5 Steps to Throwing the Perfect Garden Party

5 Steps to Throwing the Perfect Garden Party

If you’d like to make yours the event that people are still talking about weeks later (for the right reasons!) then read on for our guide to how to throw the perfect alfresco bash. At the moment, the focus still has to be on small and intimate rather than large gatherings so it’s worth going to a little trouble to create the right atmosphere.

Be psychic!

Throwing a party outdoors in the UK, even in the summer, comes with its own attendant uncertainties. You need to think about what you’re going to do if the heavens suddenly decide to open. You could consider offering some sort of shelter such as a gazebo, or just warning guests that the date may be subject to change!

Decorations don’t have to be expensive – homemade bunting made from leftovers and tealights in jars can create a magical atmosphere. Image 2021 Pixabay

Create an outdoor room

There’s always a novelty about seeing indoor furniture, such as chairs and tables, pressed into service outdoors. It gives a slightly fantastical air to the party – and who wouldn’t want that? Plain wooden furniture won’t take any harm outdoors as long as it’s dry (see above), but make sure any cushions or throws that you decide to use are washable, or at least wipeable.

To finish the look, there are some fantastic indoor/outdoor rugs available now made from recycled plastic bottles that can just be hosed down after use. Mix indoor furniture with outdoor garden furniture for an eclectic look. If you don’t have enough chairs (or room for enough chairs!) then make it a casual dress code and ask guests to be lounge on picnic blankets and floor cushions. Simple jugs of garden flowers or plants in pots are enough to finish off the look.

Create summery drinks – frozen berries make a great alternative to ice cubes. Image 2021 Pixabay

Add another room

If you have the space available, then creating a seating area that’s separate to the dining area gives a real sense of luxury and relaxation. More informal seating, blankets and little side tables will help give a relaxed vibe.

Light it up

Depending on the time of day you’re holding your party, then you might want to think about adding fairy lights or candles to take you into the evening. There are some very pretty fairy lights out there at the moment, which look just as good unlit as lit and act as extra decorations. You could also try putting tealights in jam jars – tie string firmly round the neck and hang them from sturdy tree branches so there’s no chance of them getting knocked over. If you think that the insects might make uninvited guests, then use tealights with added citronella as a deterrent. Keep a little spray bottle of insect repellent at hand in case the bugs come out to play at twilight.

Using ‘real’ glassware and crockery adds a sense of style and elegance. Image 2021 Pixabay

Use the real thing

For an outdoors party with an elegant edge, use glassware and china crockery rather than picnicware. If you don’t like to risk your best dinner service, then scour charity shops for pretty plates and put together a mismatched ‘set’. Linen napkins add a sense of luxury that paper alternatives just can’t match. Keep food simple and serve things that can be pre-prepared ahead of time as much as possible – you want to enjoy yourself too! A pretty pitcher of punch or cocktail such as Pimm’s always goes down well on a summer evening, too.

Featured image credit – Pixabay

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How to Host the Perfect Alfresco Lunch or Dinner

How to Host the Perfect Alfresco Lunch or Dinner

We may be able to move back indoors for meals with friends but many of us will still prefer an outdoor setting this summer. After all, lots of us have been working flat out on our gardens over the last few months and are keen to show off the fruits (and flowers!) of our labour. If you’re meeting outdoors, you can have more guests as well (see the Government website for up to date restrictions on numbers of people who can meet).

If you’re feeling anything like us, you may think that you’ve completely forgotten how to host any kind of social event – so we’ve put together a list of our top tips for hosting an outdoor meal to help you sail through the occasion with aplomb.

Keep the menu simple – fresh, seasonal salads look lovely and can be pre-prepared. Image: (c) 2021 Pixabay

Keep it simple

We’re all so over-excited at actually being able to invite friends over for a meal that the temptation might be to go completely over the top! While everyone appreciates a little effort, you don’t want to be so tied up in the catering that you don’t get a chance to sit down and talk to your friends.

Plan a simple menu that you know how to prepare, and do as much of it as possible beforehand. Stick to one hot dish such as a quiche or pastries which can be pre-made and heated up at the last minute, and serve it with cold salads. These latter can be put out on the table beforehand, just keep them covered up against insects. Barbecues are a good way of being able to cook and chat at the same time!

Mix and match crockery for an eclectic feel. Image: (c) 2021 Pixabay

Create some atmosphere

Even if you’re hosting a lunch rather than a dinner, candles and lights outside always help create a magical atmosphere – and using insect repellent candles can be practical as well as attractive! Hang outdoor solar-powered lights from trees, place storm lanterns on low walls or on windowsills or in trees.

