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Utilising Your Garden During Isolation

Jessica Esa

Contributor

Having a garden or outside space of your own right now has become one of the biggest luxuries we have during this time of social distancing. Parks and beaches are either crowded or under lockdown depending on where you’re based and are no longer a reliable place to enjoy the outdoors. So, if you are one of the lucky ones who have access to a garden right now, what can you do to make the most of it besides just sitting outside? Here are some innovative ideas that should help you put the space to good use for you and your family.

Set up an Outdoor Camping Experience

If you’re missing the great outdoors or your kids need something different to break the routine then why not try setting up camp in the garden. How elaborate this can be depends on how much camping gear you have but pitching up a tent and sleeping bag and watching a scary movie outside can make for a fun date and a break from the norm. Just add a few fairy lights for a romantic backdrop.

If you have a camping stove then it’s amazing what you can make outside or maybe set up the barbecue, some easy one-pot outdoor recipes include pancakes, stir-fries, soup, and pasta dishes. With the barbecue, you can go for grilled meats, vegetables, and fish for a satisfying dinner. Like any good camping trip, reading some ‘fireside’ camp stories or playing some quick-fire card games are what it’s all about.

Tip: If you’d rather not stay out overnight or don’t have camping gear then a good old-fashioned fort made of blankets will be enough to entertain bored children or get some fresh air undercover.

Try Some Easy Growing

Hardly any of us use our garden to its full potential, many of us just keep it trimmed and looking tidy and never push it to be the provider it could be. If panic buying taught us anything it’s what having a patch of your own homegrown food could do in time of crisis like this. It’s also incredibly meditative work, rewarding, and will save you money!

Don’t worry if you don’t have green fingers because food is usually a lot easier to look after than some more fragile flowers and succulents. If you’re a gardening newbie, start with herbs and salad greens which can be grown in pots virtually anywhere if you have limited space. If you’re able then you can also try easy vegetables such as zucchini, tomatoes, and various root vegetables. Here’s a list of low maintenance, easy things to grow in your garden. You’d be surprised at how much just having a small patch of food growing will improve your general diet and shopping bill and it’ll give you a reason to get outdoors.

Have an Outdoor Cinema Experience

Depending on the situation with your neighbours, setting up an outdoor cinema for a family film with some homemade popcorn or a date night with cocktails and an alfresco meal could be just the change of scenery you need right now. If you’ve got a white sheet, a wall (or a washing line with pegs!), and a projector then you’ve got everything you need for an amazing movie night outside; projectors a lot smaller, cheaper, and quieter than they used to be. You can also use a laptop and speakers if you don’t think you’ll be using it long term.

Many projectors now come with speakers but you can also purchase some surround sound speakers or Bluetooth speakers. Make sure you find a patch of ground that’s dry and lay out a blanket and some cushions or some outdoor chairs and have fun decorating your home outdoor cinema. If you truly want to invest in your outdoor cinema you can even buy inflatable screens for whenever you want outdoor movie fun.

Set up a Conducive Fitness Space

So the gym is closed and many of the parks are shutting down or have shut already but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your garden space to keep you fit and healthy during this time. Gardens are particularly useful for Short HIIT workouts and yoga so if she hasn’t prioritized this kind of exercise until now then this is your chance.

Luckily you don’t need gym equipment to carry out either of these styles of exercise but a skipping rope and a yoga mat would be beneficial. Here’s a perfect 12-minute outdoor HIIT workout than anyone can do no matter your outdoor space and with no extra equipment. Free yoga lessons are widely available on youtube so find a routine that works for you and either take your screen outside or memorise a perfect routine for you and play music instead.

If you already love yoga and would like to make your garden a more yoga-centric space then adding a water feature and plants like oakleaf hydrangea and Japanese forest grass can make your garden an alternative to the yoga studio rather than a downgrade. Additionally, if your children need to burn off some steam, doing a simple kids yoga routine with them can really help with their general wellbeing and offer a change of pace.

Have Afternoon Tea or a Picnic

If you’re working from home, this is a perfect way to give yourself an afternoon treat and a bit of self-care away from the screen. With minimal preparation, you can have yourself an English high tea with sandwiches, scones, and a tea of your choice - here are thirty-nine afternoon tea recipes that you can indulge in at home. Or just set up a picnic on the ground with fresh lemonade, fruit, and sandwiches. If you have children, they can help make and the picnic in the basket which will make it all the more rewarding when everyone can tuck in. Obviously your afternoon tea can be as aesthetic as you want so treat yourself.

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