Garden party

A Guide To Throwing The Ultimate Garden Party

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Festival-style pergolas, private chefs and beach bars: how to impress your garden guests

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Al fresco socialising is back on the agenda, which means garden parties galore. At the moment, that’s just with your group of six – but from 17 May, up to 30 guests may be allowed. So how will you make your outdoor gathering stand out? With the help of a handful of experts, we’ve pulled together a guide to throwing the ultimate garden party this summer.

A Guide To Throwing The Ultimate Garden Party

Theme

Keen to make your event unique? Add a theme into the mix. Here are a few ideas from Alicia Pasley Tyler, founder of events company Latitude Lifestyle.

  • Elevated Picnics: Public spaces are increasingly crowded so bring the park to the garden and enhance the conventional picnic with a sophisticated twist. Add in a mixologist flaring behind a pop-up bar (think stacked wooden crates decorated with flowers), wheelbarrows filled with ice and cold beers, coconuts with a dash of rum added. Keep the kids company with a magician and lawn games, and bring a live saxophonist for some fun and floaty tunes.
  • Tropical Tiki BBQ: Bring an exotic island to the back garden with a table adorned with vibrant multicoloured prints, hanging lanterns and bright cushions, host a casual BBQ and tiki bar and get a bonfire going for the full great outdoors vibe.
  • European Essence: With summer travel uncertain, we’re seeing a growing demand to replicate a Mediterranean mood in your own back garden. With white wash designs, chic linen-dressed tables and white hanging lanterns inspired by the French Riviera, these garden parties will have a distinctive laidback luxury feel accompanied by Balearic beats, Aperol Spritzes and Sicilian lemonades, with Scorpios-style Cycladic menus enjoyed as the sun sets – hearty, colourful Greek salads, olive oils, fresh breads and fish.’

Shelter

Raj Tent Club

Inevitably there’s always a worry that the weather won’t play ball, so it’s no surprise sales for garden heaters and gazebos have gone through the roof recently. If you’re after something a little special, check out Raj Tent Club, which offers Glastonbury-esque pergolas and tents for hire. Complete the look with a cosy fire pit.

Garden bars have also soared in popularity in recent months, with Etsy reporting a 3632 per cent increase in searches UK for them in the last three months. If you’re willing to invest, this gazebo beach bar from Habitat will bring a dose of stylish fun to your celebrations.

Lighting

Lighting garden

Getty Images

Come evening time, lighting can transform a garden. Helen White, co-founder of House Of suggests: ‘Strings of festoon lights can be hung from fences, posts and pergolas to recreate the atmosphere we are used to seeing in the trendiest pubs and bars. Don’t stop there though: you can also hang lights in trees and over tables using umbrella stands.

‘If you don’t have electricity points in your garden, it’s not a problem,’ she adds. ‘There are some really good quality solar battery powered lights available now. Use multiple for a brighter light as sometimes they aren’t as strong as mains powered lighting: for example, light up your borders with downlighters, which can be easily attached to the fence.’

Tablescaping

Bordallo Pinheiro

BORDALLO PINHEIRO 2018 – TOPSHOTS MESAS
© LIONEL BALTEIRO / LAMOUSSE

Outdoor tablescaping can be just as effective as indoor – if anything, al fresco dining settings can be even more atmospheric. ‘Just because you’re outside it doesn’t mean your table can’t be dressed to the nines,’ says Rosie Axford, co-founder of Wicklewood. ‘Start bottom up; a patterned tablecloth can totally transform a table. From there you need to layer up to add texture and grandiosity. Remember to add pattern and colour via items that aren’t going to be removed from the table, like bud-vases and ceramic tea lights, to avoid your table looking a little depleted as the day wears on. Ceramics in general add a level of magnificence to any table and food served in beautiful dishes can become part of the décor, especially if they’re unusual.’

For more spring tablescaping inspiration, check out our handy guide.

Food & Drink

Peapod & Co

Last but most definitely not least: what will your guests be eating and drinking? If you’d prefer to leave the catering to the experts, check out our pick of private chef services. The Hampstead Kitchen, for instance, offers a bespoke food delivery service for the age of social distancing. This involves personalised platters featuring international flavours – Persian banquets, Mediterranean feasts, Nordic smorgasbords – all plated up on grand silver mezze platters. Another name to know is Peapod & Co, the Net-a-Porter of canapés, delivering ribbon-tied boxes of immaculately turned out morsels to the door. On the drinks side, cocktails are are must – served at your new garden bar, perhaps? – and we’ve got plenty of great recipes for you here.

Main image: Getty Images

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The C&TH Summer BBQ Guide / Outdoor Furniture: The Spring Edit