Many of us found lockdown challenging in different ways, including keeping fit at times when gyms were closed and we were asked to stay within our own homes and gardens as much as possible.
Back in May 2020 we published our guide to setting up an outdoor gym in your garden. But for those of you who found working out at home a tempting and convenient prospect for the long term, here’s our complete guide to setting up an indoor and outdoor garden gym.
You might not want to use all the ideas in this guide – you might have more indoor space, or more outdoor space, or you might be working in a relatively small area overall.
But hopefully some of the suggestions will inspire you to create an exercise area in your garden, whether it’s out in the open or inside a shed or other garden building.
Here’s our quick start guide to your own outdoor gym routine, including simple exercises all beginners can try with no equipment needed – just the resistance of your body weight.
You don’t need any equipment to start working out in your garden, ideally just a healthy, good quality lawn. Body weight exercises use your own body to provide resistance for your muscles. By completing repetitions (or ‘reps’) you can start to build muscle mass and gain strength.
Some examples of body weight exercises you can do in the garden include:
There are plenty of video tutorials for all of the above, and you can film yourself from
the side and front to check your posture, if you’re a beginner to any of these exercises.
It’s good to incorporate rows into your routine if possible, and you don’t need much equipment to be able to do this – a low bar, pair of rings or wall-mounted pull handles can all work.
Rows involve leaning back with your body weight supported by your arms, and pulling yourself towards the rings or bar until your torso is further forwards than your elbows.
If you only install one piece of outdoor gym equipment,
consider handles, rings or a low monkey bar, so that you can progress to rows as part of your intermediate routine.
Progressions take the basic exercises listed above (and others) and introduce variations that make them harder, for example:
· Performing the exercise on a downward incline
· Adding extra weights (e.g. barbells, dumbbells etc)
· Holding a stress position for longer (e.g. planking)
Your routine will depend on what equipment you have available, which muscle groups you want to target, and how experienced you are at your preferred exercises.
A high monkey bar for pull-ups and/or parallel bars for dips are both good additions to your outdoor gym. They can be used for a wide range of other exercises, and don’t take up too much of your valuable outside space.
If you have kids or you find it hard to stick to a strict workout routine, consider using games and sports as a way to exercise in your garden instead.
You can lay turf for an instant play area for football, tennis (or swingball, in smaller gardens) or just a space to play catch with the kids.
Or get some basic equipment e.g. football goals, basketball hoops and other garden sports gear that you can pack away when it’s not in use, and you can add some activity to your leisure time without leaving the boundary of your own property. To make sport in your garden as enjoyable as possible be sure to use a quality turf supplier for your lawn and refer to our new turf care guide to help keep it pristine condition.
Exercising outdoors is all well and good when the conditions are right, but what about on a rainy day, or in a heatwave? If you don’t have a suitable space in your home to dedicate to your gym routine, an indoor garden gym is an excellent alternative.
A garden gym doesn’t need to be a special structure – an open shed can provide plenty of s
pace and doesn’t have to break the bank.
You might even decide to build your own garden gym. As a ‘temporary’ structure, there are quite relaxed planning rules around this, and it’s a good way to maximise your use of space with a custom-built outbuilding.
step two: kit out
Install some basic equipment similar to that recommended for your outdoor exercises – or use mobile equipment that you can bring indoors when you want.
Some good starting gear includes:
Work with the space you have available. Try to avoid buying too much equipment – you want your outbuilding to feel like a gym, not a storage unit, and you need room to work out in too.
Finally, as your confidence and capabilities grow, you can start to think about buying a bigger piece of equipment, such as a good-quality treadmill, cross trainer or exercise bike.
Try to maintain some balance between arms, legs, core muscles and so on, so you’re giving your body a thorough workout and not favouring one muscle group too much over the others.
Build your routine and try new exercises now and then to keep things fresh, and remember to take rest days so your muscles have chance to heal – you’ll get better results in the long term.
Indoor and outdoor gyms both have their benefits. Some equipment needs to be stored inside, but exercising in the open air feels more natural and refreshing.
By following the suggestions in this guide, you can turf an area of your garden for play, add some simple equipment for outdoor exercises and, if you want, build a shed to use as an indoor garden gym.
Why choose only one option? Even in a small garden, you can have it all, and get fit at the same time!
For more information on how to achieve the perfect lawn in your garden please get in touch today.
