Now that summer is in full swing, there couldn’t be a better time to throw the ultimate garden party! Whether you have a lush green lawn or a small patio area, pretty much all outside spaces can be transformed into a beautiful welcoming entertaining area for guests. All you need is a bit of imagination!
One of the most important considerations when it comes to planning your space is the lighting. As garden parties can go on until the small hours, having the perfect lighting is key to creating a warm and inviting space that guests will be reluctant to leave! If you are fortunate enough to have trees in your yard, hang some colorful Chinese lanterns or upcycled tea light holders from the branches for a magical effect. Strings of solar-powered fairy lights strewn along bushes and fences will give off a warm glow while strategically placed floor lights will make sure that guests don’t trip over.
It is worth noting that light can attract mosquitoes, so cover all bases by picking up some lemon eucalyptus candles to help keep them at bay. It has been reported that throwing rosemary on the fire pit or BBQ can repel the pesky insects, but to be on the safe side, perhaps invest in some DEET for your guests to spray on themselves if they get bitten.
All the glorious sunshine and long evenings can only mean that it is time to start preparing for BBQ season. Get creative by building your own grilling area with a few cinder blocks and bricks, using any leftovers to build a fire pit to huddle around when the evenings get cooler. If you’re a dab hand at DIY, you can really impress your guests by constructing your own wood-fired pizza oven for the fresh baked taste you just can’t get in the kitchen.
Once you have decided on how to cook the food, start thinking about what kind of food you would like to offer. There are hundreds of fresh and original garden party recipes out there, but a good start is to stick to finger foods that are easy to eat with one hand such as canapés, dips, burgers, and cakes. Make sure you cover meat and non-meat options. Vegetarians and vegans will always remember the effort you put into catering for them, so try to include their preferences in your menu ideas as well.
Having plenty of guests around also means increased seating. Bringing the dining chairs outside is a good start, but how about laying large rugs on the ground with some huge floor cushions for a relaxed bohemian vibe? Picnic tables also provide a great place for people to sit down and eat, but if you feel you don’t have enough seating for everyone then consider renting out garden furniture for the evening.
Playlists are a vital element to any party, so getting this right is key to the success of your festivities. Create a playlist for around five hours or more so you can relax knowing that the music won’t run out during the evening. Set the speakers to a level that won’t drown out guests as they talk and turn them towards the house so that you can even the sound out. Check out friends’ playlists for inspiration or stick with the biggest summer anthems if you need help picking songs. Good classic standards from artists like Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones, along with a mix of fresh dance tracks from artists like Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake should do the trick. There will no doubt be someone who wants to play their own music at some point during the evening so have an iPod dock ready just in case a guest fancies playing the role of DJ.