With the exception of last nights storms and the rain today, hasn’t the weather been glorious.
Last week I found myself carving time to work outside in the garden. And I decided to concentrate on our pergola, seeing as this is our main area for eating and generally enjoying the garden at present, since we took a digger to the rest of it ready to landscape and then ran out of funds! Cutting hedges back, general tidying and cleaning was the order of the week. The jet wash even came out to play and now everything is clean and fresh, just in time for lunch and a glass of wine al fresco at the weekend.
Knowing that the best of summer still stretches before us and that we’re due a beautifully warm weekend I’m excited to hang out my festoon lights and start planning summer BBQ’s and dinner in the garden.
Before you start inviting all your friends and family over to celebrate the great British summer, here are some of my quick and simple tips to create a garden for entertaining in:
Try to create areas in your garden, not only for entertaining with friends and family but for day to day life too. Don’t be afraid to have more than one set of table and chairs if space allows. Having multiple seating areas allows you to follow the sun around the garden, or retreat to a shady spot if you prefer. Small bistro style table and chairs are perfect for that morning coffee. If you’re entertaining it allows people to sit and talk in more intimate groups and provides space for more people.
If you have the option, add a comfy seating area, somewhere you can relax after dinner or enjoy pre dinner drinks in comfort. To wrap up in a blanket as the sun sets and the evening chill sets in.
One of the most important factors. It will set the scene for the day/evening. Relaxed, laid back, party. You can choose the vibe with a simple playlist. People will hear the music, feel it, before they see anything else so do not forget to hit play!
Lighting in my opinion is the single most important factor in evening garden entertaining. There’s nothing worse than enjoying an evening with friends and family in the garden and having to cut it short because you can no longer see each other. I am in love with hanging festoon lights. They create the perfect atmosphere and amount of light for enjoying another glass of wine. It will feel utterly magical sitting under those twinkling lights surround by friends and family.
And don’t forget adding light with candles. They’ll add a feeling of warmth and a little extra light.
You do not need an elaborate table, in fact, I’m all for keeping things simple and beautiful when it comes to outdoor entertaining.
Adding a table cloth will feel special but it’s no fuss and adds instant impact. Or for a more country style, keep it bare and add some texture and style with napkins and planters.
Add interest with greenery and flowers picked fresh from the garden. At no extra expense and with a little faffing you can create a beautiful display. Add flowers to jars or create a runner with your gatherings. Or both! Simple, beautiful.
Add candles. I know, I’ve already said this but seriously, you can never have enough. As a side note, burn some citronella candles to keep those pesky bugs at bay too.
As with lighting, you can avoid cutting your night short with a little forward planning for you and your guests. You don’t want to be shivering your way through dessert wishing you were anywhere but outside.
A fire pit will keep everyone warm and as with candles, provide extra light and ambience to the evening, they also don’t break the bank so a worthwhile investment for the summer months.
I love wrapping up in a blanket in the garden, it keeps all the cold out so why not bring out a basket of blankets for everyone to enjoy. They’ll all thank you for it.
All the details
The devil is in the detail as they say. So I thought I’d include some of my favourite ways to create something special and add those all important finishing touches.
Bunting. Boy do I love some plain white bunting strung throughout the garden. Nothing says garden party quite like bunting! I purchased this from Amazon. It was an absolute bargain for 10m of white cotton bunting.
Cushions. Add cushions for comfort and style in the garden. They take your garden entertaining game to a new level!
Hanging decorations. Depending on how much time you have you may want to consider some simple hanging decorations. I tend to bring these out for special occasions, always birthdays, I love these simple pom poms and fans.
Drinks cart. Create an area where everyone can help themselves to their favourite tipple. It saves you serving everyone and ensures you’re free to enjoy yourself too and everyone else will love having drinks on tap, whenever they fancy a top up.
Ice. Speaking of drinks I love creating extra special ice cubes for them. Add edible flowers or fruit to the ice cube tray before freezing. Quick but so impressive.
Games. Know your audience but a few games will be entertaining and fun for all ages. We’re a fan of huge garden games and rounders, something that all the family can enjoy. We don’t set and agenda or press it on people to join in but everything is there if they fancy.
I cannot wait for nights under the twinkle of lights now, good food, good music and great company, and I don’t think it’s far away.