Whether you’re home schooling or just hanging out, the garden has become the go-to place for exercise, relaxation and playing with your kids outdoors this summer.
Most children love spending time outdoors, especially in nice weather, so with the limitations imposed by COVID-19, that means you’re likely relying even more on your garden.
Almost any game or sport you can think of can be reimagined to play in the garden, although some are easier to control than others – it’s not an ideal time to go looking for stray footballs or cricket balls in neighbours’ yards.
Here are some less obvious games to play with children in the garden, which will hopefully go without mishaps in most cases.
Set up a crazy golf course using any bits and bobs to create obstacles. For the holes, don’t worry – you don’t have to pull up plugs of your beautifully landscaped lawn.
Instead, just lay a plant pot or bucket on its side and aim to get your ball into that. In smaller gardens, just play one hole at a time, then move your obstacles around to create a brand new layout for ‘hole 2’ and so on.
You’ll soon unleash your creativity and start making more ambitious hazards like ramps, tunnels and bunkers. Just try to stay sensible so you’re not tempted to pitch your golf ball right over the fence!
A bit of a retro lawn game, Croquet is similar to golf except instead of aiming for holes, you have to knock your ball through a series of hoops. You usually end by knocking it at a vertical stick.
You can make ‘hoops’ out of anything from bent garden wire or old wire coathangers, to hitting the ball between two markers spaced a few inches apart with no actual hoop between them.
Not many of us have a set of croquet mallets lying around, but you could play this as a variation on crazy golf if you have metal or plastic putters, or just side-foot kick the ball instead.
To play Statues, you don’t need any equipment at all. The players stand in a row at one side of the garden, while one person is ‘it’ (sometimes called the Curator) and stands opposite.
When the Curator turns their back, the Statues can move slowly towards them. When the Curator looks, the Statues must freeze in place.
If the Curator sees a Statue moving, that person is out. But if a Statue reaches close enough to tag the Curator (or reaches the garden wall, if that works better) that person is ‘it’ for the next round.
This is an especially good game to play if your kids are Doctor Who fans, as instead of being Statues, they can pretend to be Weeping Angels.
These are just a few ideas you can play in even small gardens. But children often don’t need traditional games and rules – they can make it up as they go along.
Let your little ones use their imagination and see what they come up with. That might be a ball game, a treasure hunt, a make-believe game or something completely new. Assault courses and DIY gyms are also something older children and teens can get involved in.
The garden is really just a blank canvas on which you can play out new ideas and invent a game that suits everyone in your household – you might end up playing it for years to come!
The social distancing rules – better known to most of us simply as ‘lockdown’ – have meant that gardens have become the first choice to spend time outdoors, rather than going beyond your own boundary.
In fact when lockdown was announced, SunLife surveyed over-60s and found that over half (57%) planned to spend the weeks of social distancing in their garden – while just 44% intended to spend more time with their partner!
You don’t have to be in your retirement years to get more enjoyment from your garden, especially in the coming months when it is likely to remain important for everyone to stay home as much as possible.
First up, clear any unruly areas of your garden to give yourself as much usable space as possible.
Most gardens can benefit from a bit of clearance, and it’s likely that if your council tip is closed, it will reopen in the coming days as lockdown starts to be lifted in small but useful ways.
As such, if you haven’t had a tidy already, it’s a good time to make full use of your garden waste recycling bin or bag any rubbish in sturdy refuse sacks ready for when the tip opens.
A lawn makes a garden feel natural but usable, and even a small area of grass can have a big effect.
No matter how big your outdoor space may be, think about laying a new lawn using turf for a quick fix as we move into the summer months spent sheltering at home.
Turf is durable in gardens where kids and pets play – just make sure you follow the instructions for laying a new lawn from turf, and give it chance to bed in before you put it to heavy use.
Around your lawn, you’ll want some other features that enhance your outdoor space. That might mean narrow borders in smaller gardens, or flowerbeds in larger areas.
Wavy lines and edges can create a natural, rustic feel if you want a cottage garden effect, and they’re a little more forgiving when it comes to trimming your edges in the future too.
Alternatively, diagonal lines can create different sections in long, narrow gardens, giving an illusion of width while drawing the eye to any deliberate focal points.
Give some thought to the different uses you want to get from your garden. If you want to be able to work outdoors, incorporate some comfortable seating, an ergonomic table and some shade on the sunniest days of summer.
Relaxation can be achieved in many different ways, from pretty planting and bird feeders, to sounds like running water and wind chimes.
