Today is officially the first day of British Springtime! We made it! Prepare yourselves for skipping lambs, beautiful daffodils, delicious Easter chocolate and of course… the countdown to Summer! There’s nothing we love more than spending as much time as possible in our gardens. Find out how to make the most of your garden this summertime with an alfresco dinner party!
Step 1: Pick a meal theme
While this first step is optional, picking a theme can help to narrow down your menu choice, saving you time! Some popular alfresco dinner party themes are:
- Bite-sized finger foods
- Rustic BBQ/campfire
- Old family recipes
Pro Tip: Choose a menu that looks spectacular to watch while being cooked in an outdoor kitchen, keeping your guests entertained and avoids you being left out of the socialising.
Step 2: Set the perfect ambience
Nature is beautiful – so use it to your advantage! Create table centrepieces using flowers from your garden or hang up fairy lights around your fence to add more lighting. If you’re hosting your garden party in the middle of summer, don’t forget to stock up on citronella candles to keep the bugs away while looking delightful!
Pro Tip: The bigger the table, the better the centrepiece! Depending on how many guests you have, you can create a beautiful centrepiece on a table seating 8 people.
Step 3: Start with some cocktails
Everyone loves being greeted with a little fruity number! Get everyone talking with your amazing cocktail-making skills. For some fruity cocktail inspo, try a vodka martini with blueberry juice or a sparkling apple sangria.
Pro Tip: If you’re making a fruity cocktail, chop your fruit beforehand and keep chilled in an outdoor fridge, so you can focus on enjoying your dinner party and not chopping fruit!
Step 4: Get everyone involved in the cooking
We don’t mean slave labour here. Getting everyone involved in the cooking process encourages lots of conversation and laughter – as long as you have no Gordon Ramseys among you!
Pro Tip: Cooking in an outdoor kitchen means you’ll never miss a conversation and helps the evening to flow nicely.
Step 5: Keep the drinks flowing
There’s no better complement to a perfect dinner party than chilled drinks all night.
Step 6: Keep everyone warm
Make sure it’s not the weather that brings your dinner party to a close! Stock up on blankets and extra jackets for everyone to wrap up with when the sun goes down.
Pro Tip: Infrared heaters effortlessly keep your guests warm and comfortable throughout the night.
What if I told you that you could enjoy the most social atmosphere, with the freshest food, and the best company, out in your garden whatever the weather? It’s true!
Just because Summer is only 3 Months of the year doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your garden for all 12! And when I say enjoying, I mean it – not just using your washing line! If you love the outdoors and wish you could have garden parties all year round (without freezing your guests to death!), the Supreme Gazebo is for you!
Spend more time enjoying your garden! You can bring everything outside with a fully stocked kitchen and entertainment area. Go further than just charred sausages on a disposable BBQ and cook food that your family really enjoy.
Big family? No problem! 8 dining table chairs, large table, and 4 bar stools are all included as standard, making your garden the life and soul of the party.
Love chewing the fat into the wee hours? Infrared heaters and lighting means that you can leave the blankets and torches where they are and focus on reconnecting and conversation.
Can’t guarantee the British weather? UV-resistant side panels can protect you from blistering sun, driving rain and everything in between.
If you love entertaining guests and want to make the most of your garden, the Supreme Gazebo is unmissable. Coming fully stocked with everything you need to host the ultimate garden parties and social gatherings, it really is your one stop shop to the perfect garden space!
Want to know more? Of course you do! Get in touch with us for your Free Brochure.
Have you ever thought about buying a log cabin, shed, or wooden garden outbuilding for your home? They can be a great addition to provide extra space or make more use of your garden! Read on for how to choose the right cabin for you.
Let’s start with one of the most burning questions – do log cabins increase the value of your home?
If you’re going to create more living space outdoors and do this with thought and style that complements your home – absolutely!
Where should I put it?
There’s a lot to think about within this question alone, so we’ve broken it down below:
- You’ll need to get around the outside to clean and treat the sides.
