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We all know a gardener who can’t get enough of flowerbeds and trellises, a green fingered soul who relishes every chance to get close to the earth and nurture something special. Whether it’s your aunt, brother, best friend or colleague, at least they’re an easy gifting prospect. There are lots of great backyard gifts and gadgets out there for people who love to garden.
Some are highly practical. Others are a little on the silly side (see naughty gnomes). Some backyard gifts and garden gadgets are designed to cultivate wildlife. Whatever the gardener in your life desires, there’s a product out there to suit them. We’ve taken a look at some of the best to help you pick a great gift.
Here are 31 of our favourite garden gadgets and backyard gifts:
1. Cat On the Moon Wind Chime
With a Cat On the Moon Wind Chime, you get a chance to combine two great passions and delight a fan of both felines and outdoor spaces. It features a classic design with a cat’s silhouette, tail curled, perched atop a crescent moon.
The tubular bells are small and fairly delicate so expect a gentle tinkling in the wind rather than a distracting clang. Look for a wind chime with a hook so you can hang it right off your porch.
2. Barbeque Grill Set
For keen grillers, nothing beats a brand new barbeque set complete with all the essential grilling utensils. It’s a great gift for a friend or loved one who loves to entertain outdoors. Grill sets come in lots of different sizes. It’s up to you to decide between a set with just the basics – tong, basting brush, fork – or a mega kit with knives, corn holders, shakers, meat thermometers and more.
3. Japanese Stone Lantern
One of our favourite backyard gifts is the Japanese Stone Lantern because its Eastern aesthetic adds something different to an outdoor space. These little lanterns are normally made from cast stone and have an opening for a candle.
Some let you slip a tea light in the front. Others have a small stone lid that lifts off to allow you to light a small candle inside. In either case, the stone makes them very sturdy and resistant to the elements
During the warmest months, most of us need no excuse to get a frisbee out. It may be a smaller, less flashy garden gadget but it’s still one of the most exciting. You’ll need a fairly large backyard to play, so pick this gift for a gardener with a lavish outdoor space.
There are lots of different frisbees on the market. We recommend you buy the brightest coloured frisbee for a gift you can find. That way, you won’t lose sight of it when it lands in next door’s garden
5. Outdoor LED Flame Speakers
Outdoor LED Flame Speakers are one of the neatest garden gadgets we’ve seen in a while. They use Bluetooth technology to enable portable music playback anywhere in a backyard.
Being so lightweight and practical, these mini speakers are ideal for family cookouts and camping trips. They don’t just produce great sound. When charged, a series of bright lights flicker on the inside to create the illusion of a flame. Pretty cool, huh
6. Miniature Greenhouse
We don’t all have the backyard space for a traditional greenhouse. Yet, when it comes to growing heat loving vegetables like tomatoes, the shelter and protection they provide is essential.
So, give the gift of a Mini Greenhouse to a green fingered friend who’s low on growing space. These transparent PVC shelters come in sizes small enough to fit in your porch, on your deck or even in the front room.
7. Zip Line
We bet you didn’t know you can buy a functional zip line for the yard. Yes, one of those zip lines. It’s obviously much smaller than the ones found at adventure parks (around 20m in length), but it stands at 2m metres high and meets all safety requirements.
While it’s rare to find these outside of public parks and sports centres, if you have the cash to splash, there’s no reason you couldn’t set one up in a large garden.
8. Glass Drink Dispenser
Outdoor cookouts and family barbeques need more than just grilling utensils. With a large glass drink dispenser, complete with a stainless steel tap and lid, keeping your guests refreshed couldn’t be easier.
These barrel shaped dispensers are built to work like kegs; they sit on a stand or surface and a front facing tap is turned to dispense the punch, juice or lemonade. They’re almost always transparent so you can see how much liquid is inside.
9. Bird Box Video Camera
For the friend who has everything except an eye on what’s happening in their bird box, pick up a bird box video camera. These clever garden gadgets make superb backyard gifts for anybody with a keen interest in wildlife.
They’re small and discreet, so as not to be too disturbing, and there’s no blinking lights. Bird box cameras are excellent at capturing high quality footage in low light conditions without scaring feathered friends away
10. Wall Planter
Creative gardeners know imagination is the only limit for outdoor spaces. With the right equipment, such as garden wall planters, it becomes easy to grow in three dimensions.
Wall planters are hugely varied; they come in art deco, French historical, aged ceramic and contemporary geometric designs. Most are affixed to exterior walls using one or two strong nails. Some more basic (less decorative) planters come with a hook for hanging off walls, eaves and fences.
11. Human Bumper Bubble
This is definitely one of the more unusual backyard gifts on our list. Essentially, Human Bumper Balls are the same as zorbing balls, insofar as a user puts their body inside the inflatable PVC orb.
Unlike zorbing, feet always stay outside of the orb. There are handles on the inside for gripping, but feet stay on the ground. This enables the user (preferably two or more for a really fun game) to run at and bounce off other players.
12. Digital Thermometer
Digital thermometers have many different uses. Some gardeners keep them around for barbecuing meat. They can also be essential for greenhouses and other temperature controlled areas of a garden.
If you need one for plant nurturing purposes, we suggest you buy a thermometer with a small holster than affixes to a wall. That way, it stays up and out of sight when you don’t need it. When you do, it’s easy to slip it out of its holder and carry it around the garden
13. Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker
Wireless outdoor speakers have exploded in popularity over the last decade. They’re the perfect garden gadgets – they’re easy to set up, designed to withstand the elements and you can connect them to music libraries on any smart device.
