There is more to putting on a great barbeque than just a fancy grill and some burgers. A truly great garden party that even the host can enjoy is made in the preparation. Make the process a lot easier with these top tips.
Consider a theme
Organising your party around a theme is a surefire way to get your ideas flowing. It’ll make it more memorable for your guests whilst also making it much easier to plan. Some ideas could include:
Whether you have a theme or not, decorating the garden will help you set the atmosphere you want. When decorating consider the following:
Accessories – just like with your living room, it’s the small touches that make the biggest difference. Cushions, outdoor rugs and small decorative features will go a long way to completing the look and feel you want
Lighting – if your family and friends like to gather and natter for a long time then some well-chosen lighting will help give your evening a more relaxed atmosphere or help you keep celebrating for longer. There are plenty of options available.
Heating – in the summer, it’s easy to be in the garden for most of the evening, but if you want to use your social space year-round then you might need to invest in some outdoor heating for when the evenings get chilly. There are plenty of options for heating your garden from upright patio heaters to parasol or wall-mounted heaters. If you want to add some atmosphere, consider a fire pit or chiminea.
Do you have enough space for everyone? It’s not ideal to have people perched all over the place when you are trying to have a good time, it always ends up with dropped food and people scattered everywhere. If you entertain a lot then it might be worth getting yourself a full set, but if it’s less regular then a few stacking or folding chairs you can store in the shed are a great option.
Never Underestimate a Paddling Pool
They are much more useful than for just splashing about in. If put in a shaded area they become a great way for keeping all your drinks cool.
Do you have everything you need?
If you have your grill, coals or gas and some buns ready, then you might think you have all you need to get barbequing, not quite. Your household utensils might not be good enough for the job. Buying a set of dedicated BBQ tools is a good idea, as is making sure you have everything else, like bottle openers and plates/cups ready too.
Plan A Menu
You don’t want to run out of food halfway through your party and end up with half burgers in a bun. Before you start, write a list of exactly how much food you might need, and stick to it. If you plan long enough in advance you will have time to marinade all your meats and get your prep down as well as plan what you’re going to cook when. If you want some menu inspiration why not check out our blog post on how to cook the perfect barbeque menu
Don’t Forget Sides & Sauces
Avoid last-minute rushes by planning your sides beforehand and getting them on your shopping list. Stuck for ideas? Here’s our basic breakdown of the ideal garden party and barbeque
We always look at our gardens as a place to relax and entertain, but when it comes to cooking we always limit ourselves to burgers, sausages and meat on a stick. The barbeque and firepit are essentially an entire kitchen in one place if you use them right so, why not truly bring you life outside with these top tips on cooking great food outdoors no matter the size of your space.
Note: If you have a small balcony or window ledge you can use a disposable barbeque for most of these tips, but please make sure you follow any instructions that come with it carefully and make sure it is properly secured.
Get Prepared for Cooking Outdoors
Organisation is the key to successful cooking, and even more so when you are using a Barbeque. So, every time you cook outdoors make sure you follow these steps.
Remove any old ash
Clean grill racks or grates
Oil and preheat your grill grates
Light your charcoal and wait for them to go white
Once you’re prepared then it’s time to get cooking
Cook with more than Charcoal
Cooking outdoors is remarkably versatile, one way to make your food taste better is to cook over different woods. Not only does this add flavour, but you can cook directly on some woods for a really intense boost. Try grilling halloumi over applewood or a steak over oak and see what results you get. There are plenty of different woods to use, and experimenting with flavour combinations is always fun, and there are some classics you can’t ignore. Make sure you always use wood you have bought online as it is food safe, and won’t contain any nasty surprises.
Get the right temperature
Just like with your oven, you need to control the heat coming off of your BBQ. The heat you cook over is the defining factor on how a lot of food turns out – too high and your food will become dry or won’t cook through before the outside burns, too low and it might never cook and you won’t get that classic Barbeque char. Hold your hand about 12cm (5inches) above the grill and see how long you can hold it there comfortably
4 seconds = medium heat – the ideal temperature for most foods.
2 seconds = High heat – too hot to cook on
You also need to control the temperature across the grill, this is really easy on a gas barbeque as you just need to turn the temperature down, but a charcoal grill is a bit more difficult, but you have a few options
The half and half method – here, you put all the coals to one side of your grill, so you have a hot side and one with no direct heat. Then all you have to do is put food closer to or further away from the coals to control the temperature.