- There’s no point paying for windows if there is no view or you can’t open them.
- It would be thoughtful not to place the cabin too close to your neighbour’s property so that rain water pours off the roof onto their patio and into their garden. No one wants to become an episode of Nightmare Neighbours.
- Try to place the cabin in a position that doesn’t block any natural light into yours or your neighbour’s home
- Situate your cabin to better use your garden. If you have enough space, place it in an area that you don’t use as much, rather than taking up space where you play with the kids, tend to a vegetable patch or sit and look out at the views. Think of a cabin as an extension of your living space!
Do you need planning permission?
Generally, no – but there are exceptions! It is always best to check with your local council. As long as your cabin:
- Is no higher than 2.5 metres.
- Is at least 1 metre away from your boundary.
- Doesn’t take up over 30% of your garden.
- Is not placed in a conservation area.
Pro Tip: You can build a cabin up to 4 metres high, if it is 2 metres away from your boundary line!
Should you pressure treat your log cabin?
Pressure treatment comes at a price, but cabins which come pre-treated are better than those that are not. So, if your budget allows, go ahead and buy a pre-treated cabin. If the floor has a damp-proof membrane between the joists and the floorboards and the floorboards are stained, then the wood will generally last longer, getting more value from your cabin purchase.
It is worth considering that eventually the cabin will fade, weather and discolour over time. The only way to retain the cabin’s natural beauty and longevity, regardless of any pre-treatment, is to coat and treat the wood. There are so many wood stains and paints in gorgeous colours – ranging from a natural wood finish to a bright, shocking pink! Any of these applied correctly are more effective than any other type of treatment.
Are they suitable for use all year-round?
(should you insulate them?) Chosen and built purposefully, any log cabin can be used all year round. Naturally, if you want to use your log cabin as a comfortable area in the darkest depths of a UK Winter, it’s probably a good idea to get the cabin insulated.
Insulating a cabin costs approximately around 15% of the actual cabin purchase price. If there is insulation material fixed to the underside of the roof boards and then disguised by ceiling panelling, there are 2 major benefits:
- It keeps the cabin warmer in the winter (the cold cannot penetrate the cabin so easily and any internal heating can’t escape).
- It keeps the cabin significantly cooler in the summer by restricting the heat from the sun penetrating through the roof.
In short, if you want to use your cabin all year round, it’s a good idea to consider insulation to keep the space as comfortable as possible, regardless of the weather.
What will the cabin be used for?
This consideration is very important, but as you’re thinking about buying a log cabin, you probably already have an idea of what you want to use it for! But that isn’t the end of it…
Are you buying a cabin for a children’s playhouse? That’s awesome, some of my happiest childhood memories were from playing in my playhouse. What happens when they grow up and no longer use it? To avoid the playhouse being neglected (or in our case, becoming a second house for our cat – seriously, he had a bed in there and everything), have you considered buying a larger cabin that can be repurposed once the kids no longer use it?
Pro Tip: Log Cabins are so versatile, they literally are a low-cost extension on your home! We’ve included some ideas below for what you can use a log cabin for:
- A home office
- A covered garden seating area
- A party bar area
- A changing room for your sauna or hot tub
- A private covered retreat for your sauna or hot tub
- A gymnasium
- A hobby and craft room
- A children’s play area
- Simply storage
- A garage
- A Pinterest-worthy garden design project
- Just because you can – if you have the space, do you really need to justify it?!
We’ve scratched the surface of what to consider when investing in a log cabin, but it should definitely be enough to make a great start on your journey to a perfect log cabin for your home. Got any questions? We would be surprised if you didn’t! Get in touch with us at Award Leisure for all the information you could possibly want, and get your Free copies of our Log Cabin Brochures and Buyers Guides!
The Finnish have it totally right – Saunas are amazing for both your body and your mind. There is nothing that compares to that almost euphoric feeling of stepping out of the sauna feeling your skin completely cleansed and your mind ready to take on the day. Over here in the UK, saunas are becoming increasingly popular with people interested in health and fitness, but there are so many advantages to saunas that almost everyone can get some benefit out of using one.