If your event is taking place in the evening, then hanging lanterns around the perimeter of your garden helps to add depth and creates a really pretty environment as the sun sets. If you have small children or pets running around, then an LED battery-operated ‘candle’ gives the same effect and you don’t have to keep getting up to re-light it!

Use fresh flowers from the garden to decorate an impromptu table. Image: (c) 2021 Pixabay

Make people comfortable

If you’re planning to stay outside no matter what, then your guests may well appreciate some throws and blankets. It may be summer, but just sitting down and not moving around can be chilling! Add cushions for seats and possibly a parasol against sun (or drizzle!) if you have room.

Make life easy

If you’re using disposable plates, cups and cutlery then consider eco-friendly, compostable versions – when the meal is over you can just sweep the whole lot into the compost bin! If you’re buying in some reusable picnic plates specially, check they’re the kind that will go in the dishwasher.

Set up a ‘bar’

Well stocked bar cart or drinks trolley
Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

If you have a hostess trolley or small table, then stock it with drinks and glasses and set it up in a corner out of the way. Then all the clutter is off the table and guests can get up and help themselves without having to ask. You could also add a bottle of sanitiser so that guests can help themselves before they touch any bottles.

Main image credit –  (c) 2021 Pixabay

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7 Brilliant Backyard Makeover Ideas

7 Brilliant Backyard Makeover Ideas

As much as many people love having cosy and welcoming living rooms, the backyard can also be a haven, particularly when it is designed brilliantly. Yes, your backyard can be more inviting, stylish, and serene than your interior spaces. What is more, the backyard offers a taste of nature and freshness that makes you feel alive.

So, are you ready to transform your backyard into a sanctuary? A brilliant backyard makeover does not have to be expensive. Sometimes, you need less costly upgrades, such as patio furniture and led lights, to do the magic. Additionally, you can include DIY ideas to make your backyard look more inviting and luxurious. Check out these seven brilliant backyard makeover ideas that will give your outdoor space a beautiful appearance.

Create a fire pit

Your backyard can be cold since it is outside. However, this does not mean you have to neglect this wonderful space during cold months. Creating a fire pit is an excellent way to add warmth and comfort to your outdoor space. Yes, you can create a fire pit with a decent seating arrangement to enhance the look of your backyard. For instance, you can invest in Adirondack chairs to give them a more authentic look.

Additionally, the fire pit can be the perfect BBQ location when you have friends around. A fire pit is also a family and friends magnet during the colder winter season. You will be startled by how much you love spending time in the backyard.

Hang a hammock

Contemporary hanging garden chair in black
Photo by Subham Majumder from Pexels

Do you love the feeling of dangling gently in a hammock as you enjoy the outdoor breeze in your backyard? It sounds amazing already. Hanging a hammock in the backyard will automatically make it a family fun spot when you need to catch fresh air and unwind after your chores or work. Additionally, you can make it even more exciting by adding string lights and a refreshment table by its side, so you do not have to leave your comfort to grab a drink.

What is more impressive is that you can get portable hammocks that do not require trees. Alternatively, you can invest in garden swing seats and still have fun.

Design a stone path

You do not need a garden to design a nice-looking stone path in the backyard. All you need to do is arrange bricks or stones to create a clear pathway from your back door through the backyard. The path may connect the house to your swimming pool or garage. In addition, you can make it more radiant and appealing by painting the stones to match your outdoor theme.

Create an outdoor dining area

Pretty and functional outdoor dining area with atmospheric lighting
Photo by Askar Abayev from Pexels

The backyard can also be an outdoor dining area. All you need is a rustic dining set to fill the empty lawn and create a luxurious space. What better way to have a family meal over the weekend than in your backyard under the blue skies? This can also be a place where you host a family get-together as you enjoy the natural outdoor beauty.

Make a fountain

Do you love the look of a greener outdoor with fountains of water all over your backyard? Then, investing in a fountain can be an excellent idea for a backyard makeover. This is an excellent opportunity to add a water feature to your outdoor space. Additionally, you can create a small aquarium with fountains feeding it water.

Invest in backyard games

You do not need an expansive backyard to make it a fun spot for your kids. Go for the most exciting outdoor activity kits with loads of fun games, such as board games, horseshoe sets, and blocks for kids. You may also want to invest in the right furniture to make your backyard a gaming zone.

When it comes to backyard designs, there are many ideas and styles you can choose from to make your home more attractive. There are many possibilities, and it is up to you to choose the right style and approach that works for you. 

Featured image credit: Photo by Creative Vix from Pexels

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