Getting your garden ready for summer BBQs

Summer is just around the corner and many of us will be inviting friends and family around for a barbeque - but is your garden ready for entertaining?
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First things first, to host the perfect party you need to a fantastic looking garden that is welcoming to your guests. There is nothing worse than an un-kept, out of control garden that guests constantly have to fend off when walking around the garden or when chatting to friends.

If you haven’t touched your garden since last year, you have probably noticed that the grass, hedges and plants have all grown quite rapidly over the last couple of months. The mixture of warm weather and frequent rain showers has provided the ideal growing conditions.

Your first priority when preparing your garden for your party should be to tackle the biggest jobs first. Cutting your lawn is probably the easiest place to start and is quick and easy to do.

If your grass is quite long, say over 6cm in height, you will probably need to use a grass trimmer to cut the grass to a suitable height before using your lawnmower. Once the grass is short enough for your lawnmower you can then dig it out from the shed to finish cutting the lawn. For the traditional feel you could add stripes to your lawn if you have a lawnmower with a rear roller, like the Flymo Chevron 32VC. If you do not have a suitable lawnmower an alternative is to use an ordinary roller instead. If you are preparing the garden a few weeks ahead of your party, then you will need to cut the lawn again nearer the time and add your stripes to your lawn again.

For a neater finish you should go around the edges of your garden using your grass trimmer in edging mode. For grass trimmers with an edging mode you should check out the Flymo grass trimmer range.

Once you have finished cutting your grass dispose of the clippings. You can either use these as the base of good compost or you can add them to your garden waste bin. Now the lawn is looking great, it’s time to start sorting out those unruly hedges.

Use a good hedge trimmer to take back your hedges. Begin by checking that there aren’t any nesting birds in the hedge. If there are, it is illegal to disturb them so you cannot cut your hedge. If not remove any debris and identify any thick branches that your hedge trimmer may struggle to cut. Use a good sharp pair of secateurs, Gardena secateurs are highly recommended, to remove these branches before cutting.

Failing to remove these branches may mean your hedge trimmer will jam when cutting and misalign the blades breaking it. Remember not to cut the hedge back too far, leaving gaps in between the leaves. This will make the hedge look unsightly.

Now it is time for the not so fun jobs. Now the garden is looking great you need to dig out the garden chairs, table and most importantly the barbecue. They have all probably been stored in the shed or garage for the last few months so will all need a good thorough clean. Use hot soapy water to do this, before placing them in ideal spots in the garden. Once this is done, set up the BBQ in a clear space away from any hedges and flammable objects. Ensure that there is a bucket of water at hand just in case the flames begin to get out of control. If using lighter fluid to start your BBQ, be sure not to spill any on the lawn. This can cause grass to turn brown.

Finally, it is time to add the finishing touches to your garden party. Remember to add any decorations or bunting to the windows, and wash any paths and gateways. Provide a dedicated area for guests to collect food and drink from, ensuring that mess is kept to a minimum and that there is some order to the party. Remember to provide plenty of bin bags to collect rubbish - making sure your garden still looks as good at the end of the night as it did at the beginning.