Any set designer will tell you that lighting is the most important element and, the garden, as a set, now needs illuminating. Here are some of our tips for creating a little ambience.
Fairy lights are always winners, put them in empty wine bottles along a wall or path edge for a real creative look. String them up a tree, wrap them around bushes and drape them over fences. The solar powered versions can look really good strung along the base of a table too – hooked on with those intriguing little table weights you can buy.
There are coloured fountains for the pool as well as floating candles but how about this for an idea? Try putting glow sticks inside balloons and floating them in your pool. Surreal!
Walking about can be dodgy, particularly at dusk, so paths and walkways shouldn’t be forgotten. You can create a tribal look with mosquito repellent torches lining the route, or opt for stones with solar lights for a more sophisticated scenario. For a casual, quaint and slightly oriental look you could also use fake tealight candles inside paper Chinese lanterns to line steps or brighten a dark corner.
Traditionally shaped light bulbs are the new bright spark in garden lighting. String several strands, one on top of the other, on a stone wall to give a magical effect. Hang them across a pergola, under a tree or along a balcony to create that star struck look.
Here’s one for recycling fans. Transform old jam jars with tea lights and ribbons to create a hanging light feature under trees or around the pool house roof. It will add a really sweet touch to bare stone walls and terracotta roof tiles.
As well as getting those fire pits going as the evening cools, you can also be ultra creative with garden rubbish. If you have a large empty plant tub, turn it on its side and stand candles in it for an unusual feature. Place candles in front of a low mirror to reflect back from a forgotten corner, or use plain old glow sticks around the heads of flowers to create a halo effect. Angelic or what!
Apparently Rosé wine is under threat of being sold out in France this summer so why not knock up a cocktail or two using fresh fruit as their containers.
A favourite has to be water melon with gin or tequila. Take the top of the water melon off, remove the flesh and mash it to a liquid (remove the seeds of course). Insert a beer tap in the watermelon and refill with the liquid. Add whichever spirit (or not) you choose, together with ice. Replace the lid and you are ready to go.
Pimms can be great served in half a cantaloupe melon which gives an interesting twist to the traditional taste. For shots (please drink responsibly), you could use scooped out kiwi fruit (jelly shots would be fun in these too) and half a lemon can serve as a delicious vessel for really cold lemonade. Orange quarters that are frozen are great to suck on and strawberries are, well, ideal with champagne.
Finally, do use a few mosquito sticks or candles to ward off the little pests and keep them away from your food and drink. Salut!
First published in the July/August 2018 issue of The Local Buzz