From Friday this week, people can meet in groups of six adults from six households in outdoor settings and people are permitted to travel across Scotland as long as they do not stay overnight.
From April 26th the restrictions on journeys in mainland Scotland will be lifted, all retail premises will re-open, up to four people from two households can socialise indoors in a public place, gyms will open, six people from up to three households can meet outdoors and non-essential work on homes can resume.
With the news that we can socialise from this Friday, many people are now looking at their outside space with a view to getting it ready for socially distanced gatherings. After a year of lockdowns this is exciting news, but you might not know where to start.
Here are some handy garden ideas to ensure you have everything you should need to make your home’s outside space a welcoming place for your guests.
The most important aspect of a garden gathering is comfortable seating. Consider the space available and your budget and work from there. If you want to sit and chat, choose an outdoor rattan sofa and coffee table, but if you want to be able to eat, you’ll need a table that is dining height. Some sets enable you to raise the height of a table so you can use it for both. If you have a covered area, choose a comfortable outdoor sofa with cushions that can remain outside – but otherwise invest in a good cushion store or cover if you don’t have a shed or garage to store furniture in the winter. If your furniture will be outside year-round you might be better getting a metal table and chairs set rather than a wood or rattan set.
If you want something that looks good and is practical, consider a fire pit. Since lockdown began, fire pits have just increased in popularity becoming this year’s must-have garden accessory. Not only do they keep you warm, you can roast marshmallows and provide your garden with a stunning focal point. You could also consider a chiminea if you have children and want something more enclosed.
Fairy lights draped along your fence, trees or in your parasol can transform your garden into a pretty area in which to relax and entertain guests. There are many options available from battery or mains operated to solar lights. Festoon lights are particularly popular for gardens as these give a good amount of light.
Avoid having to go back and forth into the house with a drinks trolley. With the rules stating people can only go into the house to use the bathroom, you don’t want to be up and down fetching drinks as the host. There are lots of stylish options available with plenty of storage space so you can wheel out the trolley whenever your guests arrive!
Try and make your outside space comfortable by bringing soft furnishings into your entertaining space – rugs, cushions, throws and candle holders can make the area cosy and welcoming. Many of the soft furnishings available can be left outside during the summer – although it’s wise to cover them up when it’s raining.
Here in Scotland especially, it can get cold in the evenings in the summer. Although a fire pit gives some warmth, you might want to invest in a patio heater. Choose from gas or electric – there are several options that are inexpensive to run and enable you to stay outside until late without feeling the chill.