How to guides
How to guides

How to create a garden bar

Want to recreate the atmosphere of a lively bar without leaving your own garden? Follow these tips and tricks to create a spot to serve up drinks and enjoy laid back summer fun with friends.

Photo credit: Wayfair

Plan its position

If you’re hoping to enjoy a cool cocktail in comfort, the location of your bar will be crucial. Too much sun will melt you along with your ice cubes, while too little sun could prompt a yearning for a hot chocolate and blanket. The ideal spot will be in an area that gets ample sun, but with the option of shade when the rays are strong.

Think also about the proximity of your bar to the kitchen. The perfect position would be just outside your patio doors so that you can easily nip in and out to grab supplies or use the sink. If this isn’t possible, consider building a path up to your bar area to avoid trampling mud indoors.

Photo credit: Dobbies

Consider the dimensions

If you’re planning to build your own traditional-style bar, bear in mind the optimal size. A comfortable height for a bar counter is around 90 to 95cm, but 75cm is best if it’s doubling up as a table. Try to allow 30m depth for the bar surface, with another 30cm overhang to pop some bar stools below.

As for length, you could plan this around the number of people you plan to accommodate. Allow 60-75cm of space per person.

Photo credit: Rockett St George

Use durable surfaces

Your garden bar will need to be durable enough to stand up to outdoor weather, so think carefully about the materials you choose for its worktop. Stone, wood, concrete, glass, tiles and metal are good options, while engineered quartz, solid surfaces, laminates and indoor-rated tiles aren’t so durable against the elements.

When adding a heavy work surface to an existing piece of furniture, consider adding reinforcements below to ensure it’s strong enough to support it. A professional will be able to help you with this. 

Photo credit: Von Haus

Think about storage

To avoid numerous trips to the kitchen, make sure you have some space to store glasses, drinks and utensils. A cupboard below the bar is ideal, but if this isn’t an option consider alternative storage instead. Try purchasing a few roomy wicker baskets that can be stored indoors and brought outside when needed.

It’s also a good idea to invest in an ice bucket or drinks cooler. Put a few beers on ice so that guests can grab themselves a cold drink without having to venture to the fridge. 

Photo credit: Top Drawer, Outside Gang

Opt for something portable

Looking for a more flexible option? Step forward the humble drinks trolley - a bar on wheels that can be used both indoors and out. There are some stylish and fun designs on the market, so you should be able to find the ideal trolley to match your home and garden.

The beauty of a trolley is that you can move it around to different seating areas in the garden, depending on the amount of guests you have, or the weather.

Photo credit: Rockett St George