Come April, it’s hoped restrictions will lift on outdoor socialising again across parts of the UK, meaning up to six people will be able to meet in outdoor spaces such as parks and gardens.
After the longest winter spent indoors, the opportunity to socialise – albeit socially distanced and outdoors – will come as a huge relief to many who’ve been unable to see loved ones since last summer.
If you’ve got a garden, balcony or roof terrace of your own, here are some ideas on how you can liven them up ahead of having your family and friends over.
- From 29 March, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either six people or two households will be allowed in England.
- Six people from up to three households could be able to meet outdoors in Scotland from April 26.
- In Wales, four people from two households can currently meet in their local area outdoors, including in gardens.
- From 1 April, up to six people (including children) from no more than two households can meet up outdoors in a private garden in Northern Ireland.
1. Bring the holiday to you
We can’t travel right now, but you can bring holiday vibes to your back garden or balcony. Leafy prints, well-positioned fairy lights, and trendy rattan furniture combine to create a little slice of paradise at home.
2. Get a corner sofa on the go
Whether you buy one or make one (Pinterest is a great place to see how people have built them from old pallets), you won’t regret a corner seat in your back garden. Perfect for socially distanced meet-ups.
3. Invest in some new blooms
Get yourself to the garden centre and splurge on some pretty potted plants that are already in bloom. It’ll bring a bit of much-needed colour to your back garden and, if you have a few pots, provides a great way to section off your social area.
4. Crack out the decorations
You can finally see your family – this is cause for celebration! Simple tweaks to your outdoor space can bring it to life and it can be done relatively inexpensively too. Bunting? Check. Paper lanterns? Check. Floral pom-poms? You betcha.
5. Invest in an outdoor rug
Perfect for smaller gardens, patio spaces and balconies, an outdoor rug will not only brighten up your space but it can also hide any unsightly slabs you need to clean or replace. What’s more, if you grab some cushions from your sofa, you can sit on the rug if there’s a shortage of chairs.
6. Go monochrome
Feeling like your outdoor space needs a revamp but not sure how – or even where – to begin? A quick fix is to stick to a monochrome colour palette. Mix black and white textiles with wooden furniture for a modern update. Feeling like going one step further? Paint any nearby fences and pergolas a darker colour.
7. Swap slabs for tiles
This is a bit more labour intensive, but for a Mediterranean theme in your yard ahead of summer, invest in some outdoor tiles rather than your bog standard garden slabs. They’re a bit more finicky to lay but once they’re down, you’re guaranteed to wow friends and family with your trendy, new outdoor space.
8. Opt for multiple seating arrangements
Even the smallest of spaces, like balconies, can be designed in a way that makes the area feel bigger than it is. Try fitting a bench one end and a small bistro table the other, with cushions, small plants and rugs to break up the gaps between.
9. Don’t forget your throw(s)
It might be spring, but the air is still pretty cool of an evening so if you’re having a couple of friends over, it’s popping some blankets on chairs in case people start to feel the cold. Worried about Covid? Stick them in the wash after on a 60 degree cycle.
10. Bolden up your bench
If you’re short on garden furniture but have an old bench lying around, give it a new lease of life with a few coats of bold-coloured outdoor paint. Stick it in a sunny spot and you’re good to go.
11. Don’t forget candles
If you’re on a budget, a few well-placed cushions and candles from your living room – or bought cheaply online – can jazz up old garden furniture.
Give your benches and chairs a good clean before having people over, especially if they’ve been sat outside all winter; add your cushions and place candles nearby; and you’re good to go.