wood chips to the charcoal. £499, available from Gardenesque. 

10. Plain Jane firepit with swing arm BBQ rack, Firepits UK

Plain Jane firepit with swing arm BBQ rack, Firepits UK

Kill two birds with one stone with this firepit with swing arm barbecue rack. Practical yet functional, the swing arm is fully removable by simply lifting off post cooking allowing you to enjoy the warmth, light and atmosphere of your fire pit late into the evening. Prices start at £245 from Firepits UK.

Main image (c) 2021 Pixabay