So, what are the benefits?
- Saunas are relaxing. The main reason any of us even try a Sauna in the first place is to chill out. After a hard workout or a long day, you need to just relax, which is exactly what you will do. The combination of heat, plus being disconnected from the rest of the world for even just a few minutes (don’t even try and take your phone in with you!), can transform your attitude and leave you feeling refreshed.
- Using a sauna cleans your pores. Think about it: Steam causes your pores to open so you can release sweat. As your pores open and sweat, they also flush out the icky stuff sitting on your skin’s surface or just below the surface. All the dirt, toxins and germs from your environment, your day, even your makeup get flushed out to leave your skin looking clearer and feeling healthier.
- Using a sauna increases your flexibility. The last thing you want when you’re trying to relax in the Sauna is for some towel-clad person next to you to bend over and touch their toes. That said, if you are ever lucky enough to find an empty Sauna (or if you have a private home sauna!), take a few minutes to stretch. The concept is that intense, penetrating heat can relieve stiff muscles and make them more malleable. A recent study showed that stretching in the Sauna led to a 205% improvement in flexibility.
- Saunas can help with exercise recovery. An intense workout can leave your muscles tired, sore and stiff. Using the heat from a Sauna can release tension and help muscle fibres recover faster.
- You can detoxify. Regardless of how healthy you may be and how much you may try to live a balanced, health-focused lifestyle your body is storing tons of toxins. They can come from chemicals in your environment or from your food, and the best way to release these toxins is to mobilise them in your body and sweat them out in a sauna.
- Saunas can help cure a hangover. To help alleviate the hangover symptoms and speed up the recovery process, sweating it out in a Sauna can help rid your body of all the grossness from last night’s booze-fest. That said, just be sure to properly hydrate along the way. While a good sweat can help, being dehydrated could hurt you and make your symptoms worse.
- Relieve joint pain. Saunas have been shown to help patients dealing with arthritis and joint discomfort, as the heat therapy can cause temporary pain relief. A Dutch study in 2009 showed that participants reported improvement in pain, stiffness and fatigue during the Sauna session.
- Saunas are good for your heart. Because Saunas stimulate your heart to pump faster moving blood throughout your body, bathing in a sauna is a mini-workout for your heart. Saunas can also lower blood pressure, being the perfect excuse to hop in the sauna for people with high blood pressure!
- Increase the value of your property. let’s face it, with all the benefits in owning a sauna, everyone will want what you’ve got. Health, well-being, a beautiful private sauna room and all in the confines of your own home.
Infrared OR Electric?
- Heat. If you prefer steam, higher temperatures and a more social environment, then the best option is a traditional steam Sauna. Because the traditional Saunas create steam, the temperature varies within the room. There is much more bather flexibility in the Sauna’s impact, effect and seating arrangements. If you prefer lower temperatures but with body-penetrating heat, an Infrared Sauna is best. To maximise the heat produced by any Infrared Sauna the hottest place in the Sauna will always be in front of the heater. Finding somewhere to sit comfortably to maximise this position is often difficult in an Infrared Sauna.
- Humidity. The benefits of heat bathing have much to do with the Sauna creating a self-induced fever (sweating). As Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine observed, “Give me fever and I can cure every disease.” While this statement is hyperbole, it does point to the healing power of an increased body temperature. Both Sauna types will be relatively dry. The Infrared rooms tend to be close to normal house humidity levels unless it has been on for extended periods of time. The traditional Sauna will be drier (10% or lower) until water is sprinkled over the rocks. The traditional Sauna is the only bath in the world where the user controls both temperature and humidity, with humidity controlled by how much water is thrown on the rocks. In infrared Saunas you can control the temperature, but not the humidity.
