You know what we’re doing this year? Jumping on the outdoor bar band wagon. (Or should that be just getting back on the wagon?) Never mind. The point is, outdoor bar ideas are where it’s at to turn your average backyard into the perfect space for entertaining – even if it is just your own family, including the dog.
Spending time outdoors is a bliss and a proven stress-buster also, so what better way to enjoy the warmer months than with a beer or a freshly mixed piña colada in hand as you sit out in your own outdoor space? Whether you want to DIY a bar for a professional finish or if you’re looking for a small space solution that’s quick to put together and easy on the budget, we’ve got all the options to make your outdoor setup a dream.
We spoke with Marianne Shillingford, UK-basd Creative Director at woodcare brand Cuprinol about why it’s prime time to get outdoors after a tough year and how to make it even more enjoyable by upgrading your space with all the latest garden ideas and more outdoor living inspiration, ‘It’s time to get outside and give our outdoor spaces a much needed refresh. Try creating your own colourful outdoor bar and cooking area so you don’t have to keep heading away from the fun and back into the kitchen when the food and drink run low.’
1. A DIY swing door outdoor bar
(Image credit: Cuprinol)
Rustic, stylish and just what you need to mix up a few cocktails on a Friday night, small backyard dwellers, include a swing door for easy storage and of course, to hide all the evidence of having had one too many… We’ve included the full DIY for this below so keep scrolling.
2. Make room for two
(Image credit: Garden Bar Co)
For an authentic outdoor bar experience, make sure yours has space to pull a couple of bar stools up. This setup gets points for all the modern vibes too.
3. DIY with drama
(Image credit: Cuprinol)
Making your own entertainment space means you can spice it up however you’d like. Go for a dark forest green paint for cool vibes all around.
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4. Make it modern
(Image credit: Daneeti )
Add a little sophistication that’s still fun to your outdoor bar by choosing neutral colors and a slick design. The rattan painted chairs make this area a little cozy but also super glam so that your cosmo-drinking experience will be on point.
5. Pitch up a garden bar under the stars
(Image credit: Cox and Cox)
Be a little more adventurous and take your outdoor bar to the lawn. Pop up a canopy like this gorgeous fringed one, add a small table, lay down your favorite outdoor rug, soft furnishings, and grab the wine of course for a picture perfect set up. Especially if you have a pup like this one handy.
6. Frame yours with a backdrop
(Image credit: Habitat + Sainsburys)
If you’ve got a tiki style garden bar but want to make your setup a little more chic and sophisticated, think about the backdrop and play around with colors to find the best look. We like the white patterned screens, giving us all the summer vibes, especially with those cacti.
7. Keep it low-key with a hidden wine rack
(Image credit: Amara)
Wine? What wine? There’s no wine hiding underneath my breakfast table… Subtle, chic, useful and stylish in this pebble finish, choose a wine rack as cute as this and you will never be too far from the best wine bar again.
8. Combine it into your outdoor kitchen surface
(Image credit: Garden House Design)
Having your garden bar station on the end of your workspace sure makes for easy entertaining. Steak? Check. Wine? One moment please.
9. Put a tiny garden bar on wheels (with plants)
(Image credit: Ella James)
Easy to manoeuvre and easy to beautify even the smallest of outdoor spaces, we love this mini outdoor bar on wheels and will totally be taking it inside when it’s cold!
10. Go for an industrial style outdoor bar
Noreen home bar – £219.99 on Wayfair
(Image credit: Wayfair)
The gorgeous Noreen home bar is super chic and will make a great addition to a contemporary deck or patio. Made from powder coated steel and featuring an aluminium top, it can be moved around easily thanks to the castor wheels at the back. It looks great on its own too, even without any drinks. And we’ll be bringing it indoors in winter for helping out at dinner parties (assuming we can hold them by then).
11. Head to Hawaii
Honolulu bar – £575 on John Lewis & Partners
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)
If there’s one home bar on this list this Real Homes team member is unable to resist, it’s this one. A gorgeous replica of a palm leaf beach bar, The Honolulu Bar from John Lewis will conjure up memories of sunny holidays, while providing spacious two tiers of storage, in case you’re also making an al fresco lunch to go with the drinks. Oh, and it also works as a parasol. All round winner.
12. A DIY recycled palette bar
Reclaimed pallet garden bar – £86 on Etsy
(Image credit: Etsy)
Maybe what you actually really feel like is a trip to your (currently shut) local? Create an intimate makeshift pub in even the smallest garden with this ingenious wall mounted garden bar made from a pallet. It won’t take up too much room, can be personalised, and it’s eco-friendly. Perfect.
13. A DIY potting bench garden bar
Moreton Potting Bench – £280 from Garden Trading
(Image credit: Garden Trading)
Not sure you want a full-time bar in your garden? It’s easy to use the Moreton Potting Bench from Garden Trending as a home bar whenever you feel like it, and then use it as it’s intended the rest of the time. It’s certainly smart enough to be used as a bar, but it’s also very functional, with pull-out drawers and a galvanised steel metal top. And, who doesn’t want to propagate plants with a G&T in hand?
