How to hold a successful garden party

How to hold a successful garden party

Summer is here, which means a perfect time to open our windows and bi-folding doors and connect more with the nature on our door step.

Bi-folding doors or patio doors are the perfect connector between the indoor and the outdoors part of your house. Once open they will allow your garden to flow indoors creating the illusion of one huge open space. They are the perfect solution for creating an airy and light environment to live in; an almost perfect solution for enjoying the summer time to its fullest.

It is summer time so what could be better than a party full of friends and laughter to share in this huge open space you have just created?

A garden party!

They are always so much fun. They provide us with endless opportunities to do something different, to entertain our loved ones and to change an ordinary day into a potentially unforgettable one.

I have a list of things to consider when planning a garden party… here it comes…

Party spot

As it is the UK and the weather is quite temperamental it would be wise to pick a spot in the garden which has some cover above our heads. This will protect us from the sun and keep us cool (or cool-er) and when the worst comes to the worst and Mr. Rain decides to join us, it will help keep us dry. One of those big garden umbrellas should do the trick. If you happen to have a large garden and own a gazebo or a garden tent then of course set the main tables inside them.

Party furniture

Chairs are the key. Yes, it is a garden party and so your guest will most likely be either running around and playing or standing and mixing in the garden but at some point they will all want to sit down and relax and have something to eat and drink… make sure that the chairs have soft covers on them and are comfortable. It is really not very pleasant to sit on hard, uncomfortable chairs for hours and this can kill the good mood around.

Tableware

Whatever the theme or the occasion of your party do not use the best family china or even the silver, there is always an increased possibility that something will get broken. A garden party will tend to relax people a bit more than a standard party and thus we are prone to being less careful. Use your everyday tableware set or even better use disposable ones or even a plastic picnic set. Now a day’s disposable tableware can be so pretty; no more of that boring white all around… they can be purchased in a variety of different colours and patterns.

How to hold a successful garden party

Food

It is BBQ time! I am not joking, a garden party is meant to be coupled with a good BBQ, but you will need some more things to round out your feast… Make sure that you have plenty of light fresh dishes, which are easy to eat and do not require you to sit bolt upright and use a knife and fork. Salads, finger foods, fresh fruits and of course some veggies are always a good choice… oh and remember to do some vegetarian options just in case one of your friends has converted 😉

Drinks

For a garden party you will need plenty of them especially if it is a hot day. Keep them cool but not freezing cool and make sure that there is a lot of water. If you serve alcohol, serve some water just next to it… alcohol will speed up the dehydration process so your guests will need to drink a bit more. Keeping drinks on ice in hot weather is not very practical but pour some cold water into a bucket, place in a shaded spot and put your drinks in… They will stay nice and cool and all you need is a cloth to dry them out before serving.

Decorations and light

Make sure that the surroundings are all neat and tidy and all surfaces are clean. Cut the grass the day before, hide all the gardens tools, remove any dry or “dead” plants… this all helps to make the space look nice and presentable and will help save you time and money on additional decorations, sometimes a lovely looking garden is all you need.
Like with most parties we never know when it is going to finish, so be ready for an evening / night time. Prepare some lampions, garden lamps or just a bunch of candles, ready to light up when the sun starts to set.

Fly’s / Wildlife

Summer time equals a global invasion of fly’s, wasps, mosquito and tons of other little creatures which are out and about and will want to join in, pretty lights attract them. Protect your food with covers at all time. Buy some insect repealing candles or smelly sticks and keep them burning.

Noise and neighbours

If you neighbours aren’t invited then be polite inform them about your party. It is the nice way to be with your neighbours, and who knows it might just help to avoid that two hour long session with his chainsaw he had planned for that day. Give them fair notice that this day / evening will most likely not be as peaceful as usually and the noise level may well be much higher.

I think that’s all.

Now that all the basics have been covered – go invite your friends… and I mean it… friends. No one enjoys those parties that are full of guests who were invited because it was the polite thing to do… These parties are never as much fun as the parties with your friends, people you trust and love.

So have fun!

And if you have any further tips for a successful garden party, please do share.

* Post written in collaboration with expressbifolds.co.uk.

My Dream, My House, My Home

All of us… Most of us dream about owning a house in which to make a home. For some this dream might never come true but I would like to think that for most it will.

However rarely does getting a house equal getting our dream house, but once we own the place, we are free to do any necessary changes to make it as close to our ideal house as possible.

We all have different priorities and like different things but most of us would always like to have more space, or at least the illusion of more space.

We belong to this category of people, despite the fact that we are “cave people” (we tend to go out only when we have to and we prefer to organise most of our entertainment with each other be it in front of the TV or with one of our various gaming consoles). That said we do like our cave in an open plan design and houses which open to the outdoors.

We wanted a spacious, well lit house which would give us the feeling of openness and overwhelming freedom, instead we bought a house which had a tiny kitchen and a tiny dining room downstairs…

It was time to get creative!

Behold Mark The Destroyer
Behold Mark The Destroyer

We took down the wall and opened up the downstairs – the change was amazing! No more claustrophobic feelings whilst in the kitchen; the whole kitchen –diner became light and airy… almost perfect.

I say almost, because the next step is to replace our standard double doors leading into the conservatory with some modern sliding doors. The main reason for this is to get rid of the vertical bracing we have at the moment and gain the illusion of more space and even more light. The sliding doors will allow for the use of the space once reserved for the door to open. This is step two in our journey towards our perfect house.

Step three will be doing more or less the same but with the main conservatory doors. We would love to open our house up to the outdoors, create light and the visual illusion that both the indoors and the outdoors are fluidly connected giving us a dream living space. Just because we have a cave doesn’t mean it has to be a dark one!

I think my parents have got it almost right.

Sliding Doors

They have built an outdoor half covered veranda – it has a roof but no walls – it makes a perfect home extension allowing you to enjoy the space come spring and summer. Huge glass sliding doors flood their living room with light and allow you to enjoy a panoramic view without any obstructions.

I hope one day we will be in a position to do the same. We would love to have something like an outdoor living room, where we can spend time during the all to brief warmer months of the year.

For now our limited DIY funds will be going into redecorating one of the bedrooms after the roof leak brought on by our wonderfully wet winter 🙁

How are your DIY plans going in 2014?

Are you also on the quest for more space and light?

On a budget also, share the way you achieved your goal with us all.

* Post written in collaboration with expressbifolds.co.uk.