- Social Experience. There is a difference in the social experience between the two rooms. While the UK may not fully explore the social experience to the extent of the Finnish, traditional saunas are more socially rewarding. From family time, to heart-felt conversations with significant others, to Sauna parties - the traditional Sauna experience can lead to meaningful socialising and bonding. Traditional Steam Saunas are typically large enough to allow multiple people to enjoy the Sauna for social time. Though a Sauna session may only be 10-15 minutes at a time, the experience of heating, preparing to use the Sauna, talking and relaxing afterwards can be very therapeutic and rewarding. It is possible to converse in an infrared room, but due to the smaller room sizes and room design the typical experience of the infrared room is often more about an individual experience.
Wood or electric?
- Overall Experience. The overall experience is similar whether heating with electric or wood.
- Heating. Traditional Steam Saunas can be heated either by electricity or wood. Electric heaters will need a 32amp supply and must be connected by a qualified electrician. This obviously comes at an additional cost, as no Sauna heater will be supplied with an electrical cable. This supply will have to be connected directly to your fuse board, so you will need to determine the location of your new Sauna in anticipation of how the electric supply will be managed.
- Ventilation. The wood heater will need a vent out the top or back of the room, as well as provide an appropriate firewall around the heater.
Is there anything else I need to think about when buying a Sauna?
I’m glad you asked! Like with any major home investment, you need to make sure the sauna you buy is perfect for you and what you want to use it for. There’s no point buying a 2-seater electric sauna if your plan is to hold sauna parties and want to throw water over the hot rocks!
- Seats. Do you want one level of bench seats, 2 or even 3? The various seats are not just to accommodate more bathers, the different levels of seating each offer variation of temperatures and the ability to lay down and stretch your body.
- Heater. How hot will the Sauna get? Is it going to be effective for the internal size of the Sauna? Do you need a window in case the heater makes the Sauna too hot or you become claustrophobic? No one likes a show-off. If the heat regularly gets too uncomfortable, you’re not going to use the sauna as often, and you will not see the benefit of your investment.
- Lights. How does the lighting appear? Most Saunas come with pretty colour-changing lights; but as with anything metal in contact with steam, they quickly rust. Would you prefer to create the ambience with candles which can even be scented?
- Cladding. Is the internal and outer material guaranteed and fit for purpose? Remember that both the outside and inside will be affected by moisture and temperature variation. This is unavoidable!
- Cooling down. Is there a ‘cool down’ area anywhere inside the Sauna – either further away from the heater or closer to the door? You may want some light relief without leaving the Sauna room and without opening the Sauna door – you don’t want to lose all that sweet, sweet humidity.
- Music. Music is the food of the soul and can enhance the Sauna experience. Would you prefer waterproof, wireless speakers which can be purchased from a third party and therefore better suited and guaranteed than speakers that may come with the sauna?
- Aromatherapy. If you have a traditional sauna, pouring one or two drops of essential oils in the water you pour over the coals will surround you in a cloud of delightful fragrance! Unsure what essential oils to try in the sauna? Check out our aromatherapy section in our post on Maximising the Benefit of a Sauna Session!
There are loads of things to consider when it comes to choosing the right sauna for you – if you’re just starting out, it can feel a little overwhelming. Fear not! You can find more information in our Free Downloadable Sauna Buyer’s Guide, or if you have specific questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team. Unsure what model will fit in your home or garden? Book a Free Home Site Survey to maximise your space and find the perfect sauna for you.
As the last of the Christmas food disappears and people start their New Year’s Resolutions in earnest (for the third time this year… we see you!), some may start looking towards the Summer and planning outdoor projects to improve their garden. While a nice potted plant here and there may do the trick for some, the more visionary among us may be thinking big – we’re talking Hot Tubs and landscaping!
Planning where to put your hot tub has never been easier. Rather than simply putting the hot tub on your existing patio and losing valuable space, have you considered making the Hot Tub the centrepiece of your garden? It’s a good idea to think ahead as to how you might use your hot tub, and how your needs may evolve as time goes on – if you decide that the mad dash in your budgie smugglers from the house to the Hot Tub is too much to bear, consider adding a changing area or if you regularly have friends over, an Enclosure with a built-in bar can help to make the most of your Hot Tub area.
