The Great British summer can be a strange and fleeting thing, which is why it’s so important to capitalise on warm weather immediately.

A hurriedly arranged barbecue or al fresco dinner party is de rigueur when the sunshine aligns with a free weekend, even if the forecast is somewhat temperamental.

The key to making a success of such things is to maintain a garden that's ready to spring into action at any time – ready to be filled with plentiful provisions for your guests.

A few well-placed pieces of furniture and the vital fire pit will help you to make the most of those ephemeral sunny days, whether your space is a compact London plot or a sprawling country green.

Here, we choose three unbeatable additions for any outdoor space, along with a few simple tips on making a success of your next garden party.