Spending time in the garden is a great way to relax, unwind and let the stresses of daily life quietly ebb away. But once you’ve planted those Dahlias and barbequed that sausage, what other activities can you use your personal green space for? There are many different pursuits you can enjoy in the garden for fitness, fulfilment or just good old-fashioned fun.
Getting out there and indulging in some sports is a great way to kick start that fitness regime you’ve been putting off for years. But it doesn’t have to be all swingball and badminton. Even if you have a small lawn, practice nets for golf chipping, tennis and even soccer don’t take up much room and can help improve your game. Obviously croquet is king of the lawn ball games, but for a twist why not have a crack at petanque (aka boules) or Chelsea Skittles? Table tennis doesn’t take up much space and you can easily knock together a make shift set by refitting an old kitchen table – its fun and dangerously addictive.
There are a whole host of oversized garden novelties and games on the market including giant dominos, chess, Jenga and noughts and crosses mats. But there are other fun garden based distractions you can engage in for free. Garden treasure hunts don’t just have to be for kids. You just have to search for a different type of prize (sweets or booze spring to mind). For a bit of old school fun, why not organise a sports day with a group of friends, with sack races, egg and spoon and a tug of war. Or perhaps organise a backyard Olympics tournament, dividing your guests into ‘nations’, competing in sports such as limbo and three-legged sprints and hand out medals for the victorious.
They say that food simply tastes better when dining al fresco, but there is so much more to cooking and feasting outside than burnt bangers on the barbeque. Sounds crazy but grilled bananas and plantains on the BBQ taste amazing or you can even try pizza, just remember to keep your base flat as the dough rises quickly. For something more extreme (and if you have the space) try digging a fire-pit and cooking a whole suckling pig on a spit. Or invest in a stone baked oven as a barbeque alternative – you can cook so much more than just pizza and breads in there. And you don’t have to consider your garden solely as a dining venue. Think about growing some delicious edible items such as unusual fruits and vegetables or even edible flowers such as marigold and hollyhocks.
Keep feeding the birds and beasts in your garden, of course, but there is an amazing array of other wonders of Mother Nature to make you enjoy and utilise your outdoor space. Insect Hotels are fun to build, look attractive and can help the environment by providing a home for all those creepy crawly visitors. Log piles, compost heaps and ramps up to water sources can attract hedgehogs into your yard and they are great for your gardens ecology. While you can go above and beyond that dull old water feature with a pond, which you can design and build yourself. As well as the fish you give a home, the pond will attract frogs, toads and many flying insects.
Group activities can be a fun way to spend time in your garden, but it’s also the ideal spot for some essential R&R. Recreate the excitement of a drive-in movie by setting up a cinema screening outdoors. Hook up a digital projector to your laptop, use a sheet or wall as a screen and enjoy the show. Turn that old shed into an outdoor reading room or al fresco office space and work in the wonders of nature. Or identify and design a corner of the garden that’s just for you and turn it into your own relaxation area, where you can do yoga, set up a hammock or just forget about the stresses of the day.