You want to have a garden party in winter? Then, of course, a snow bar is a must. Here are some instructions.
This year’s New Year’s Eve party is supposed to be something very special? If enough snow has fallen and you have a somewhat larger garden, there is a wonderful opportunity to create a very special winter party flair: a genuine snow bar. You don’t even need too much to build such a snow bar. First of all it is important that there is enough snow. If the garden alone is not enough, it may be worth looking around on the street to see whether one or the other neighbour has piled up a slightly larger pile in front of his house while pushing snow. If you ask nicely, it shouldn’t be a problem if you take the snow away.
If you don’t have enough snow, you can also use a table or empty crates of drinks as a base and build the bar on it – this way you save the lowest layer of snow and get by with considerably less snow.
The most important thing in principle is to process the snow in such a way that it becomes hard enough not to be directly deformed again by bottles and glasses that are put down. You also need to consider how to make the bar so durable that it will last at least the evening of the celebration – especially if you want to decorate the bar with lanterns and candles. But luckily there is a very simple way to do this – because besides enough snow you also need enough water to build a snow bar.
What you need to build a good snow bar
Once it has been determined whether an additional base is required or whether there is sufficient snow, the planning phase begins. The list of required materials is relatively short. See for yourself:
- if there is too little snow for the foundation tables or empty crates of drinks
- several mortar buckets with edge dimensions of at least 40 x 20 cm
- Garden hose with spray nozzle capable of producing a fine mist of water
Very important are several mortar buckets, preferably three or four, with a rectangular shape. The edge length should not be less than 40 x 20 cm. A depth of 20 cm is perfectly sufficient. If the mortar bucket is a little wider, that’s no problem. You will also need a shovel, water and a garden hose with a nozzle that can ideally produce water mist. In any case, the spray nozzle should be able to make the water jet as fine as possible. Here is an overview of the necessary material:
Step by step instructions
If you want to get started, you must first fill the mortar buckets with the snow. It is best to wet the walls with a thin water mist beforehand. If the snow is not sticky, but powder snow, you have to add a little water every now and then while filling the mortar buckets so that the snow becomes sticky and sticks together. Then flatten the snow in the mortar buckets as much as possible. Afterwards it makes sense to spread some more water on the snow and to leave the mortar bucket in the cold afterwards, so that the water can freeze all around. While the freezing process takes place in one mortar bucket, you can already fill the next bucket.
If the snow in the mortar buckets is slightly frozen by the water, you can overturn the bucket. Now you have a finished snow block. Arrange the bricks from the mortar buckets in an L or U shape, depending on how the bar is to be designed. The seams between the snowstones should now be tapped with fresh snow to fill the gaps.
When the first layer of snowstones is on top, there is at least a second row of snowstones on top. The snow bar should reach a height of about 1.10 meters. It is very important that you make sure that no cross joints occur. This means that you have to place the snowstones offset on top of each other. In the second row, the stones will then survive a little on the right and left at each end. But that’s not a problem, because you can easily cut off overhanging snow with a good shovel.
When the bar area is ready and there is enough snow left, it makes sense to place at least one more row of snow stones in front of the bar towards the guest seats. This row is then designed to allow guests to place their glasses and bottles here, while the actual bar really remains a workstation for the bartender.
On the work surface, you can now form slight depressions in the snow with bottles or large cups. These are the places where glasses or cups stay the best.
If this second part of the snow bar is also designed, you should pour water over the whole construct again. There are two things you need to keep in mind. First, the water should not be too warm, otherwise the snow will melt before it starts to freeze again. And this can lead to a considerable loss of height at the snow bar. In addition, you should not simply pour water from a bucket onto the bar. Because when you pour water into snow, it usually creates a hole at the point where the water hits the snow. In order to avoid unattractive deformations in the snow bar, the nozzle with fog function is necessary.
If you have fogged the snow bar with ice-cold water, you just have to be patient once more. When the water is frozen, you have a massive and stable snow artwork standing in the garden that will delight the guests of any winter garden party. By the way, here are a few tips for a garden party in winter.
By the way:
In any case, you must make sure that the bar does not show any large unevenness, otherwise some bar accidents threaten in the evening. You can prevent this by pulling the finished bar completely straight again with an ice scraper. You can also do without the recesses for glasses and bottles and put a board on the bar.
And here the work steps once in the short summary:
- Lightly moisten the walls of the mortar buckets with water.
- Fill the mortar buckets with snow.
- Add water to powder snow again and again.
- Knock the snow sufficiently into the bucket.
- Pour water over the snow again.
- Overturn the bucket and position the snow stones.
- Cover joints with fresh snow.
- Build the bar to a height of about 1.10 m.
- Place another row of snow tiles in front of the bar as a guest table.
- Create depressions in the snow of the guest tables with bottles or cups.
- Spray the whole construction with water.
- When everything is frozen, use an ice scraper to remove any unevenness.
Tips for decorating a snow bar
Lanterns create a romantic candlelight and are a real eye-catcher in combination with a snow bar. You should make sure that the lantern itself does not heat up, otherwise the snow bar could melt quickly.
❍ Fairy lights:
A great winter feeling is also created when you attach chains of lights, preferably LED light hoses, to the bar or simply place them on the bar. These also have the advantage that they do not heat up and thus pose no danger to the frozen work of art.
Set up in sufficient distance at the corners and ends of the bar, torchlight can immerse such a snow bar in a wonderfully romantic light. The glow of flames reflecting in the ice of the snow bar makes such an evening an unforgettable experience.
❍ LED candles:
Another possibility to decorate such a snow bar are LED candles. Whether LED tea lights or real candles – the best way to get them is to create a small depression in the bar where the candles are to be placed and then let the candles freeze in the bar – then the candles look as if they have been set into the bar. Especially such candles with colour changes create a very special atmosphere. Here are a few examples of garden lighting without electricity.
A snow bar is definitely an absolute highlight at any winter garden party. How exactly you want to design your bar from the visual point of view is ultimately entirely up to you. However, it is important that you carry out the construction with snow bricks. If you just pile up snow and knock it hard, it will never reach the hardness you need to meet the demands of such a bar on a party evening. Such a construct would not be stable and would quickly begin to melt away. But if you have the necessary time and the desire to work with the snow, you can conjure up a great snow bar within a few hours. Your guests will be thrilled.
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.