Brilliant garden bar ideas to liven up your outdoor space

garden bar at night
(Image credit: Grillo)

The best garden bar ideas can transform the way you use your garden, upgrading it to somewhere you feel excited about hosting parties, hanging out with friends or simply relaxing with loved ones when winding down.

They needn't take up too much space in your garden design as a whole either — it is quite possible to use just a small corner or your garden for a bar area. Likewise, they don't have to cost thousands of pounds to construct. There are plenty of low cost garden bar ideas around that are easy to build on a DIY basis.

Here, we take a look at a whole range of garden bars, from those that will secure your home as the hot destination to be this summer, to those that subtly slide into a small section of the space for quiet evening soirées. 

Garden bar ideas: Where to start

There are many different ways you can set up a garden bar at home. Some people choose to convert a rarely-used garden shed or take their garden room ideas one step further by kitting it out with bar equipment. 

Others take things one step further, investing in ready-made garden bars or creating entire outdoor kitchen setups. 

Before you begin, think about how you want your new garden feature to work and how much money you are willing to spend on it. 

If, for example, you simply want a spot to perch with a cold glass of something when the sun shines, a simple setup with a small table and chairs, with perhaps a shelf or potting bench to pop an ice bucket on might well suffice. 

On the other hand, if you envisage your garden bar becoming the hot destination for all your friends to flock to and have fun, you will need to think about getting electricity to the bar for lighting and a fridge, along with providing some form of cover should the heavens decide to open.

The following ideas should give you plenty of inspiration to get your project well underway. 

1. Create a colourful kick-back corner

bright garden bar

Transform one corner of your garden into a fun-filled and brightly coloured drinks station, being sure to provide lots of comfy seating.  (Image credit: Wayfair)

The best garden bars scream out to be filled with happy guests and make al fresco entertaining effortless.

Choose a corner of your garden and kit it out with comfy seating, outdoor decoration such as garden mirrors, water features and pretty lighting. Working pergola ideas into the set up is a fantastic option as it will give you the chance to provide some level of shelter should the weather take a turn for the worse. 

Here, a tropical-style DIY drinks station and seating area has been created, using products from Wayfair. Whimsical touches such as the bright flamingo fill the space with fun, while painting the fence and raised wall around the flowerbed a bubblegum pink sets the space apart from the rest of the garden. 

2. Invest in a ready-made garden bar

ready made garden bar

This ready-made shiplap garden bar, from Forest, costs £729.99 uninstalled or £1,039.99 installed.  (Image credit: Forest)

It seems that staying in really is the new going out for many people these days. Perhaps due to the growing popularity of spending time enjoying our own abodes rather than venturing further afield, it is now quite possible to buy ready-made wooden garden bars complete with bar tops and shutters.

The 6×3 Dip Treated Shiplap Pent Garden Bar from Forest features a solid top bar and has two bifold shutters that open easily to create a serving hatch. 

Access is through a side door and the whole thing can be locked up when not in use — plus, in the winter it can be used as storage space. 

3. Save space with a fold-down bar

fold down garden bar

Perfect for small gardens, courtyards and even balconies, this fold-down bar from Forest costs £189.99. (Image credit: Forest)

There is no need for a garden bar to take over your entire outdoor space — it is quite possible for those after small garden design ideas to incorporate somewhere to sit and enjoy drinks and refreshments outside.

Consider fitting a handy fold-down garden bar, fixing it to one wall of your house or an outbuilding. Many come complete with useful shelves for storing outdoor glassware too. 

The Fold Down Wall Garden Bar from Forest here has a shelving area that allows you to store and display your drinks and glasses. The fold-down table can be installed at a height that suits your chairs or stools and when the party is over, the whole thing can be folded up.

4. Be on trend with a Tiki-style bar

tiki style garden bar

Tiki-style looks great in any style of garden.  (Image credit: HornbyWhitefoot PR)

Tiki-style furnishings and decor is a huge trend right now, and is inspired by Polynesian, Melanesian, and Micronesian cultures. This makes for a fantastic laid back, beach-bar look.

