When the cold but sunny days of spring start to appear, we all start to dream about the glorious warm sunny days of summer that lie ahead of us, and how we’re going to make the most of them. Preparing the garden for summer will look different for all of us, depending on the size of the garden, how you intend to use it throughout the warmer months, whether you have children in your family, and how much maintenance you want to put into your space. In this post, we’re taking a look at how to get your garden ready for summer, including lighting up your garden, and preparing the rest of your garden so that you’re ready to get out there when that warm weather (finally!) hits.
Lighting Your Garden For Summer
You don’t want to be restricted to using your garden just during the daytime, do you? Those long leisurely dinners on summer nights that we just mentioned – they’re great, but since sunset starts getting earlier from the middle of June, to make the most of them you really need some great garden lighting.
Just like when you’re lighting the inside your home, there are so many options for garden lighting, and so you can go simple with just one type of lighting, or you can go all out to create an incredible atmosphere and chase the darkness away. Let’s take a look at some of the options.
Lamp Posts And Lanterns
For more formal gardens, and where you want to install lighting permanently, there’s nothing that suits better than lamp posts and lanterns. Lamp posts are great for lighting up larger areas, while wall lanterns are perfect for adding ambient light around the outside of the home and along fences and walls. Some of our favourite wall lights include this coastal fjord wall light, this rust brown style and this sleek dark grey up and down wall light – a pair of these on either side of a door would look stunning, and offer increased visibility on the way into our home.
While lamp posts and lanterns tend to be more formal, there are styles that are more modern. When we’re looking at lamp posts, we adore this satin chrome Lucide style, this sleek grey LED lamp post, and this galvanised steel style.
When it comes to creating a playful atmosphere in your garden, strings of lights are absolutely perfect. There is a massive range of festoons and fairy lights, and you can choose from bright multicoloured options that create a festive atmosphere, or strings of warm white lights that add an ethereal glow to your space – and everything in between.
Festoons are the style of string lighting that have larger bulbs, and as you’d expect, there are plenty of different styles to choose from, from vintage to ultra-modern. These vintage style LED festoons are perfect strung above outdoor dining areas, these multicoloured festoons offer the perfect party vibes (pair with a disco ball to encourage garden dancing!) and our Easyfit 12V garden lights look glorious along outdoor seating.
When it comes to fairy lights, there are some great options, and there are so many ways to use them. If you want to avoid them looking like you forgot to take down your lights in the new year, change the placement of them. Wind them around the uprights of trees and garden structures, place them along bushes that run around patio edges, and use netted and hanging styles to create curtain effects and separate areas of the garden. Picking cool white LED styles, differently shaped fairy light bulbs, and pastel shades will help keep the December vibes at bay too. If you want just one set of fairy lights that you can use year-round, look for multifunction styles, that can flash on the run-up to Christmas, and can be on constantly at other times of the year.
It is really for us hard to pick a favourite when it comes to fairy lights, because they’re all so pretty – but we love this gorgeous pastel set, these warm white curtain lights, and these starburst LED lights that add a decorative touch to your garden.
Table lamps, outdoors? Absolutely! We think they are an essential, since they are great for lighting up outdoor dining tables, or can add just a bit more light if you’re lounging outside on a balmy evening. This Little Joe style is flexible, as it can be used as a table lamp, or hung as a lantern, and when it is fully charged, stays lit for up to 12 hours – and if you’re a camper, the strap makes it a great alternative to searching for a torch in the evenings.
For a spot of colour, this colour changing style looks great in multiples along tables, and the Lola slim table lamp is available in black, brass, grey and this perfectly on-trend mint green. Each of these styles are battery rechargeable, allowing you to use them wherever you are in the garden.
If you’re decorating a space under a pergola, gazebo, or in a conservatory, then an outdoor pendant can be a great way to make the area feel more like an extension of your home. There are styles that are designed specifically for temporary use outdoors – such as this gorgeous wicker style, or this nautical inspired style that looks perfect in multiples – but if you’re installing permanently, porch lanterns can be a great option too. This Pavia pendant porch lantern has the perfect rustic effect that you might be looking for in outdoor spaces that are under cover.
How Can I Get Garden Lighting Without Access To Power?
There are loads of reasons that getting garden lighting is a bit tricky – it might be that you’re in a rented property that doesn’t allow changes, you might not have the budget to get outdoor power put in, or you simply want to spend that money on something else. But while you need electricity for lighting to work, there are options that mean you can get your garden lit up beautifully without the need to connect to mains power.
A lot of people have disregarded solar powered lighting since those terrible stake lights that were everywhere in budget stores in the early 2000s, but the technology has come a long way since then. Solar power is now a realistic option for lighting up your garden, and lighting manufacturers have created incredible designs in almost all styles and sizes that are available in mains power. Lamp posts, lanterns, string lights and even security lighting is available in solar powered options, and as long as you’re installing in a space that has plenty of sun throughout the day, they will light up your garden all night.
If the area that you want to light up is in shade for most of the day – under some trees, for example – then battery powered garden lighting is the answer. While there are styles that use AA or AAA batteries, many styles are now USB rechargeable, which is a bit better for the environment, and much more convenient than digging through drawers to find a spare battery.
Should Garden Lighting Be Waterproof?
Put simply, yes, absolutely. The weather in the UK isn’t reliable enough to use electrical equipment that is designed for indoors to get wet. Look for garden lighting that is rated IP44 or above to ensure that you’re safe, and so that your lighting isn’t going to get ruined if there’s an unexpected rain shower. If you’re buying lighting for near pools, hot tubs and water features and there’s a risk of more water exposure than a rain shower, look for specialist lighting styles, and higher IP safety ratings.