At some point, most hot tub owners choose to place a Gazebo over their hot tub; as we’ve seen in our previous blog posts, you’re missing out on a whole new Hot Tub world without one! If you’ve fitted the hot tub in front of the kitchen or dining room windows, you might make life a bit more challenging as you will limit your choice of hot tub enclosures, and any type of gazebo is going to block your view and much needed natural light into the house; so its best to be prepared and think carefully about where to position your Hot Tub.
Pro Tip: Don’t waste money putting the hot tub onto expensive decking – deck around the hot tub instead, giving the impression that the hot tub is slightly sunken and looks very stylish!
Enclosures are a super effective way of making the most of your Hot Tub – and making your garden beautiful! Gazebos made from richly coloured wood, with hip roofs, cedar shingle tiles, glass doors, louvered sides and sliding doors offer texture, height, reflection, dimension and definition to almost every garden space – no matter what the shape or size of the garden footprint.
If you need help with getting your garden project off the ground, Get in touch with us at Award Leisure. We offer a 1 Stop landscaping service, alongside our FREE site surveys to ensure your Hot Tub & Enclosure installation goes as smoothly as possible – So make those Pinterest dreams a reality in 2019!
#hottubenclosures #hottubgazebos #hottubshelters #hottubenclosuresideas
Hot Tub Gazebos are not only great for keeping the bad weather out, they also help to create one of the best hot tub experiences imaginable. Visualise gazing up at the stars on a crisp, clear evening while relaxing in soothing, bubbling water – whatever the weather! The large skylights fitted into the cedar gazebo roof offers weather protection while keeping you connected with the outside world, so you can relax and watch the world above you go by. The night sky changes constantly throughout year and even during the night, giving you the perfect reason to indulge in a midnight soak in the middle of Winter.
Adding an enclosure with a skylight isn’t the only way to maximise your Hot Tub experience! If you have a large family or decide to throw a hot tub party, there’s no better way of keeping refreshments close at hand than making use of a bar that is built-in to the side of a Hot Tub Enclosure. Having a bar close to your Hot Tub will transform the area into a great spot for social gatherings and give all your friends the perfect excuse to pop round with a bottle or two!
#hottubenclosures #hottubgazebos #hottubshelters #hottubenclosuresideas
With a Hot Tub Enclosure, making the most of your hot tub throughout the whole year has never been easier. Enclosures come in many sizes to suit any garden, Cedar gazebos can come fully enclosed with sliding doors or bronzed glass windows to create a completely enclosed space; or if you prefer something a bit more connected to the outdoors, you can choose to have up to 3 open and closing louvered sides for a more immersive outdoor hot tub experience while still being protected from the elements.
Cedar is the most resilient wood to inclement weather and therefore makes for a perfect Hot Tub Enclosure. Despite the unpredictable British climate, if you’ve placed your hot tub in an enclosure, there’s very little the weather can throw at you to spoil a pre-planned soak.
While 70% of hot tubs are purchased during the summer months, a seasoned hot tub owner will tell you that the best time to enjoy the relaxing warm massage is when the weather turns colder. While most of us only use our garden through the autumn and winter months for hanging out the washing or letting the pets out, hot tub owners get to use their garden 365 days of the year – especially if they’ve put their hot tub under a Gazebo or inside a Log Cabin. Hot tub enclosures not only get you into hot water, they get you outside in the fresh air throughout the year.
#hottubenclosures #hottubgazebos #hottubshelters #hottubenclosuresideas
Wooden Gazebos and outdoor Pergolas make the perfect Hot Tub Enclosure and provide the benefit of offering privacy, weather-proofing and adding a design feature to your garden, enabling you to enjoy an all-weather Hot Tub lifestyle. Outdoor structures with either a wooden roof, side screens or even both features allow you to use your preferred outdoor area more frequently throughout the year, even if you are overlooked by neighbours.
