With a great garden comes great BBQ responsibility. There’s nothing finer than an afternoon of good food with friends and family. But what do you do if the sun’s just come out, everyone’s invited themselves over, and your garden’s a mess?
The answer is simple: if you’ve got 60 minutes and a can-do attitude, you can have your garden BBQ ready in no time. Here’s our emergency barbecue prep plan!
Mow the lawn
First things first – your lawn. The fastest, simplest way to get your garden looking good for guests is to trim the grass. It makes the whole place look neater in no time at all. Just make sure the lawn is completely dry before you start otherwise you might damage it.
Top tip: just as you want to avoid a dramatic haircut before a big event, you don’t want to cut your grass too short before an outdoor party. It’ll withstand more foot traffic with a bit of length to it.
Want to go the extra mile? The day before your BBQ, apply a fast-acting liquid lawn feed to the surface of your lawn and dilute it with a hosepipe. It will make sure your grass stays green and happy through the summer months.
Tidy and trim
Now, we’re not suggesting you get on your hands and knees to pull out every weed from every flower bed. This is party-prep for time-starved gardeners, after all. All you need to do is a few targeted strikes.
Brush back any bits of stray soil or gravel that might have become dislodged, for example. And if your borders look a bit untidy or sad, give them a bit of love with a hefty helping of fresh compost.
The problem of pesky overgrown or overhanging branches can be solved with a pair of secateurs; a few quick snips here and there can turn your garden from messy to marvellous in no time. Pay particular attention to the area around your BBQ – you want to make sure it’s free of any flammable obstructions.
If you don’t have time to trim, here’s a quick save: bring a tighter focus around the BBQ area itself. Move a few colourful containers from elsewhere in the garden to surround your seating area. Or, for a cheaper option, surround yourself with pots of fresh herbs. Not only are they lovely to look at, but the herbs will be really useful at the bbq. Hardy ones like thyme and rosemary are great in marinades; and basil, parsley, and tarragon are wonderful additions to summer salads.
Refresh your garden furniture
Garden furniture that lives outside all year-round might need a little attention to get it BBQ ready. You’ll want to give everything a good scrub so your guests aren’t sitting on dirty chairs!
If your wooden furniture still looks a bit tired once it’s clean, make a note to treat it with a stain or beeswax when you have a bit more time. A treatment will make it look as good as new, and protect it for the coming months.
Incidentally, the same goes for your patio area. If you’ve got decking or flagstones, cleaning them with a hose and a brush will give the whole area a new lease of life.
Has your existing garden furniture seen better days? There are some great, affordable pieces that are worth the investment if you like to entertain outdoors often. Perhaps a few new Adirondack chairs for some classic coastal charm? Or a new rattan dining table and chairs with outdoor cushions. And this foldaway banquet table is a great way to serve all the delicious BBQ food.
Lighting is a quick and easy way to add special ambience to an evening outdoors. If you’ve got trellis, or some well-placed shrubbery, then using battery- or solar-powered lights is a no-brainer. They’re quick and easy to hang and means that you don’t need to cut the fun short as the sun fades.
A few pillar candles or tea lights will also help set the mood. If you’re in a spot where mosquitoes are a problem, citronella candles, will do double duty – discourage the mossies, and make your party glow.
During the day, bunting is a fun way to add a splash of colour. And if you’ve got a wheelbarrow lying around, repurpose it as a bar! Fill it with ice and load it full of your favourite drinks so they stay nice and cold. Just remember to have a few picnic blankets to hand (which can always disguise unruly grass if you didn’t get round to mowing) and a few comfy cushions for people to sit on, and you’re done.
All that remains is to man the BBQ and enjoy!
If you've got any handy time-saving tricks for garden tidying, drop us a message on our Facebook page - we'd love to hear about them!