Move your grill racks – simply moving your grill closer to or further away from the coals is a simple way of controlling heat if your barbeque allows you to.
Adjust your airflow – most barbeques come with air vents that allow you to control the airflow over your coals. This will allow you to adjust the heat of your flames. As a general rule of thumb: More air = higher heat.
The barbeque is a surprisingly versatile piece of kit once you know how to use it, and slow cooking is one of the best cooking methods if you want tender, flavourful food that is hassle-free. When you slow cook on the barbeque, it doesn’t interrupt your outdoor time and you still get some delicious food. Lots of people slow cook in their daily lives so they don’t have to cook after a long day at work, so why not apply the same to your time in the garden, just place an oven friendly dish into your barbeque away from direct heat and just leave it for a few hours until you’re hungry. You can slow cook anything you usually would or you can just close the lid and make some amazing ribs.
The barbeque is just for meat right? You wouldn’t be saying that if you’ve ever tried halloumi and watermelon skewers. The smoky flavours and quick cooking you get from cooking over a barbeque are great companions for a host of vegetables. Here are some top meat-free recipes to try cooking outdoors.
Wrap sweet potato in foil and bake it with the hood closed or down in the coals on a medium heat
Char peppers, mushroom, courgette, onion, tomato and Aubergine over the heat, and create a wonderful smoky grilled veg salad
Cooking is all about enhancing the flavours what already exists, and this is done by seasoning your food well. When it comes to the barbeque this is mostly done with a good marinade (a flavoured liquid you soak your food in). The longer you can prepare the marinade and have the food resting in it before you cook the better. Here are a few basic ones for your toolbox.
Barbeque sauce – Heat: 5 tablespoons tomato ketchup | 2 tablespoons clear honey | 3 tablespoons soy sauce | 3 tablespoons wine vinegar | 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato purée |1 teaspoon salt | 300ml beef stock over medium heat until thickened. Cool and use to marinate your meat
Honey mustard – whisk together 4 Tbsp honey | 4 Tbsp mayonnaise | 4 Tbsp dijon/ wholegrain mustard | 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar | 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and use for chicken and pork
Chinese style – grate one piece of fresh ginger and combine with | 4 Tbsp dark soy sauce | 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar | 1 Tbsp rice wine | 1 pinch superfine sugar | 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped | 2 Tbsp honey | 1 tsp five-spice powder
Resting food after you’ve cooked it makes a big difference, especially in meat. It allows flavours to settle and makes the food more tender. When you are cooking on the BBQ you should rest all the meat and veg for at least a minute so any hot spots cool down and to improve the taste. You will quickly find that even your burgers are tasting better.
People know to cook burgers or kebabs over the grill, but why go back inside when it’s time for pudding. There are plenty of desserts you can cook outdoors on the Barbeque, and the sweet/smokey flavour combination is one that is often overlooked. Here are a few of the best
Roasted Pineapple – Put some sliced pineapple in a tray with 50g butter | 100g brown sugar and cover with tin foil. Put the tray into a medium-hot part of the barbeque for 30 minutes and serve with a cream made of 2 tbsp white rum | 160g coconut cream
Chocolate baked Bananas – cut a slit down one side of the Banana. Put chocolate buttons and marshmallows into the slit and wrap securely in tin foil. Put the package on the embers of the fire for 20 mins.
Barbecued peaches – halve and remove the stones of 4 peaches. Brush with a small amount of vegetable oil and place face down on the grill and cook for 5 minutes or until the surface has char marks. Fill with soft cheese and drizzle with honey and return to the grill until the mixture has warmed through
These tips are just scratching the surface of the things you can do when cooking outdoors you can do in your garden, but once you get started it’s difficult to keep the cooking indoors. Once you have the basics done you can start looking into more specialised equipment or even inventing your own recipes – the sky is limitless. For more advice see outpost on cooking on a firepit
Gary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.
We all want to give the perfect Christmas gift; but how do you choose the gift they’ll love? The options can be overwhelming in the search for that special something so here at Primrose, we’ve made things simple. Whether you’re shopping for wildlife lovers, dedicated home growers or social entertainers, you can find the perfect gift at Primrose.