Incorporate materials such as bamboo and thatched surfaces into your garden bar to achieve the look. Here, self-watering planters from Lechuza have been used to introduce a pop of colour and some lush greenery to the Tiki-style bar.

5. Put your garden room to good use

garden room games room

Consider installing a garden room and fitting it out with all the essentials.  (Image credit: Green Retreats)

Garden rooms can be used for all kinds of things, from those that make it possible to bring your garden office ideas to fruition to teenage games rooms and, of course, as home bars.

If you plan on using your garden room as a bar think about how you will get services to it — you will need electricity for lighting and any appliances, such as fridges and blenders. You will also need a water source if you want a sink and tap and if you plan on using the room all year round, some kind of heating is a must. 

The TGO4 garden room here, from Green Retreats, comes in a range of sizes, with prices starting from £22,995 to include installation, heating, cladding, windows and French or sliding doors, foundations, a choice of flooring options, insulation, internal and external lighting, sockets and wall finishes. 

6. Go the whole hog with an outdoor kitchen

outdoor kitchen and garden bar

When considering garden bar ideas, why not take it to the next level by incorporating cooking facilities too? (Image credit: Grillo)

Why stop at drinks when it comes to creating your garden bar? If you want this to be somewhere to host the very best outdoor gatherings, it makes sense to include some cooking equipment too. 

The best outdoor kitchen ideas incorporate some form of cooking appliance, such as a grill or a wood-fired pizza oven, along with worktop space. Additionally, including extras such as sinks and storage, along with outdoor heating and seating will also take the space to the next level. 

The Grillo Vantage outdoor kitchen layout, shown here, features their gas BBQ and Vantage Cabinet.

7. Keep things stylish and sophisticated

grey wooden garden bar

Smart shades of grey and strings of fairy lights keep things classy. (Image credit: Thorndown Paints)

If you are worried that a garden bar could ruin your carefully planned and super stylish garden landscaping ideas or your pretty and classic cottage garden scheme then fear not — there are plenty of great examples of subtle and sophisticated garden bars around.

Stick to natural materials and more muted shades that blend in with the rest of the colour scheme used for your outdoor spaces and prettify the whole area with plenty of greenery and twinkling fairy lights. 

Here, a garden bar from Forest has been painted with Thorndown's RAL 7016 Anthracite Grey Wood Paint, a strong, dark grey opaque paint.

8. Use a modular bar set for a one-stop-shop

grey all in one garden bar unit

Danetti's Palm Outdoor Garden Bar Set costs £1,657. (Image credit: Danetti)

To work well and avoid you having to constantly traipse to and from your house to fetch drinks and accessories, it makes sense to ensure your garden bar is equipped with everything you need to enjoy al fresco entertaining. 

The Palm Outdoor Garden Bar Set, from Danetti,  is a bar table that can be used alone or added to using other modules from the range to create an outdoor kitchen setup.

It features shelves to hold drinks, glasses and crockery, an ice bucket to keep drinks cool, a useful storage cupboard and hooks to hang your BBQ utensils. 

9. Don't let the weather stop your fun

garden room games room and bar

Conjure up cocktail bar vibes with coloured hidden light sources.  (Image credit: Green Retreats)

While using some form of patio cover ideas to shield your garden bar from the elements is a fantastic way of ensuring you are a little protected from the rain or midday sun, if you want to fully enjoy your bar even in the colder months, it does make sense to locate it within a garden room or summer house. 

This also gives you the opportunity to expand on your home bar ideas by including fun features such as arcade games, a pool table and heating. 

This garden bar has been installed in the TGO3 garden room from Green Retreats

10. Cosy up in an outdoor living room

outdoor living room

Design your garden bar to be as welcoming as your indoor living room.  (Image credit: Wayfair)

Outdoor seating doesn't have to be restricted to matching patio sets — think a little outside the box when it comes to seating styles and really try to make your garden bar a comfortable area that feels as cosy and relaxing as your living room indoors. 

