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How to Build a Functional Garden Bar Area


National Relaxation Day is nearly upon us. Every year on 15th August, we are encouraged as a nation to make an effort to spent a portion of our day relaxing and disconnecting from the hub-bub of daily life.

By learning to relax, we learn to unwind and de-stress, an important life skill in today’s very busy, chaotic world. And your garden is the ideal location for a relaxing read of a good book or a drink or two.

What stops you? Is it the lack of seating and garden bar area? Is it the lack of comfortable seating where you really can loiter, lounge and relax that stops you using the garden as it should be?

Creating a superb relaxation space is easier than you think and not so hard on the budget either.


STEP 1 – Choose your area well

A south facing garden will be drenched in summer sunshine all day. But it can make some areas of your garden, such as a seating area against a wall or in a courtyard incredibly hot.

In a north, east or west facing garden you will have pockets of shade at certain times. Consider what time of the day you are most likely to use it. If it is after work in an evening, for example, you’ll want your spacious wooden benches and loungers in a spot where you can enjoy the last of the sun’s rays.


STEP 2 – How will you use it?

It’s worth giving this more than a cursory answer of ‘when the sun shines’ because even though summers in the UK are predicted to get hotter, longer and dryer, we can’t rely on the British weather.

Consider whether adding a roof structure to the seating area would mean you would use it even more because who says you can’t relax in the garden when the rain is pitter-pattering on the roof?


STEP 3 – Money, money, money!

We really can’t go any further without drawing up some kind of plan when it comes to your budget either.

If your budget is very tight, creating a flat platform on which to safely sit would be a good starting point, adding benches and outdoor garden furniture at a later date. Don’t forget, you can always use indoor furniture in the garden too.

If you have a little more room in your budget, creating a sound base and then opting for the best garden furniture in your price range makes sense.

If you can add a roof to the area, all good and well but this could be added later.


STEP 4 – Make the base

You could, of course, rig up a temporary structure on the grass. Using a large parasol for shade, simply place your garden furniture on the lawn, pour a drink and relax.

But if you want to make it a more permanent feature, then creating a permanent flat base to the seating area is the best move.

You have a few choices when it comes to materials;

  • Paving slabs. These are easy to handle. But you’ll need sand and a bag of cement for sealing the gap between the flags but once laid, if you take your time to get each one level, you will have a seating area that will last years.
  • Concrete. This is also a great material, although it can be hard work mixing enough concrete yourself, especially if the seating area is large. Consider buying in the services of ready-mixed concrete poured by a crew.
  • Decking. Decking is a fantastic solution too and can be a great DIY job which is a relaxing way to spend time for some people.

STEP 5 – Add garden furniture

Stretch your budget to the best quality garden furniture you can afford. But don’t forget to include in your budget the protective covers to keep it in tip-top shape for when the sun gives way to autumnal rain and the cold of winter.

There are many options from comfy, spacious wooden bench – pile on the cushions and throws – to dining sets and sofas.


At a later date…

As and when your budget allows, you can add lighting and accessories or a fire pit for example. Create an outdoor garden bar area perfect for relaxing in on any day of the year!

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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