As summer holidays loom many of us will be embracing the thought of a staycation this year. With much uncertainty surrounding travel and social distancing in the coming months, one thing we can all rely on is our own gardens if we are lucky enough to have one.
Lockdown has highlighted that we need not be obsessed with jumping in a car or plane and getting as far away from our homes as possible, in fact quite the opposite. We have learned to enjoy what we have. Whether it is a balcony or courtyard garden, pristine lawn or wild meadow, however large or small your space, you really can make it the sanctuary you escape to. With a little thought an preparation you can recreate your summer holiday at home.
Create a space that will make you feel like you have stepped away from the stresses of everyday life and have arrived at your holiday destination.
Choose an area where you can sit comfortably and relax. Lay out chairs, beanbags, a rug, log stumps, loungers or a hammock.
Why not choose a theme for your holiday den? Perhaps create an exotic Moroccan courtyard, a nautical seaside retreat, a romantic cosy corner draped in English roses or elegant, tropical palms. Surround yourself with plants and create your dream garden destination.
Let there be light
Light your staycation zone so you can spend the evening outside and chat away in to the early hours. Solar lighting or candles are great for creating atmosphere. Some dainty fairy lights wrapped around a trellis will make your garden feel ethereal.
Food is a great way to bring the family together, a social occasion to sit and chat whilst feeling the breeze waft, bee’s buzz and warmth on our skin. So dig out the BBQ and make lunch or dinner ‘an event.’ If you do not have a BBQ then cook on the hob and take it outside to eat. There is something so invigorating about eating outside and feeling the grass between your toes. Gone are the formal constraints of everyone taking their places at the dinner table.
Alternatively prepare a traditional picnic. Go to the effort to prepare sandwiches, finger food, cake and perhaps even a little summer cocktail. Lay a rug down on the lawn and settle in with the family whilst listening to your summer playlist on the stereo.
If you want to add a special twist to your holiday drinks then make edible flower ice cubes. Rose petals, violas, pansies, even herbs like rosemary and mint will all make gorgeous additions to jazz up any drink.
From the beginning of human existence fire has been a source of wonder and a focal point to bring us together.
Recycle an old washing machine drum to make your own fire pit or there are plenty of purpose built ones available online.
Sit around into the early hours swapping stories whilst toasting marshmallows, staring at the glowing embers. There is nothing more evocative and grounding than the smell of a real fire.
Spend a night or two outdoors. If you have space, pop a tent up in the garden and recreate your summer camping holiday at home. Or for the ultimate outdoor experience simply sleep under the stars in a sleeping bag – backyard bivvy! It’s a good recce for future travels further a field and great fun for kids.
If you have a camper van, why not camp on the drive just for fun?
If there is one thing to stop active minds whirling then it is staring at the stars. On clear, warm nights, lie on the floor and look up. Study the constellations, map the patterns and study the boundless possibilities of the universe. If you are lucky you may see a shooting star
Bring the whole family together with games. Chess, draughts, Monopoly or cards – our family is a big fan of UNO! Or if you are feeling more energetic kick a ball around, shoot some hoops, practice your cartwheels or skipping.
If younger kids need a little more entertainment then water always works, whether it is a simple washing up bowl of toys, paddling pool or sprinkler system to keep them laughing.
The most important element of any holiday is to rest.
It’s ok to nap, you’re on holiday. Often at home we feel guilty slowing down as there is always another job to do but the beauty of a staycation is that we allow ourselves to stop and relax.
Grab a book and have a reading binge, let your imagination run wild or close your eyes and catch some ‘Z’s.”
Recharge those batteries, feel all that green energy calm you down. Get away from it all and revel in the fact that you have saved a fortune on your staycation and avoided all motorway and airport queues.