Barbecue in the garden
Julie Parker
My interest in gardening & wildlife stemmed from childhood days spent working in the garden with my parents & reading books on anything from robins to giraffes. As time has moved on these influences have stayed with me inspiring the creation my own garden & leading to interests in fish keeping & the natural world around me. I still love to read & hope that the knowledge I gain will make topical reading through these articles.

How To Create A Seating Area In Your Garden

Make a sheltered spot to just sit and relax and admire your garden

Creating a comfortable space to relax outside will transform your garden into a proper extension of your home. A dining set on the patio will draw you outdoors on warm days from spring until autumn for morning coffee, lunch and dinner, and we offer sets that will squeeze into the smallest of spaces. Also try placing incidental seating or a bistro set elsewhere in the garden to create a different perspective on your flowers and features, and to catch the sun at different times of the day. If your house faces north, install a hard paved or gravel surface for your furniture at the far end of your garden, where it will be warmer. If your patio faces south, invest in an umbrella to provide shade in the summer. Soften the edges of your patio with beds of scented plants, such as wallflowers and lavender, and pots of seasonal bedding and evergreens like hebes and ferns to add colour.

Make Space in Your Garden For Our Intimate Bistro Sets, Practical Dining Furniture and Chic Lounge Chairs

Designed for comfort, this modern set includes two all-weather rattan lounge chairs that swivel on a sturdy base, and a bistro table with a bottle pocket for storing drinks. As a new innovation the cushions are weather resistant, and can be left outside all summer.

One of our most popular sets, the Amalfi is made from cast aluminium, which is durable and light, making it easy to move around. You can add a splash of colour with a few scatter cushions. We have an elegant two person bench to complement the set. With a larger table and six chairs, you can now enjoy this dining set with more people. Made from cast aluminium, the set is elegantly designed but also built to withstand the elements, so it needs virtually no maintenance all year round. The 3m parasol with crank arm and tilt function will give you much-needed shade from the sun on hot days. Reversible, patterned cushions add style and comfort, so you can relax in luxury and take advantage of the good weather.

Outdoor cooking

If you feel that cooking on the barbecue is not for you but you may want to toast marshmallows fire pits are the answer. A fire pit is essential if you want to make the maximum use out of your outdoor space, just add a snuggly throw and you're set to enjoy the company of family and friends well into the evening. 

If you prefer a free standing barbecue we have a great range from Weber. The word ‘barbecue’ derives from the Caribbean word ‘baribicu’, which translates as ‘sacred fire pit’.

Charcoal vs gas which one is right for you?

The great barbecue debate largely boils down to personal choice, so we have put together a few handy facts to help you decide whether charcoal or gas will light your fire. Whether you’re looking for something special for the weekend, or a grill that will allow you to dine regularly alfresco, we are sure we can get your summer off to a sizzle.


Barbecue purists often argue that charcoal grilling yields the best results.

  • Charcoal can reach temperatures as high as 300°C. This means meats such as pork and beef will cook far quicker.
  • Not only does food cook quickly, the heat gives that lovely dark charring, while charcoal smoke imparts a genuine smokey barbecue taste.
  • Many charcoal fans enjoy the process of preparing the barbecue as much as they like cooking on it.

The Weber Chimney Starter makes lighting your charcoal barbecue quick and easy. Just follow these simple steps. 1. Light firelighters in the bottom of the barbecue. 2. Fill the chimney with charcoal, and heat for 20 minutes. 3. Carefully tip hot coals into the barbecue when ash forms on top.


For many, gas is a more convenient and reliable option.

  • Gas barbecues are easier to setup, and reach temperature in half the time of charcoal, while the heat can be regulated with the turn of a dial.
  • Gas may be a more economical solution; pound-for-pound it can last longer and may be cheaper too, as well as being easy to source.
  • Only the grill plate and drip trays need cleaning – no ash, no problem.
So if you enjoy a taste of tradition make charcoal your choice. But if minimal fuss is your thing, give gas a go.

Update Your Barbecue with Our Exclusive Weber Designs and Add a Touch of Class to Alfresco Dining

Transform your patio into an elegant outdoor dining space with a beautiful new Weber barbecue in this stunning rich copper colour – exclusive to our centres. Choose from a traditional charcoal kettle design or fuel-efficient, gas-fired model. Both are quick and easy to use, and guarantee delicious meals in next to no time. Both barbecues look sensational and include a range of fantastic features too. The One Touch Premium kettle barbecue has a high-capacity ash catcher and built-in lid thermometer, while the Genesis E310 has three controllable gas burners, stainless steel side tables, cast-iron cooking grates and enclosed cart for extra storage space plus great fuel efficiency. Team your new barbecue with our range of accessories, and you’ll be set for a super summer of alfresco dining.

Give your garden the Wow factor

Simple obelisks in pots or in the border with climbing plants entwined around them will add instant height & added interest. Use deep coloured flowers in a sunny site & pale blues & whites in a more shaded spot. Clematis come in a lovely range of colours or try growing annuals like sweet peas or nasturtiums. If you want to be productive you could plant peas or beans which will produce flowers before they crop. If you have a larger space why not put up an arch or arbour & train climbing roses up & over to provide a shady scented spot to sit?

Another feature which will provide a focal point whilst creating a sense of tranquillity is a water feature. This needn’t be a complicated building project as we have a fantastic range of free-standing water features which hold their own integral water supply & just need a safe electrical connection. The gentle sound of flowing water provides a calming backdrop to an outdoor seating area & helps to mask external noise like traffic. Place the water feature in a corner of the garden or patio & surround with plants to make a more natural setting. See our article on self-contained water features. If you have a patio or yard with high walls, add some interest to break up the monotony. Hanging baskets or pots will add some colour higher up, just keep them well fed & watered over the summer. If the area is a sun trap & plants tend to suffer we have a fabulous choice of outdoor clocks & wall art which would do the job instead.

Don’t forget lighting & heating so that you can enjoy your garden into the evening. Permanent lighting may need professional installation but solar lights or candles are easy to place around the garden or patio. Keep yourselves warm as the sun goes down with a choice of heating solutions from chimineas to more modern outdoor fireplaces – read our articles on garden lighting & garden heating for ideas on how to make your garden cosy & comfy for alfresco dining this summer.