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14. DIY timber outdoor bar
(Image credit: Wickes)
Timber is a resilient and sustainable wood which makes the perfect material to use if you want to build your own home bar, see how Wickes do it in their step-by-step.
15. Make it bespoke
(Image credit: Gap Photos)
A little more luxury, but hey let’s dream. What’s an outdoor bar without a wine fridge? Exactly. So if you’re treating your household to a full blown cooking space, make sure you go for all the finer details.
16. Theme an outdoor kitchen trolley bar
(Image credit: Wayfair)
Proof that you can beautify any of the best kitchen trolleys and more to turn it into a veritable mini garden bar, you just need to get creative. Think of a color scheme, and don’t skimp on the detail for a punchy (see what we did there?) look to your easy DIY outdoor bar.
How much does it cost to build an outdoor bar?
If you want to build your own outdoor bar, it will set you back about £400/ $550 for the decking boards, cladding, any paint and so on, not to mention it will cost you about half a day of labour if you are experienced in DIY that is! This will save you cash if you want a sturdy outdoor bar that will last for a good few years as retailer ones are more pricey.
If you’re on a budget then look to DIY your garden bar with some of our thrifty inspiration above.
What do you need to DIY an outdoor bar?
The experts at Cuprinol recommend you need the following to build/DIY your own garden bar:
- 5L of resilient outdoor paint in your favorite color (we like Cuprinol Ducksback)
- Timber (different measurements below) look for treated rough-sawn timber
- 2-inch paint brush
- 45mm wood screws (a box of 50 should do)
- Masking tape
- Hacksaw or bolt cutter
- Tape measure and pencil
- Hand saw
- Electric drill, with drill bits
- Small exterior hinges and screws
- Metal chain
- Hooks and eyes
- Measure and cut your timber: To size (150mm x 22mm, total 8.5m length) and rough-sawn batten to hold it together (47mm x 22mm, total 2m length). Any leftover wood can go in a fire pit. Treated, rough-sawn timber cutting lengths below. You’ll need four of the 90cm lengths of 150mm x 22m treated rough-sawn planks for the door, and the other two 90cm lengths for the vertical sides of the box. The two lengths of 60cm will fit horizontally across the door, holding it together, while the three lengths of 55.6cm are for the top, bottom of the box, and middle shelf. The first two lengths of batten are for the additional casing that will face outwards from the inside of the box, positioned at the top and bottom. They’ll offer the box a extra support, and ensure that bottles, glasses and shakers don’t fall off the bottom shelf when the door’s open. The final bit will be used as a bracket to fix the whole bar on the wall, more on this later.
- Build the box frame: To create the box, arrange the four lengths of timber in a rectangle shape (the top and bottom pieces should sit in between the vertical sides, not on top) and screw them together at 90-degrees with 45mm exterior wood screws – use two or three at each corner. Top tip: Create some narrow pilot holes in the wood with your drill, so the screws can find some grip on their way in, and to stop the wood splitting.
- Fit a midway shelf: Next, fix the third length of 55.6cm timber into the middle of the box as a midway shelf. Then fit and fix your two lengths of batten at the top and bottom of the box as before. Again, they’re in between the vertical sides of the box, just like the shelf.
- Attach the door: To attach the door and hinges, lay four 90cm lengths of 150mm x 22mm side by side, then fix the two 60cm pieces horizontally across to hold everything together. Make sure they’re flush with the head and base of the door, and use the same screws you used for the box. One screw per plank is all you need, so four screws per horizontal plank.
- Add the hinges: Next, attach two hinges to the base of the box, line it up with the door and fix. You should then have a large, sturdy box with a central shelf and a hinged door.
- Paint: Next, protect the hinges with masking tape and apply a coat of paint to everything else. Use a 2″ brush to get into all the nooks and crannies, painting in the same direction as the grain for the best finish. Let it dry, then give it a second coating which will take an hour to dry.
- Secure the door: Meanwhile you can attach the fixings to hold the door in place. Screw eyes and hooks onto the exterior of the bar. Top tip: Choose exterior hooks and eyes specifically so they don’t go rusty.
- Create the swing door: Next, you’ll need to attach two supporting chains for the swing door to stay level at a 90-degree angle. Cut two lengths of chain to roughly 127cm each using bolt cutters (measure carefully before cutting).
- Fix your outdoor bar to the wall: Finally, fix your bar to securely to a wall.
- Decorate: And, go to town on decor, add a cocktail shaker and you’re done.
Treated, rough-sawn timber cutting lengths:
90cm lengths of 150mm x 22m x6
60cm lengths 150mm x 22mm x2
55.6cm length 150mm x 22mm x3
Rough-sawn batten cutting lengths:
55.6cm lengths of 47mm x 22mm x3
Cheers to that!