Garden Chores To Tick Off In Spring
Lighting up your garden is far from the only thing you need to think about – but you didn’t need us to tell you that. We’ve rounded up some of the chores that you should take care of in spring to enjoy your garden all summer long. We’ve been general, and since each garden is different, you may have other chores to add to your list.
Tackle The Gardening
Our expertise is in garden lighting, rather than plants and trees, so we’ll keep this section brief – but here are some of the things you’ll want to get sorted in your garden on those early spring days.
- Maintain your tools, particularly if you forgot to clean them before the winter
- Tidy flower beds and borders, removing dead leaves, rubbish, and weeds
- Get rid of weeds and pests
- Prune bushes and trees
- Plant summer flowers
- Clean bird tables
- Set up your compost bin and water butt, so you’re ready for any hosepipe bans
Clean Your Garden Furniture
Prepping your garden furniture before the days get really warm enough to sit outside is a good plan. Whether you cleaned it thoroughly before you put it in storage for the winter, or it has been outdoors all winter, you’ll need to give it a good brush down as a minimum, to get rid of any cobwebs and other bugs that made their home for the winter there. If you need to treat the wood again, now is the time.
Prep Your Paths
Winter leaves behind a layer of grime on patios and paving slabs, so it is really important to clean them to prevent slips on wet days. Get your pressure washer out, or grab a stiff brush and some hot soapy water. It is a bit of a chore, but one you’ll certainly be glad that you made time for – and your garden will look so much better with those sparkling clean paths and patios too.
While you’re doing the cleaning, consider whether you should light the edges of paths and patios. Stake lights have come a long way in recent years, while in-ground lighting, and 12v Easyfit garden lights are also great options to light up edges. Solar powered lighting is a perfect option where connecting to mains power isn’t possible, and means you can have the power you need, without the extra demands on your electricity bill.
Sort Out Garden Storage
There are bits and pieces that we want in the garden through the warmer months, but don’t want to have to keep bringing in and out the house. If you’ve got children in your life, then you’ll know exactly how much stuff goes with children in the garden in the summer!
Whether you need a shed, storage boxes, or you just need to put up a few shelves in a garage or lean-to, getting your garden storage sorted now means that tidying up at the end of a sunny day is much easier.
Check Your Garden Accessories
Once your patio is set up and ready to go, start to think about those extras that get forgotten until you need them. Sure, you can order these things for next day delivery when the warm weather hits, but wouldn’t it be great to get them sorted before you need them? Ordering in advance means that you can enjoy them right from the first sunny day, and you’ll almost certainly get a better price too.
You might not be planning to get your outdoor speakers wet – especially not if you don’t have a pool, or children at your home that would enjoy a water fight in the summer! But as we all know, the weather in the great British summer is far from predictable. As with your garden lighting, ensuring that your speakers is rated at least IP44 will mean that if there’s an unexpected rain shower, you won’t have to worry if you forget to grab it on the way indoors.
With so many more of us working from home since the pandemic, there are so many more opportunities to be able to get outdoors – and you don’t want a lack of Wi-Fi to mean that you have to move indoors after a lovely sunny lunch. Not only that, if you’ve got children and teenagers that simply can’t be parted from their phones or tablets, then a Wi-Fi extender means that even if they can’t be persuaded to put them down, they can at least get some sunshine while they’re gaming, watching videos, or reading.
Find Some Ways To Keep Warm During The Evening
We’ve already mentioned the fickleness of summer weather – so having options to stay that bit warmer will mean you can stay out longer when things cool down. Our suggestions?
- Patio heater
- Fire pit
- Blankets or ponchos
- Oversized hoodies
- USB rechargeable heated jackets
- Hot water bottles
You’ve probably got many of these items around your home already from the winter – but they really do come in for the spring, autumn, and cooler summer evenings, so keep them handy.
Sort Out A Bar Area
Everyone loves a cold beverage on a hot day, and whether you love an ice cold beer, a cocktail, or just a really cold can of pop, having those cold drinks available without needing to go indoors helps to keep the fun going. Your ‘bar area’ might be as simple as a cool box that you can bring out with you, you might have a pull-out bar with optics on a wall, or you might go the whole hog, repurposing a shed or a pergola area for a ‘proper’ pub or tiki bar.
Outdoor Cooking And Dining
We might not have year-round sunshine, but we sure do love cooking and eating al fresco here in the UK, when the weather allows. Barbecues, wood fired pizza ovens, picnic sets and even full outdoor kitchen set ups are increasing in popularity, and since this year we’re allowed to socialise again properly, it is likely that there will be high demand for these types of products. If you already own these and make use of them throughout the summer, check them over, do any repairs, and place any orders for replacements so that you don’t miss out on the first few glorious days that you can get outside to eat.
Getting your garden sorted for the summer is a bit of a task, but it is so worth it. Investing a bit of time in the early spring to do those jobs, and to order the things you want and need means that you can really make the most of your garden all summer long – from dawn until long after dusk! If you’re planning social occasions in your garden this summer, head to our range of outdoor lighting to ensure the party can carry on long into the night – and remember to tag us in your Instagram posts @online_lighting, so our followers can be inspired by your fantastic setup!
I’m Sarah, a writer and content creator with a big passion for interior design. Having recently bought my first home, the world of renovations and home décor has taken over my life in a way I never imagined. My house is full of mid-century furniture and colourful eccentricities – but my fascination with new season trends spans from Scandi minimalism to Art Deco extravagance.