Create a stylish yet functional outdoor area for summer entertainment.
Embrace alfresco living
T ransforming a redundant area of your garden into a sumptuous space to entertain might seem like a daunting and expensive task. However, there are many ways to achieve your vision while sticking to a budget – all that's needed is a little imagination and the Kiwi DIY attitude. Good's advertising sales manager Rosie McGaffin converted an uninspiring patch of grass on the side of her garden into her dream alfresco dining area – complete with a sun sail and a small veggie garden. It only took a day in total to complete, but will bring years of good times to be shared with loved ones.
Here's how it's done
Start by marking out the area and clear it of undesired debris and weeds. If you have a compost bin, see the Good guide to composting on page 86 to find out what you can add to your bin during this clearing process, otherwise shift the rest to your garden bag. Flatten and even the area out with a spade and a rake (you don't want a sloped table upon completion). You'll need a sledge hammer if you are getting rid of a concrete surface. Wear closed in shoes and safety glasses when clearing the site to prevent injuring eyes and feet.
Once done, lay down your weed mat and secure it with weed mat pins (these should be near the weed mat in your garden centre).
Create a border for your area and add character by using old chimney bricks and raised garden edging. Lay pavers to create a pathway to your barbecue and add a few extra to create a flat surface for the barbecue and gas canister. Scatter pebbles evenly on the rest of the surface until you have covered the area. Take care to choose pebbles that are comfortable to walk on with bare feet. Fill your surrounding garden area with soil and plants. Once you are happy with the fundamentals of your newly revonated layout, add accessories – pots, tables, chairs, sails... and relax!