Summer is finally here! In true British-style, thoughts are turning to outdoor entertaining. From sizzling barbecues and relaxed alfresco dining, to sophisticated soirees and gorgeous garden parties, an open-air get-together is a fixture in the social calendars of many Brits this time of year.
To inspire all those who want to open their gardens and entertain in style,we’ve come up with five top outdoor entertaining tips for how to set the scene for the perfect party.
1. Keep it simple
As with many things, sometimes less is more. The stunning white and green theme at the recent royal wedding was simple but effective and can easily be recreated for your own garden party.
Flowers can add a sense of luxury to any event; a vase of beautiful white peonies, hydrangea or roses mixed with bright greenery can make a stunning centrepiece for your table, while a hand-tied bunch of fragrant lavender with raffia make for a rustic place-setting. And is there anything more British than bunting? Some simple hessian or brightly-coloured bunting draped in your garden can help create that sense of occasion.
2. Light it up
Summer entertaining can often go on late into the night. To help keep the party going and create a romantic ambience for your guests, atmospheric lighting is perfect. Some simple lanterns carefully placed around the garden, candles on the table and pretty fairy lights can all add a warm and sophisticated feel to your garden party.
3. Take a seat
When entertaining guests, it’s important to make them feel at home and relaxed. Providing plenty of seating is a good way to help everyone feel comfortable, while a basket of cosy blankets can help keep the party outside even when the temperature drops. Using cushions on your seating is an easy way to bring your own personality into the garden; use clean, simple colours for a classic finish or add some colour for a vibrant, outdoor summer feel.
4. Create some shade
There’s nothing better than a bright sunny day spent relaxing in the garden with friends and family, but don’t forget to provide some outside cover to keep people out of the sun’s glare. There are some great tents and tepees available for little ones, but you could even get them involved in making their own den! A big umbrella or parasol will make sure your older guests are protected from the midday heat, allowing sun-worshippers to still catch some rays if they wish.
5. Be prepared!
Sometimes the best laid parties just don’t go to plan – particularly where the great British weather is concerned! Be prepared for rain or shine with a gazebo or small marquee, which can also make a pretty feature in the garden. If you really want to entertain your guests in style, a bespoke conservatory or orangery makes for a stunning, versatile and welcoming space all year round. Plus, they’re easy to temperature-control for the odd chilly night come late summer.
Remember, we can’t really do much about the weather – ultimately it’s all about spending precious time with your friends and family, and enjoying good food and drink!