Designing Gardens for Pleasure
Sometimes gardens are designed without giving thought to the occasions when we can relax outdoors and enjoy what we have created. It is a pity to find that the only place to sit is an uncomfortable chair on a narrowor in a cramped porch! Despite the unpredictable nature of British weather, garden design increasingly takes into account the gardener’s leisure needs – whether it be an afternoon snooze in a recliner or an evening barbecue with friends – and also the requirements of privacy, both for yourself and your neighbours. For entertaining in , particularly after dark, lights and a barbecue area are useful accessories. And good is a must.
These are luxuries but can be very attractive. All lights must be water-sealed and weather-protected and should be placed so that they shine away from the house – and not into the eyes of the people viewing the garden’s delights.
Coloured lights can be positioned to highlight various features of the garden, with individual spots or floodlights picking out particular areas, adding a quite fantasticto the garden by night. Strings of coloured lights can look somewhat gaudy and too reminiscent of Christmas, but help to create a festive air for parties.
Illuminated posts with frosted glass on top and a bulb inside to shed an unobtrusive light, make very good markers forand other areas. Lamps which spotlight or floodlight are probably best for a dramatic effect. They should be placed low so that you see the light but not its source.
Moving water is always an interesting feature of the garden, in daylight or darkness. After dark and illuminated in subtle ways,takes on an even greater attraction, but be careful: too much lighting in water can be vulgar.
These may be home-built or purchased, easily set up, or the ultimate in versatility, a trolley with a bottled gas container, which reaches heat quickly and can be placed anywhere you want on the night. Trolley barbecues, whether gas or charcoal powered, can be stored inside.
The simplest brick barbecue is the sort you make by laying two rows of bricks with a grate, and adding three more layers of bricks topped with a metal grill. The charcoal burns on a tray on the grate, so that heat rises up through the grill. One side of the barbecue is of course left open, so that the fuel tray can be easily and safely reached. A circular barbecue sunk into a round pit, paved or rendered in concrete so that the guests can sit on cushions around the barbecue, provides real comfort. A further refinement is the barbecue table; the centre can be removed for the cooking to be done and later covered.
This can comprise simple folding table and chairs, which can be moved in and out of the garden shed as required. Otherwise the furniture, however decorative, should be tough enough to be left outside all year. This can be of wood, traditional wrought-iron, painted or plastic-coated or modern lightweight plastic or fibreglass. Whether you want chairs and tables for meals outside and relaxing, or furniture for sunbathing, simple designs tend to be more successful.