Finally, if you have pets and kids, or you want to use your garden for entertaining once social distancing restrictions are lifted, make sure you leave some space for this from the outset, with a healthy, well maintained lawn you can sit on when that time comes.
A garden gym is a great way to keep fit and healthy, especially if you’re spending a lot of your time at home due to self-isolation, social distancing or because you’re in the high-risk ‘shielding’ category during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But even once the virus has passed, building an outdoor gym will give you a new way to enjoy your outdoor space, while staying in shape and potentially saving a small fortune on commercial gym membership fees.
It’s not hard to set up a gym in the garden – and there are several different ways to do it, from the very simple to the more complicated and committed.
Many of the exercises you do at the gym can be recreated in the garden without any specialist equipment.
In fact a garden bench can play a part in a wide range of different stretches, squats and other exercises, so if you have seating outside, be sure to incorporate this into your routine.
You can get exercise in lots of different ways in the garden. Even just maintaining the garden, mowing the lawn and tending the flowerbeds will stretch all different muscle groups.
If you want to add even more activity to your time outdoors, garden games are a good option.
The options are endless but some easy additions include:
None of these needs to take up a large amount of space, and even if you don’t yet have any grass, you can lay a lawn using turf to create a sports area that’s hardy enough to withstand good amounts of footfall.
Finally, if you’re really committed to working out at home, you might want to think about building an indoor or outdoor gym in your garden.
Indoor garden gyms usually don’t need any planning permission if they are housed in a ‘temporary’ structure like a shed or other wooden building.
For an outdoor workout, you can add various pieces of equipment, ranging from monkey bars and climbing ropes, to specially designed outdoor fitness machines that give you exactly what you need to build specific muscles.
Whatever you choose, make sure to stay safe and healthy – don’t overdo it when you first start, but build gently into your new routine.
Gardens are a naturally sheltered space for all kinds of activities, especially the daily exercise we all need during social distancing.
Make good use of your outdoor area and you’ll emerge from the current situation in even better health than you started, and perhaps also with a newfound affection for your garden.
One of the things that has helped many households to cope with the COVID-19 lockdown rules has been the weather, with most of the UK basking in sunshine for much of March and most of April too.
That has meant individuals, couples and families have all been able to make the most of any outside space they might have, from yards and driveways, to balconies, terraces and back gardens.
So it’s no surprise that some great British ingenuity has gone into using those outdoor areas in ways you might not normally imagine – proving just how versatile even a humble garden can be.
Some of the most high-profile uses of gardens have been charity fundraisers, including of course Captain Tom Moore, who hoped to raise £1,000 by walking 100 lengths of his garden before reaching his 100th birthday at the end of April.
In fact he smashed his target in less than a day and had raised around the £30 million mark by his birthday on April 30th.
Not bad going for walking laps of a 25-metre garden, and a true testament to how the British public took the war veteran in his back garden to their hearts.
Some Brits have adopted a very literal interpretation of the social distancing rules – after all, as long as you’re two metres from your neighbours, you’re staying within the guidelines.
To continue socialising despite social distancing, some have removed fence panels that divide their gardens, allowing them to chat while staying several metres apart.
Other families have placed their kids’ trampolines at the appropriate distance either side of the garden fence, allowing the children to keep each other company while getting their daily exercise by synchronising their bouncing.
We’re all likely to face a prolonged period of restrictions on socialising, especially in groups and in smaller spaces, but again this highlights the innovative approach Brits have taken to enjoying their gardens together while staying the correct distance apart.
Finally, with more entertainment events taking place from artists’ homes, everyone from amateurs to the rich and famous have been gigging from their gardens.
Elton John’s performance on the One World: Together at Home concert is probably the most viral video to come from this trend of garden gigs, but he’s not the only one to take his music outdoors.
In March, the BBC reported the story of musician Liz Hanks from Sheffield, who had organised a series of solo performances by people in their own gardens, to be enjoyed by their neighbours who might be self-isolating or simply social distancing.
“At this time, we really just need these good things to happen in our daily lives,” she told the broadcaster, adding that she hoped more such performances might take place across the city of Sheffield and nationwide.
The headline advice from the government during the current phase of the COVID-19 pandemic is to stay at home – but what does that mean for people who have a garden?
First of all it’s important to know the difference between social distancing, shielding and self-isolation:
In either of the first two categories, there are no restrictions on enjoying your private outdoor space such as a garden or back yard, and getting fresh air is important.
