How to host a summer garden party

The sun is out at last! Make the most of the warm weather with these garden party tips.

Updated

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In warm weather, what could be more pleasant than a garden party with the people you love? Whether you’re wondering what you’ll need to bear in mind or just looking for inspiration, here are some summer garden party ideas.

When you’re hosting a garden party at home, it’s worth having some games around in case the conversation runs dry. Badminton and outdoor board games are good ideas.

Garden party decoration ideas

  • Your flowerbeds may be bright and beautiful already but you can always have more flowers. If you’re eating at a table, a vase arrangement or two will add colour and sophistication to the spread.
  • Bunting, baubles and balloons are always fun decorating ideas for a garden party, especially if you’re expecting children to attend.
  • If your garden furniture’s looking a bit drab, cover it up with colourful throws or blankets.
  • The food itself can become part of the decoration. Brightly coloured cocktails, a mozzarella and tomato salad, a cake covered in vibrant strawberries, all these things can liven up your table. Just remember to make sure it tastes good as well!
  • If you’re planning to be outside in the evening, think about lighting in advance. Candles or string lights can be great for the atmosphere.

Garden party tips

  • Your garden furniture may not be looking its best since it hasn't been used for a while. No matter how good your summer party ideas are, it’ll be hard for your guests to enjoy them if they’re sitting on mouldy chairs. A few days before your garden party, scrub your furniture down with warm, soapy water (be gentle if you’re doing this with wicker). It’s best to do this on a hot day so the furniture will dry quickly.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have garden furniture; everyone loves a picnic! Lay down a blanket, set out some cushions, and prepare some food that’s easy to eat with your hands: biscuits, berries, nuts, dried fruit, sausage rolls. If you get some baguettes and set out lettuce, cheese, butter and cold meats, people will be able to make their own sandwiches. Bring out some chairs in case people start to get uncomfortable sitting on the ground.
  • It’s not summer without a braai. It’s easy to forget about the vegetarians in your group when you’re picking up food for the braai, though, so make sure they’re catered for as well! Vegetable skewers, sweet potatoes and halloumi are likely to go down well. It’s probably best to cook the vegetarian food first, rather than grilling it alongside or after the meat.
  • Picnics, braai and dinner parties are classic summer party themes, but you can always get a little more creative. Holding a ‘baking competition’ where people bring along their creations can be fun and reduce the pressure of catering, although you might not want to risk it if your friends are very competitive.
  • If you’re looking for garden party ideas for adults, an open-air cocktail station will probably be popular! Letting people mix their own drinks will give you more time to relax.
  • Make sure everyone’s going to be comfortable in the hot weather. If your garden doesn’t have much natural shade, a parasol can protect your guests from the glare of the sun.
  • To care for the environment, it's also good to consider biodegradable cups. You don’t necessarily have to invest in paper plates or plastic cutlery if you’re hosting a garden party at home, but it’s easy to knock over a wine glass that’s been set precariously down on the lawn!

And there you are: some garden party ideas! Once you know how to host a garden party, you’ll be inviting your friends back again and again. Have a great time!

Always supervise candles, especially if it’s been a hot summer and there’s a lot of dry grass around. Make sure they’re stable and only use them on furniture. Don’t try to put a candle on the blanket if you’re having a picnic!
  • Make sure your garden furniture’s clean, if you’re planning to use it.
  • Prepare food and drink for your guests. If you’re struggling to cater solo, ask your guests if they can each bring a dish. Make sure the spread isn’t just meat-based!
  • Check that there’s a comfortable amount of shade.
  • If you’re planning to be out when the sun goes down, prepare the lighting in advance.
  • Originally published