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10 Best Pub Garden Ideas

Written by: phs Greenleaf

phs Greenleaf has been providing planting and landscaping services to businesses for over 25 years, including indoor and outdoor plants, artificial and live planting, living walls, grounds maintenance and Christmas trees and decorations.

10 Best Pub Garden Ideas

When you think of a British pub garden, two things should spring to mind: warm days and a cold drink. 

The first can’t always be guaranteed, but it’s always possible to create a warm atmosphere to go with those cold drinks.  

Since the dark days of lockdowns, there’s even more pleasure to be had, simply sitting outside with your friends and family, enjoying food and drink. Being able to socialise outdoors has taken on new significance during the covid pandemic.  

The design and style of outdoor beer gardens can vary wildly. Whether your outdoor beer garden is a luscious lawn with sea views or a high-walled city courtyard, there are plenty of things you can do to welcome more customers.  

Whatever you choose, you need to think about how you will keep your beer garden maintained, either by doing it yourselves or commissioning a service such as phs Greenleaf's gardening assistance. As a minimum, you need to keep your patios jet-washed and your lawns and planting areas tidy.  

Here’s some of our outdoor beer garden ideas…

1. Zones 

Your pub garden can be split into zones offering something different to each customer. Not everyone sitting outside wants to smoke, so a separate area is a must. 

For different groups of customers, it’s worth considering large tables or clusters of seats for big parties, taller tables with bar stools in more sociable or quiet areas, and smaller more intimate comfortable seats out of the way.  

To do this you could consider using planting and decorative fencing to segment your areas.  

2. Foliage and planting 

Foliage and plant displays are proven to create happy environments that pull people in. 

Outdoor beer gardens are a chance to go wild – with different planting options. Captivating greenery, colourful flowers and well-designed layout can transform even the dingiest of pub yards into a joyful secret garden or tropical paradise.  

Horticultural experts from phs Greenleaf work with pubs to create a unique environment that complements your interior style.  

In a large beer garden, planters are also brilliant for zoning off different seating areas. Depending on the size of the plant or tree, you can create more privacy.  

If maximising floor space matters, wall gardens and hanging baskets can give your pub garden a lift. 

Planting is simple way to refresh your outdoor beer garden, creating a go-to destination and happier workplace.  

3. Outdoor bar 

During covid restrictions, many pubs turned to outside bars to keep their trade going and have realised the benefits of extra bar capacity. A sheltered outdoor bar can be as simple or stylish as you want. It’s easiest to keep a smaller selection of the most popular drinks outdoors to include beers, wine and soft drinks.  

4. Outdoor stage

Again, after all those months of lockdowns and restrictions, the joy of live music is back. In a large garden, a dedicated stage area with good access to power points gives you options for live music and events. Just mind the neighbours though as there could be restrictions on outdoor music in your area. 

5. Shelter 

Providing shelter in your beer garden expands your capacity, particularly in the winter, and wins round customers who want to socialise in the fresh air. There are many options – a large awning, individual marquees, “bubble” tents, or even private “summerhouse” sheds, complete with their own radiators and glass doors opening up into the pub garden. Any shelter can be styled to create an attractive area for winning customers.  

6. Seating and furniture 

When thinking over ideas for outdoor beer gardens, the traditional wooden table and bench might spring to mind. Outdoor furniture options are as varied as indoor pieces. Think about other options like reclaimed wooden benches, sleek metal chairs, comfy rattan sofas with waterproof cushions, love seats, or bar stools and tall standing tables. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create? Can you store the furniture if needed or does it need to stay in place?   

7. Lighting

Lighting is key to designing any space, and an outdoor pub garden is no different. Safety and atmosphere after dark are key considerations. Strings of lights, lanterns, and stake lights for marking pathways are all options. Many outdoor lights are also solar-powered, keeping your pub’s bills down. 


8. Keeping warm  

Most pubs are open until 11 pm closing – long after the sun has gone down and almost always after the heat of the day has gone, even in the height of summer.  

It means your customers may be cold. Leaving stylish blankets around your pub garden are an obvious “eco-friendly” starting point.  

Firepits could be an option, depending on safety, and the quality of the material you’re burning – no one wants to be choked with strong wood smoke.  

Garden heaters are another possibility – but they’ll add to your energy bills as well as your carbon footprint. Electric heaters are a less energy-hungry option than gas.  

9. Play area 

For families with children, a good play area can be the difference between a relaxing, enjoyable afternoon or a fraught day out managing restless kids.  

If you have the room and want to cultivate an all-day family atmosphere, an exciting playground will win you many visitors. If all the play areas can be viewed easily from your seating, the grown-ups can relax while they supervise.  

Playground design has come a long way. Climbing walls, climbing frames, pirate ships, baby and child swings all add variety. Don’t forget to cater for all ages and have some first aid supplies on standby. 

10. Accessorise  

Aside from beautiful planting and lighting, think about the details. Bunting, outdoor cushions and outdoor rugs can all add colour and charm to your pub garden space.  

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