Laura Gozney, co-founder of Gozney, discusses new ways of entertaining this summer.
It may not feel like it after the very recent weather, but it really is time to start looking forward to the summer months. With the prospect of long bright balmy evenings on the horizon, we all want to make the most of the outdoors while we can.
For many of us, our immediate thoughts turn to the barbecue. It always seems like a great idea, until you realise the grill has seen better days - and then you remember the smoke, and how long it takes to get the charcoal fired up…
For these and many other reasons, the traditional barbecue is feeling a bit passé, as more sophisticated cookers and outdoor products come onto the market and become more affordable. Outdoor dining is a growing and lucrative trend: HTA Garden Retail Market Analysis 2018 found that the overall outdoor living market is set to top an estimated £1 billion by 2020, as people invest in more innovative products and design to enjoy the outdoors all year round.
So, this year, why not explore some new ways to entertain and cook alfresco? Here are a few ideas to help you wow your friends and family.
Shake it up with a Tiki Bar
If you like to whip up exotic cocktails for your guests, an outdoor bar is a must. You could complete the experience with a backyard tiki bar: Tiki culture started in California in the 1930s with idealised exotically decorated bars and restaurants catering to an escapist longing for travel to tropical regions.
You can create your own holiday-at-home vibe as you all share travel tales and aspirations over Mai Tais and Singapore Slings. John Lewis sells a fantastically authentic looking rattan bar and stool set that will set the tone for some bar theatrics worthy of a South Pacific island beach party.
Create an Outdoor Kitchen Space
It is true that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but when the sun is shining, who wants to be inside slaving over a hot oven? Make it more convenient and enjoyable to cook and dine al fresco by bringing the kitchen outside for the best of both worlds.
Depending on your space and budget you can go for a complete kitchen installed in a sheltered seating area. Alternatively, many outdoor living companies sell modular kitchen units for more flexibility to build your own custom space - sinks, fitted barbecue cookers, and even outdoor fridges can create an ideal inside-out gathering spot for your family and visitors.
Deliver with a Portable Pizza Oven
Outdoor living isn’t just about the back garden, and not everyone wants a room outdoors, meaning portable outdoor cookers still have their place. Camping and portable ovens have come a long way – now you can get professional specialist quality cooking with new innovations such as the Roccbox.
Created by Gozney, Roccbox is a professional standard compact stone fire pizza oven that can provide delicious stone fired pizza in little over a minute, wherever you choose to dine. And it doesn’t have to be pizza – the dry heat that can only be got from a stone oven can make meat, fish and vegetables even more delicious. You can choose either wood or gas burner for traditional fire or changeable heat for a range of cooking techniques.
Provide Warmth with a Gas Fire Pit
Backyard fire pits, units and chimineas aren’t exactly new, but they are developing into new more innovative and creative designs. Gas powered fire pits are becoming increasingly popular as a more convenient and cleaner alternative to the standard wood or coal heating solutions. A gas fire can be built into your patio or purchased as a standalone unit to add warmth and style to your seating area. Gas Fire Pit tables are sleek, high-end designs, but there are options out there to suit any budget. It is recommended that you always get a professional to install your fire.
Get Cosy in an Arctic Cabin
To get the most of the garden in more unpredictable climates, why not go a step further with an arctic cabin, complete with inbuilt barbecue? An arctic cabin in the garden can provide a moment of escape with a coffee on chilly mornings before work, and can be a welcome refuge on duller days or when entertaining on colder evenings. Best of all, arctic cabins also double as sleep spaces for overnight guests. Arctic Cabins Ltd are the only manufacturer and supplier of the traditional sloping wall cabin design in the UK - a typical garden cabin seats around 15 people and sleeps three.
Now you’ve decided on what new features to add, here are a few final tips to enhance your outdoor living:
Get the lighting right - If you are entertaining late into the evening, or have sheltered and shadowy spaces for sitting, make use of small solar lights to brighten the mood and create an ambience worthy of your favourite city pub garden.
Plan the playlist - A little background music can make a real difference, so choose music that sets the tone for the evening. And keep speakers and volume to a minimum - both your guests and your neighbours will not appreciate being sound blasted!
Safety First - The last and most important point is when using cooking equipment, fires and electrical lighting, ensure that everything is installed and used according to manufacturer instructions. Check for any trip hazards relating to wires (hang or tape them out of harm’s way), and encourage caution around heat sources.
This article has been written by Laura Gozney, co-founder of Gozney, makers of commercial and residential stone fire pizza ovens. Gozney’s latest innovation is Roccbox – the only professional standard portable wood and gas stone oven that can cook a pizza in under 90 seconds.
Post in partnership with Gozney. This article has not been paid for.