The pandemic has meant increased inquiries for garden groundworks services throughout West Sussex and the surrounding areas. In our last blog article, we told you that we had an external project of our own on the go and that we would share more details with you. And in this post, we are going to do exactly that. But first, we’d like to introduce you to Livvy. Livvy is the better half of Christian, our co-founder, and she works on our business development. But for this article, we asked her for all the gen about how an outdoor entertaining area comes to fruition. Read on for all the details.
Garden Groundworks Services – Our Project!
Tell us what you’re building and why?
Livvy: It seems that the future will be very much about outside gatherings and get-togethers, even if at some point (hopefully in the not-too-distant future) we are allowed to get together inside we wanted to create something where we could entertain outside and still keep warm in the winter or cool in the summer. So, having undertaken lots of garden groundworks services for our West Sussex clients, we began planning our own project.
We are building a rustic wooden outdoor entertaining space, which includes a bar, a comfy seating area with a woodburning fireplace and a dining area with a pizza oven. We started with the idea of a gazebo style. But with rainy/windy days we decided to build a 1m wall around the side elevations and the front elevation and an entire wall at the back elevation including a corrugated tin roof. The rear elevation is the bar area with double cupboard space and a wood stacking area below.
How does a project like this begin?
Livvy: Well, all projects involving garden groundworks services differ. But on this occasion, we created a drawing of what we wanted to achieve and then we started by marking the plot with stakes to see how big we wanted it to be. We then installed a 4×2 timber ground frame and included a membrane which will stop the grass growing and any weeds from coming through. We also had 4 concrete pads on all corners, which included 6×2 timber posts. This took a day, but that also included some frame construction. As soon as all of this was in place, we could visualize how it was going to look.
That sounds like quite the project! How can clients create outdoor entertaining areas in bite-size chunks?
Livvy: One could always begin with a gazebo-style structure with a roof. That would offer some shelter. Then, further down the line, you could build the rest and add cladding walls when you have the means.
With any outdoor space, lighting is a key element. While fairy lights might be okay as a temporary stop-gap, they are not really strong enough. So, it is worth preparing any outdoor space for lighting and electrics. We used a metal electrical conduit, although you can save a bit by using a plastic one. A conduit tube is used to protect and route electrical wiring. We have had double and single sockets put in throughout. We installed CAT5 cabling for WIFI a couple of years ago for our shepherd’s hut, but this will also be used for the outdoor space. We will add a water pipe and a drainage pipe, but we are not connecting up a loo or shower. We may, at some point, have a sink installed.
So, you see, the key really is in preparing for all eventualities. Think about what you might want your space to be, rather than what it will start as. That’s where we come in. Our garden groundworks services can really help you future-proof outdoor entertaining areas.
You clearly have a vision of what your finished entertaining area will look like. What have been your most useful planning tools?
Livvy: I knew that I wanted something cosy, but, despite visiting many projects over the summer where we had carried out garden groundwork services, I still didn’t really know how I wanted our entertaining area to look. So, I searched for ‘outdoor seating areas’ and as you can imagine there were plenty of ideas to fall in love with. I saved many pictures but this one kept catching my eye.
I found Pinterest fantastic, you can search for anything pretty much and also if you spot something you like, you can often click through to buy it online!
What are your top tips for sourcing materials and final finish products?
Livvy: I wanted some bamboo wicker furniture so searched on eBay; I found a lot but most cost more than I wanted to spend. I had never used Facebook marketplace before but thought it was worth a go and it certainly was. I ended up buying the perfect set of furniture for my cosy area and 6 chairs for the dining area all from different places. I used Shiply to arrange delivery of the bamboo suite, which was in Dursley and they were brilliant, I would use them again for sure. I went to Dunelm for sheepskin rugs and Etsy for lights and a table. When it comes to decorative items, I will be going to our local garden centre in Pulborough, West Sussex. In Coldwaltham, close to us, there is a vintage garden salvage yard which is brilliant.
We are also having some canvas and PVC blinds made by a friend of Christians, also local in West Sussex.
We have replaced the decking for an existing shepherd’s hut to match the floor of the outdoor space so we reused the old decking boards to build the bar, it has made it look extra rustic.
Finally, I had some lovely wooden wine box ends in storage as I knew we would use them one day! They are going along the wall at the back to give it a bit of a twist. I promise more photos of the finished project when we get there!
Any final tips for people planning outside entertaining area projects?
- When working outside, you cannot use any old lighting you have to have IP rated lighting and a minimum of IP44.
- Always use conduit for electrical wires, especially when outside.
- Decking can get slippery when wet. So, consider non-slip ridged decking for the floor.
If you are building an outdoor entertaining area this year, talk to us about garden groundworks services, and how we can help.