Use outdoor armchairs and strew them with soft throws, think through your garden fence ideas and consider using garden art and outdoor mirrors along with garden rugs — and do think about investing in a firepit or similar to provide a glowing focal point to gather around as temperatures fall. 

This outdoor living room, complete with alfresco bar, has been created using products from Wayfair.

11. Keep your guests well fed

outdoor pizza oven and garden bar

Kitting out your home bar with a pizza oven will mean your guests may well not want to leave.  (Image credit: Grillo)

Outdoor pizza ovens have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years, perhaps something to do with the lessons we learnt about the importance of being able to relax and entertain in our own homes during lockdown. They are also a great option for those after small patio ideas as they don't have to take up too much space. 

Fitting your garden bar with a pizza oven makes so much sense, allowing you to feed your guests at the same time as watering them. 

The DeliVita wood-fired pizza oven from Grillo is ready to cook on in 25 minutes and can cook a pizza in just 90 seconds. It costs £1,625.

12. Keep it smart, simple and small

fold out garden bar

This wall-mounted bar is from A Place For Everything and costs £69. (Image credit: A Place For Everything)

Tiny garden? No problem and certainly no reason why you have to discount the idea of a garden bar. Focus on products that can be closed up when not in use and that take up minimal space even when open.

Fold out garden bars and tables are a great idea for those with limited garden space, but are also a great option for those who are keeping an eye on costs and are looking for budget garden ideas.

This wall-mounted bar is from A Place For Everything and would be perfect positioned next to a barbecue or hot tub — or even on a balcony. The drop-down hatch acts as a serving area to place drinks and nibbles and is held in place by two silver chains. Simply fold it back up when drinks are done.  

13. Make it easy to shut up shop

small garden bar

A dual purpose garden bar that can be used as a storage shed when not in use will mean you get plenty of use out of your purchase.  (Image credit: Forest)

While you might not be able to tear yourself away from your garden bar in the summer months, in the depths of winter standing shivering around it in the rain might not hold quite the same appeal.

For this reason, investing in a bar that can be closed up 'out of season' and perhaps put to another use (such as for storage) ensures you will be getting the very most out of your investment all year round. 

This Dip Treated Shiplap Pent Garden Bar from Forest has has two bifold shutters that open easily to create a serving hatch. It can be fully secured and locked up when not in use. It costs £729.99, uninstalled.

14. Ensure your bar blends in with your garden

grey garden bar

Paint your garden bar in a shade that helps it blend into the rest of your garden scheme.  (Image credit: Forest)

If a sense of cohesion is important to you in your garden you will, no doubt, be keen that your garden bar won't stand out like a sore thumb within your carefully-planned garden scheme.

Aim to build a structure that blends in with the rest of your garden, either by painting it in a shade that has been used elsewhere in the space, such as for your garden wall ideas or on fences, or by using shapes and forms that mirror other garden structures. Using plenty of planting around it should also help to bed it into its surroundings. 

Here, the Shiplap Dip Treated 6×4 Apex Garden Bar from Forest has been installed, painted a soft grey to match the wall behind. The overhanging roof includes a handy storage area above the bar as well as providing extra headroom and protection from the elements. £899.99.

15. Create a pop up garden bar

garden breakfast bar

An outdoor bar and stools is all that is needed for impromptu garden drinks.  (Image credit: Garden Trading)

Of course you could just keep things super simple and take a more impulsive approach to your garden bar ideas. An outdoor breakfast bar teamed with high stools is really all you need to park yourself with your favourite beverage when the sun shines. Place it close to a kitchen window that can act like a serving hatch and, Bob's your uncle, you have your very own pop up garden bar.

Here, Garden Trading's teak Harlyn Bar Table has been paired with their Hampstead bar stools. The table costs £650.

Natasha Brinsmead

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.