Garden bars have never been more popular, as Brits look for ways to make the most of their garden and spend quality time with friends and family.
The brilliant thing about a backyard watering hole is that you can create one quickly and on a small budget. How much you invest is entirely up to you - you could create a quick, temporary structure that still looks the part, or you can go all out and fully stretch your DIY muscles with a permanent bar big enough to spend long evenings chatting over a drink or two.
If you’re thinking about creating your own garden bar, big or small, here are some tips to get you started, along with a range of garden bar DIY guides to suit everyone, from home improvement novices to DIY enthusiasts.
Use what you’ve got
Do you have an unloved shed, in dire need of decluttering? So, no more putting it off, it’s time to clear out that junk and find a new home for your garden tools and bikes, and convert it into a bar. You could cut in a serving hatch, create a bar top, paint it and add some decorations. Your guests, perched on bar stools outside, will never recognise that it’s your old shed.
Consider the neighbours
If you have a large enough garden, do your best to put your bar at the far end to protect your neighbours from any noise.
Light it up
Use fairy lights, or better still a neon light sign to give a warm glow, even on cold evenings – and really bring the bar feeling to your own patch. You can buy solar-powered lights to reduce your impact on the garden and keep your energy bills down.
Don’t just light up your bar, invest in a few little lanterns to hang in the tree or along a path – to make it really inviting.
Add bright colours
If you’re after that beach-style Tiki bar look, then add plenty of colour and opt for something like a nice coat of bright yellow paint. You could also try covering your bar with bamboo matting. It’s a sure-fire way to hide those pallets or reclaimed timber behind a tropical-style facade.
Make your own bar sign
Why not hang your very own bar sign to inject some personality into your garden bar? There are guides online on how to make your own, such as this one from the talented Tropical Plant Addict. But it’s over to you to come up with your own humorous name. Release your inner artistic flair, this is a great excuse for a family project!
Entertain your guests
Why not bring that real pub feel to your garden bar and put up a darts board? Or hold your own quiz night with a few choice guests.
Plus there are plenty of other’s you could try such as these classic garden games.
Make a ‘Murphy Bar’
Not everyone has the space, time, budget or DIY skills to create a large garden bar. One alternative option is a ‘Murphy Bar’. This is a type of fold-down bar that you can open up when you want a drink, then fold away when you don’t need it. You can find instructions on how to build this type of bar online.
Some bar designs to consider…
If you’re looking for further inspiration and help, here are some other suggestions and guides for bar designs.
…for Tiki bar lovers
This Tiki garden bar design, from Wickes, really looks the part. The home improvement retailer says materials for this project, mainly timber and decking boards, will cost under £400. It says if you consider yourself to have moderate DIY skills, it should take approximately eight hours to build when following its detailed, step-by-step instructions. Wickes does suggest you might need a second pair of hands to lift the heavy cladded panels. Make sure you don’t cause yourself an injury doing it all on your own.
…for small spaces
Bosch, the home appliances and tool maker, also has a garden bar design to follow. This one is a much smaller affair, designed to incorporate a cool box, and is perfect if outdoor space is limited or you want a bar on your balcony – yes this is possible!
Bosch says the bar is easy to make, taking between one and three hours, and should cost between £50-100.
…to impress friends and family
For people with a bit more time on their hands and the DIY skills to match, tool maker SGS has the bar project just for you. This is the real deal: your garden bar will have a shed-like room, and bar area complete with shelf and bar flap. It’ll also have decking, which SGS says will “create a pub garden-like aesthetic on which to host your guests while they drink and chat”.
This one will take days rather than hours, but the end results could be very impressive.
If you need something a little more flexible, rather than a permanent addition to your garden, then how about a DIY bar cart? That way, you can move it around, taking it out onto your decking or patio on warm summer evenings. Try this design here or consider converting an existing piece of furniture to create a more flexible bar-cart type structure, such as this one.
All of these bar designs can be personalised with your own decorations and personal flourishes. So have fun creating and reap the rewards when you’re finished. Good luck!