For Wildlife Lovers
As a nation of animal enthusiasts, our gardens can be havens for wildlife. Welcome all varieties of birds, insects and small mammals into the garden with a selection of our houses and feeders.
A wonder to watch and a great way of increasing the variety of garden flowers. A bee or butterfly house will bring important pollinating insects into the garden and these pretty houses can sit discreetly in any space.
Nothing beats the presence of birds in a garden. The UK has a wide variety of birds that are beautiful to see and fun to watch. You can encourage great diversity into the garden with the Christmas gift of a bird feeder or table.
A wildlife-friendly garden can attract a whole host of animals from squirrels, rabbits and hedgehogs. Encourage these furry friends into the garden with houses and feeders so you can enjoy watching their antics year-round.
We love seeing how our customer’s gardens take shape throughout the year and how the sense of achievement from cultivating a garden brings so much joy.
Great gardeners deserve great tools. From handheld trowels and forks to more specialised bulb planters and weed removers, a garden can really take shape having the right tool for the right job.
Garden planters are ideal for gathering together favourite blooms and we think our fuss-free, frost-resistant, fibrecotta planters can make a great Christmas gift.
Give a gift that will keep on growing! A Christmas gift that will last for years and provide endless moments of joy, trees can transform a garden and we have a variety of species that can be gifted for any garden space.
Our gardens are the settings of wonderful moments; times we’ll treasure throughout our lives. At the centre of those moments will be one person organising it all and for them, we have a range of gifts they can be proud to display.
Extend the time spent with friends and family when the nights draw in with our range of lighting solutions. Fairy lights can add magic to any space when hung about a gazebo or strung through the trees, whilst lanterns can add a warm glow to keep everyone comfy on the sofas.
A fire pit can bring out the best of an evening – it means time spent gathered together, time spent swapping stories and jokes, time spent enjoying the warmth of a glowing fire, maybe toasting a marshmallow or two. A centrepiece befitting any keen host we have a range to suit every garden space.
For the evenings you wish can go on and on, keep everyone cosy and content with our winter blankets and throws. So whether it’s snuggling up warm with a loved one or setting down with a good book, give the gift of a relaxing evening this Christmas.
Although summer garden parties are now a fond distant memory, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying the most comfortable time of year outside in your garden. We’ve handpicked a selection of items designed to transform your outdoor space into a cosy place of sanctuary that you can enjoy, even during the Autumn nights.
You may be thinking, “Garden furniture? What about the rain?” but that is precisely why I have selected Teak furniture as this month’s bench of choice. Known for durability and its strength to withstand extreme weather conditions, teak furniture is ideal for anyone who seeks a comfortable bench with very little maintenance required.
Due to its durability, teak is unlikely to suffer from rotting, termites, and many other damaging wood conditions. In fact, choosing teak with high quality wood and a high oil content is set to be your greatest investment all year. Warm and golden in colour, a teak bench is an Autumn garden essential, and usually big enough for nearly the whole family to share. Of course, if you’d like to give your teak bench more protection, you can opt for a furniture cover during non-use.
Does anything scream Autumn like toasting marshmallows by the fire? The best part is, you don’t need a big bonfire to do it. Let the natural elements keep you warm outside this Autumn with an outdoor fire pit. In cast iron, this classic firebowl ties in traditional tones with hard-wearing construction. Whether it’s the warmth you like, or simply the sound of the fire crackles as the wood burns, a firebowl is guaranteed to set the mood for your Autumn garden.
It wouldn’t be a cosy evening without fluffy blankets now would it? It’s time to get the kettle on and wrap up under a big woven throw while you enjoy the crisp fresh air. Many gardeners will say, Autumn and Winter is when you work hard in your garden but Summer is when you get to enjoy it. With these additions, you can enjoy it all year round.
With Autumn, comes darker nights. Don’t let poor visibility stop you from getting outside and enjoying this season. Light up your garden into a magical magnificence with luxurious outdoor lighting. You could place these above your garden bench, by your back door, or even perfectly placed along your walkway. If traditional styles are to your taste, popular lighting options include decorative wall lights, stylish lamp posts, and glowing pedestal lights. Whereas, a favourite amongst modern gardeners are sparkling string lights and eye-catching hanging lanterns.