It's that time of year again where you need to start thinking about your garden for the summer. Here are a few useful ideas:
1. GARDENS ARE OUTDOOR SPACES
First and most importantly, a garden connected to a pub, bar or restaurant should feel like a garden and not in interior space. Many proprietors try to continue the interior finishes to outside which defeats the purpose of a Garden atmosphere. The Garden should have outdoor features like stone and brick and the furniture should look like outdoor furniture. On my travels I found many beer gardens with timber sheeting and fabric covered bar stools – these areas are trying to look like indoor spaces. Instead try to embrace the outdoor Garden atmosphere, work with the multitude of materials and finishes which are available to transforms a bland space into an exciting alfresco experience.
Decide on your style or theme and then do some research.
Look at the building and its walls – are there any existing characteristics that may dictate a style or that can be embellished?
Keep the theme running from the interior through to the outside – for example, if you have an Art Deco interior then try to incorporate Art Deco statues, tiles or lamps outside rather than it being a generic garden. Similarly, if it is a traditional pub with lots of Bric-a-Brac then carry outdoor Bric-a-Brac through.
3. THE WEATHER
The glare / heat factor: use canopies, planting or colored glass to diffuse.
Wind: Use wind breakers. Anything can be designed to reduce the wind factor – Willow fencing, metal or timber frameworks with glass or canvas wind breakers. I recently designed a trellis planter and because it was on wheels, it was movable which worked really well for my client.
When deciding on the position for your seating consider which direction the wind comes from.
Rain: Provide adequate coverage for smokers in bad weather. In particularly wet climates, a permanent fixed solution like glass in a timber or glass framework will be much more maintainable than a canvas canopy. Glass means that daylight / sunlight can come through which is important on those warm summer days. If it gets too hot or bright then outdoor blinds can be fitted.
Before building anything it is important to know what your local regulations are. In Ireland the guideline for covering areas is described like a bus shelter where the roof covers an area that has walls that are 50% open and 50% closed.
Divide smokers from non smokers if you have the space.
Opening windows may not be an option as the smoke can be pulled into the interior and customers do not like this.
Provide ashtrays on tables and a few sand buckets about the place from which cigarette butts can be taken from at cleaning time.
6. UGLY AREAS
Make sure the views are good and not facing bin / garbage areas or car-parks. Use screening with plants or timber fencing to hide ugly areas.
Again use outdoor fittings which suit your style whether modern or traditional. Lights can be fitted into all kinds of things and places. Try outdoor led rope lights below skirtings at low level or above a wall for a nice warm glow. Often you can find a fitting which lights up and down thus getting the double benefit. Choose lighting that will create ambiance without giving your customers a headache from the glare. Candles always look fab in a garden setting set into simple glass jam jars, bird cages or antique sieves or metal objects. If you have an outdoor bar make it glow in the dark with candles and led strip lights.
8. OUTDOOR BARS
Check the local regulations on this – in many cases outdoor bars need to be located in a smoke free area otherwise the person serving at the bar will be subject to smoke inhalation. If using timber, use teak or a suitable outdoor timber with as little detail as possible so that water does not collect in its cracks. Using timber outdoors means you are going to have to commit to maintaining it. Being subject to all kinds of weather means that whatever finish you use will need to be topped up regularly. Stone counter-tops are great because the water runs off. Use lockable fridges and under counter units for security. Make sure there is permanent cover over the Bar and the customer so that the counter can be used in all weather.
Flowers make people smile so go mad with them! Use colors to suit your garden's palette. Its always good to have a few varieties in a planter or pot just in case one of them fail. You can plant flowers in anything as long as there are holes for run off water – buckets, bicycles, beds … have a look at these ideas. Ask your plumber to install a piped watering system set to a timer with feeds running to all your plants and flowers. It can be set to water at night so that run off water will have disappeared by morning. Change your planters to ivy's and small trees like box hedge in the winter for an evergreen look.
I recommend you hire a designer to guide you through all of this. A professionals advise is worth it and you can usually agree with a designer as to the level they get involved so as to suit your budget.
For more ideas on gardens check out the blog posts at http://www.pubdesigndoctor.com/category/beer-gardens/