There are many choices of Hot Tub Enclosure – in shape, size and price. These types of outdoor structures generally do not need planning permission and are invaluable if you are looking to make more use of an area in your garden which you’d never previously considered. There are many different styles and materials to suit any garden, from luxurious Cedar Gazebos to stylish Thatched Gazebos.
Typically, the location of a hot tub is best placed nearer to the house or in the most private part of your garden. Hot Tub Enclosures can come with solid side walls or with Open and Close Louvred Sides to give you more options on how to get the best out of your garden space while keeping out of sight of neighbours!
#hottubenclosures #hottubgazebos #hottubshelters #hottubenclosuresideas
Have a flick through any Swim Spa Brochure and you’ll be greeted with lots of pictures of athletes and swimmers using the Swim Spa as part of their training regime – and they’re not wrong! Swim Spas offer a perfect alternative to installing a full-sized pool into your back garden. If you don’t have Olympic swimming aspirations and you’re wondering if a Swim Spa is worth the investment, read on to see why Swim Spas are for more than just swimming!
If you have a large family or lots of friends, there is no better excuse to get everyone together than a soak in the swim spa! Our Coast Spas Wellness Party Swim Spa has seating for up to 8 adults together, or if you wanted to allow the kids room to play in the spa with the adults relaxing, our Coast Spas Wellness IV features a self-contained hot tub joined to the Swim Spa together in one unit!
XL Hot Tub
What’s better than a standard hot tub? A bigger one of course! Swim Spas can come with all the lighting, jets, and temperature control that a hot tub can, bringing with it all the health and relaxation benefits you can get from a hot tub. Some Swim Spas also feature lounger seating, so you can use your Swim Spa for relaxation just like a Hot Tub.
If swimming isn’t quite your thing, but you still want to use your Swim Spa for fitness, resistance training works excellently. By using the resistance of the water (turning the jets on will increase the resistance), you can tailor your workout to suit you! Below are just a few examples of exercises that work well in a Swim Spa:
Exercise Technique Jogging on the Spot A brilliant exercise for warming up, while working your leg muscles. Bicycle Kicks Put your back against the wall and hold the top lip of the swim spa. Bring your legs up just under the surface of the water and move them in a circular motion, as if you were pedalling a bike. Keep pedalling for 1-2 minutes for a great lower ab and leg workout. Chest Flyes Starting in a lunge position (to ensure your arms are just under the surface of the water), place your arms straight out in front of you with your palms touching. Bring your arms out to the side, keeping them straight. Return to the starting position and repeat 10-15 times for a killer chest and arm exercise.
If you prefer to use Exercise Equipment in your workout, there is a wide range of products available. From Exercise Bikes to Treadmills, Award Leisure stock products that will take your workout to the next level.
Don’t be fooled by their name – Swim Spas are so versatile and can be used for much more than swimming. If you want to see how a Swim Spa can improve your family’s lives, get in touch with us to receive a Free Buyers Guide!
Chlorine tablets, regardless of brand, all contain a chemical called Trichloroisocyanuric acid (or Trichlor for short). When used in an acrylic Hot Tub, it can cause severe damage to the shell – if the thermal cover isn’t removed for a few days to vent the gases given off by the tablet, severe bleaching of the plastic occurs.
We advise that if you wish to use a tablet form of Hot Tub sanitation, Bromine is the recommended option; either as a Frog Cartridge or a Bromine Tablet. However, we do stock Chlorine tablets for customers that own LayZ Spas, swimming pools, or other non-acrylic spas. If you still wish to use Chlorine to sanitise your spa, we do stock Spamate Chlorine granules which do not contain Trichlor and are safe to use in acrylic spas.
Award Leisure strongly advise that Trichlor is not used with any Coast Spa, and Coast Spas themselves agree. Use of the tablet is quite apparent and obvious to detect and will also not be covered by your warranty.