As temperatures soar and days grow longer, it's hard not to feel that summer spirit. For Aussies, this time of year has long been equated with outdoor picnics and barbecues. Whether it be an office work party or your old school mates over for a few beers, summer is the time when the party moves from the living room to the backyard.
With this in mind, a well-equipped backyard is important for anyone wanting to be the heart of the party this summer. These two DIY garden projects will ensure that your summer festivities are a delight for everyone involved.
Outdoor movie theatre
In the colder months, the majority of us spend our nights snuggled up in layer upon layer of blankets, binge-watching movies and old seasons of television. While you'll probably choose to forego the blankets, a summer film can be especially enjoyable when you build a backyard movie theatre.
Although this might sound like a complicated endeavour, it's actually very simple. All you need is a frame, a large stretch of white, black-out fabric and a projector. A portable frame can be made from PVC piping.
Using a circular or other type of saw, cut one pipe to the length of the screen (this will be determined by the kind of projector you have). Then cut three more poles for the height of your screen and attach them to the initial pole so they form an 'M' shape. Place three evenly sized PVC pipes in large buckets and fill them with sand to create a solid base. After this, all you need to do is attach the frame to the base and you're ready to go.
This said, many people may find they don't even need an independent screen structure. The side of the house is a brilliant place to fasten a screen. You could even string a rope between two trees and hang it off that, for a more whimsical feel.
For the screen itself there are only two requirements: it must be white and opaque. Canvas material usually works best for this. If needed, sew pieces of fabric together until you have the correct size. Hang the screen and set up the projector and sound system. From here, all you need to do is choose a film!
As with most movies, backyard theatres are better in the dark. Set the mood with lots of rugs, cushions and fairy lights, then fire up the barbecue for dinner. Remember, it needn't even be a movie. Enjoying the warm summer air on a lawn chair and watching the rugby, well-stocked Eskies at hand, is an idyllic way for many an Australian to spend their evening.
Nothing turns a summer party lacklustre faster than warm drinks. This is part of the reason the Esky has become such an iconic part of the Australian lifestyle. Ensure your guests have a consistent supply of refreshing beverages by constructing a table with a built-in cooler.
These can come in a number of different shapes and sizes. A full dining-length cooler table is wonderful for creating an intimate, sit-down family atmosphere while smaller tables can be placed between chairs for the more casual garden party.
To make these a permanent feature in your home, you'll need plenty of wood. Organise enough for the size of table that you want and sand them down until they're smooth. When it comes to actually building the table, the crucial thing is to leave a space for the ice bin on the surface. One way to do this is to use a gardening tray, which will double as the ice holder.
Build a wooden frame around this tray to attach it to the rest of the table. Finally, paint or varnish the wood in your preferred colour.