But can you go in the garden during self-isolation? The short answer is yes, you can.
The NHS advice about going outside while self-isolating may come as a surprise – although you should not have visitors to your home and should have food and medicines delivered rather than going out to buy them, you are still allowed to take your one period of exercise per day.
However, you should be extra careful to avoid contact with other people, and stay well over the recommended six feet or two metres from anyone you see.
Importantly if you have a garden of your own, you are absolutely allowed to use it as normal – the only exception is if you live with other people.
If you don’t live alone, self-isolation can be more difficult. If you are the one displaying symptoms, you must stay at home for seven days, or until your symptoms have gone, whichever takes longer.
The other people in your household should also self-isolate, but for twice as long – at least 14 days, plus a further seven days from the onset of symptoms for any individual who becomes infected.
You might want to minimise direct contact with the other people in your household, especially elderly relatives, to reduce the risk of them becoming infected.
If so, remember to factor this into your use of the garden. Evidence suggests you are less likely to transmit COVID-19 in open spaces, so in good weather you might prefer to sit outside with your family, but stick to the two metres of separation if possible.
Fresh air and exercise are an important part of staying healthy and recovering from illness, especially if COVID-19 leaves you feeling short of breath and generally fatigued.
Self-isolating alone can be challenging but the rules are much clearer. Self-isolating with other family members is more complicated, so do your best to minimise contact and stay home – in your house or in your garden – as much as you can.
Some people actually enjoy cutting the grass, but for the rest of us, robot lawnmowers are rapidly becoming a reality.
Just like the Roomba revolutionised vacuuming floors, the Husqvarna Automower is doing the same for natural grass lawns.
Best of all, it’s an eco-friendly way to keep your grass trimmed, making the robot lawnmower an ethical option.
For proof of the robotic lawn mower’s eco credentials, look no further than the Eden Project, which has been using the robot lawnmower to maintain its outdoor grass arena since summer 2018.
At the time, specialist horticulturalist at the project Niki Hall said: “The arena is now in top condition and this allows more time for the horticulture team to spend in other areas rather than cutting the lawns.
“It is quiet and unobtrusive, though very funky – like a Formula One mower. It has no emissions and low energy consumption. It can also be used in all weathers.”
The Eden Project were won over particularly by the low noise output of this type of lawn mower, and by its ability to cut the grass autonomously overnight when no guests were on-site.
If the Eden Project’s robot lawnmower is an F1 car, then the recently launched Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD is more like the Batmobile.
With its rugged, tank-like construction, all-wheel drive capabilities and twin headlights, it is every bit a mini sports car just for cutting your lawn.
It can work at day or night with noise output of just 62 dB, on slopes of up to 70 degrees – that’s the same as a ski slope – and connects with AI assistants including Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
You can even write your own programs to control the robot lawnmower via its open API or IFTTT (If This, Then That).
Robots are (not always, but usually) the enemy in sci-fi movies and you might not expect having a mini self-driving Batmobile equipped with rotary blades would be the best idea for your lawn.
Surprisingly though, the way a robotic lawn mower works can be even better for lawns than regular mowing with a conventional lawnmower.
It cuts ‘little and often’, leaving the clippings behind as it goes. That means grass is not overly stressed and nutrients are not lost – the cut grass acts as a natural fertiliser, prompting thicker, greener regrowth.
Because it runs on batteries, there are no direct emissions from the mower – and if you use carbon-neutral energy to recharge it, there should be no net carbon footprint as a result of its use.
Finally, the all-weather construction means the plucky little robot will happily give your lawn a trim in torrential rain, with equally good results – and if you’d prefer it not to, you can connect remotely from anywhere in the world and tell it to take the day off!
Traditional lawn games are a great family activity and can also be great fun at a summer party for friends.
We’re big on family here at Carbutts and we like to be nostalgic. So we had great fun making up this list of traditional lawn games and we thought it was a good idea to share some of our favourite choices. Here’re some of our vintage favourite adults and children’s lawn games.
This is a favourite garden game for children and adults, and can be pretty brutal when played properly.
There’s nothing quite like watching your pal get a ball close to the hoop only for you to come along and smash it 10 yards away.
The rules of croquet are simple; using a long wooden mallet, you score by hitting your balls through the 6 hoops placed around the lawn. The winner is the person or team first to 14 points (all 6 hoops and a bonus hoop at the end).