The choice to make is whether to buy a portable speaker you can pick up and carry around or a speaker intended to be left as a fixture in the garden. If buying the latter, check out its waterproofing properties first.
14. Garden Rocking Chair
Garden rocking chairs make wonderful backyard gifts for older friends and relatives. As with most garden furniture, you can buy them in a vast array of shapes, sizes and colours.
Our favourites are the tandem chairs which sit two people. There are also hanging chairs which rock because they’re suspended from a metal frame. Or there are chunky, comfy rocking chairs designed to look like traditional armchairs, excepting for the rocker underneath
15. Inflatable Water Slide
Know a family with an outrageously big backyard? They might just love an Inflatable Water Slide this summer. It’s a big gift with a mammoth personality - set up requires some serious elbow grease – but these quirky inflatables are made for making memories.
Whether you splash out on a full size inflatable play centre or just a slip and slide mat, you’ll be the coolest gift giver in the neighbourhood
16. Grow Your Own Bonsai Tree
There are ‘grow your own’ kits for just about everything these days – herbs, cheese, chilli peppers and now bonsai trees. As the latter can be notoriously difficult to grow outdoors, the best option is usually a kit with the right equipment included.
These growing sets come with high quality seeds, plant pots, labels, a pruning tool and peat discs for getting plants started. ‘Grow your own’ bonsai trees are designed to be planted, raised and maintain indoors.
17. Outdoor Pizza Oven
Outdoor Pizza Ovens can give homeowners the experience of authentic stone baked pizzas from the comfort of their backyard. They can be pricey garden gadgets but, for somebody who is serious about cooking, they make a lovely gift.
If you pick up a portable pizza oven, it can be taken on camping trips and other excursions. Fully sized outdoor pizza ovens require a wood fuel source and a flat surface away from trees and shrubs.
18. Back Yard Solar Lights
We love backyard solar lights and think everybody should invest in some. They’re a terrific outdoor accessory because they can be bought at a reasonable price, they look great after dark and they don’t cost anything to run.
Plus, they come in a wide variety of colours and shapes. Choose standard yellow bulbs or solar lights shaped like stars, flowers, disco balls, hanging lanterns; you name it, it’s out there.
19. Giant Jenga
You might have played Jenga in the house, but have you ever taken it outdoors? We played with a giant outdoor Jenga set and had the best time. Yes, it’s silly and not very high tech but it’s a classic.
In summer, when the sun is strong, there’s something curiously exhilarating about taking a classic game and throwing it about the backyard. Most Giant Jenga sets include a canvas bag for easy storage and portability.
20. Wall Mountable Bottle Opener
We’re surprised more people don’t have these in their backyards. Wall mountable bottle openers cost little but they’re practical. Most people think of beer but plenty of soft drinks still have old fashioned caps.
Plus, with the world moving away from single use plastics, we think there’s going to be an explosion of mass produced glass bottled drinks. What we’re trying to say is: buy this for the beer but tell your friends you’re trying to be eco-friendly.
21. Backyard Archery Set
This is a very particular type of gift so make sure it’s suitable before you buy it for somebody else. Or, if you’re an archery fan, treat yourself. In the right hands, backyard archery sets are a controlled and safe way to learn a new skill.
Most archery kits come with a full sized recurve bow, a bow riser and several laminated bow limbs. Some are sharp enough to be used for hunting animals and must only be used in enclosed gardens, far from neighbours and pets.
22. Real Flame Patio Heater
Real flame patio heaters are rarely, as suggested, capable of producing a real flame. The effect is artificial but surprisingly convincing. The question is, why would you choose a ‘real’ flame heater over a standard enclosed patio heater?
Well, they’re great for smaller, darker backyards where light is minimal after dark. With a real flame patio heater, you don’t just get warmth, you get additional light and ambience too. Patio heaters are an easy way to extend the use of a garden through colder months.
23. Backyard Hammock
We think backyard hammocks are some of the cleverest garden gadgets available. We especially love the fact something so basic and inexpensive can be both practical and long lasting.
You don’t need to be an avid camper to have use for a hammock. Hang one from your favourite trees and spend lazy afternoons napping or reading in the backyard. It takes less than five minutes to set a hammock up outdoors
24. Solitary Beehive
Wildlife lovers are sure to be impressed by a carefully crafted solitary beehive. These small wooden containers are the perfect shape for solitary bee’s nests.
But no need to worry because solitary bees like the ones these hives attract are, as their name suggests, independent fellows. They don’t create bee’s nests as we know them, instead using the artificial hive for sheltering larvae and maintaining the population. For this reason, solitary hives make a wonderful gift for insect lovers.
25. Garden Fire Pit
The easiest way to make an outdoor space habitable all year round, in all temperatures, is to invest in a garden fire pit. That way, it doesn’t matter if it gets chilly at your next cookout. Get your guests to gather around the pit and tend those flames.
Fire pits come in many different shapes and sizes. Pick one which fits comfortably in the space and sits flat and far from overhanging trees and shrubs. Also, think carefully about whether you’d prefer a fire pit fuelled by propane, natural gas or wood.
Paulo Andreas is a garden & outside gadget guru searching, testing and reviewing the latest and best Cool Garden Gadgets. Feel free to comment on any of the gadgets posted here. Paulo