It’s a great game and played at a pace which allows you to claim you are playing a sport and drink a nice Pimm’s at the same time.
Bowls is a staple of the English summer and looks a very elegant game to play.
It’s tricky though, especially on an uneven lawn (although we can always level it out for your with our lawn laying service) as judging the direction and pace of the ball is never easy. A more modern alternative that has crept into the UK from France is Boule, which is equally as good fun and involves tossing the balls rather than rolling them.
Or hoopla as you might know it.
Pretty simple but still tricky as it involves tossing a rope ring so that it lands around a narrow peg. Quoits comes in a few forms these days such as plastic rings, rope rings of horseshoes. The aim is always the same though, get the most on the peg and the winner can claim an extra beer.
And all the more reason to have a ‘flatish’ lawn. There are some lovely wooden skittle sets available these days that have a real vintage look to them. And even though the dads can get pretty competitive, the kids are equally as good at this as the grown-ups.
Getting the first few over isn’t the problem, it’s that last lone skittle, goading you from a few meters away which is the enemy.
We love this one.
And old bat and a soft ball of any sort will do.
The batter stands alone in the middle of the lawn and uses his legs as the stumps (the emphasis here is on the soft ball). Everyone else is a bowler and can bowl from anywhere, in front, at the side or from behind and it’s up to the batter to defend his ‘stumps’.
This is a quick-fire game of cat and mouse. The winner is the one with most hits away from his legs.
Ok, not strictly a lawn game but great fun none the less.
The rules are simple here, gather some friends and a great selection of cold drinks and tell funny stories on a lush green lawn you are proud of.
Now we can’t help with the drinks or the length of your bowling, but we can help with your grass.
We can supply top quality grass (or lay the whole lawn for you) directly anywhere in the country direct from our Cheshire farm and you can choose from two great qualities of grass here.
And you’ll be surprised how quickly we can make your garden look green and lush again.
For friendly advice we are happy to help and all enquiries are welcomed.
Get in touch with the team now and let’s get your lawn looking fantastic.
We know we’re making a huge assumption that there will actually be a summer, but let’s think positively and look forward to playing with the kids in the garden.
Of course, the little angels will need entertaining over those long school holidays, and other than some nice seaside days away to your favourite beach, the garden is the perfect place to let them run wild.
Normally the lawn is the main area of play and tends to get the brunt of the action. Fortunately, it generally provides a soft landing, meaning those lovely trips to A&E can be kept to a minimum.
So, here are a few quick ideas for garden games with the kids;
Kids love this and it normally comes for free. All you need to do is arrange some of the garden and household items like chairs, stools, benches and gym balls to give the kids hours of fun. Give them a stopwatch and watch their competitive streak come out and don’t forget the pirate’s rule; no touching the floor.
We say badminton but there are all sorts of softball games available at a decent price from stores like Decathlon. Badminton is a really inclusive family game that everyone can play, or if you’ve got a bit more room break out the rounders set.
This is a classic and can be played anywhere.
Using your legs as the stumps (the trick here is to use a soft ball) the other players bowl underarm to get the batter ‘out’. If it touches your lower legs, you’re off to the pavilion.
Another classic garden game, this time from our French friends. Boules is another great game for all the family and it’s easy to play. Just ping the jack across the lawn and whoever gets closest with their set of balls wins. It’s also easy to spot the winner as the balls are all colour coded.
Make your own makeshift tent or go full on and get the proper tent set up. Not only does this give the kids a great den to keep them interested all day setting up house and watching a movie on the iPad, but you can go all out and camp overnight too.
Get the BBQ going and toast some marshmallows then bacon butties in the morning will top it all off.
Let’s not forget this classic.
It’s always so exciting eating outside and it’s an easy win. A few crisps, sandwiches and nibbles are all it takes for a nice hour sat chatting with the kids outside. Or leave them to it with a few sandwich ingredients so they can build their own delicious concoctions. They’ll love it.
Of course, all those options require a good lawn and if yours isn’t up to scratch or you just fancy a brand new gorgeous carpet of greenery for the summer, then get in touch…you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly or lawn installation team can get a new lawn installed.
Carbutts are a down to earth (pun intended) family owned firm and we can deliver high quality grass anywhere in the UK direct from our very own 500 acre farm in Cheshire. Check our delivery terms here.
For friendly advice we are happy to help and all enquiries are welcomed.
Get in touch with the team now and let’s get your lawn looking fantastic.