Spring is well and truly in full-swing—the nights are longer, warmer, and parties are beginning to move outdoors, into the garden, and away from the restrictive confines of four walls. However, with this prolific outdoor entertainment comes the need to properly plan and equip a successful outside space. Considerations such as comfortable seating, well-dressed table settings, and suitable cooking are all important when hosting an alfresco event.
Take a look at the following handy hints and tips below, and ensure your next garden soirée is a memorable and relaxed occasion.
Dressing a table for an outdoor event can often seem daunting—the key to ensuring your table looks fabulous, and is enjoyable for your guests, is to make sure it is relatively simple. Linen placemats, napkins, a bouquet of flowers, and a simple sprig of rosemary on each plate can all add to the final ambience and appeal of your table decoration. When planning an outdoor event, ensure your furniture is up to the task of hosting your guests. You don’t want a dining table that is grimy, sticky, dirty, or broken. Scrub your surfaces clean, and if they still don’t look nice enough, consider some brown butchers paper, it will hide the stains, look innovative, and provide easy clean up.
When hosting an outdoor shindig, the most important thing is that your guests are relaxed and comfortable. Ensure your seating is ready for the event, and if necessary, re-purpose unused indoor furniture for outside. Small metal stools, chairs, and benches can work wonderfully outside and are waterproof in case it should rain. This setting illustrated above looks extremely elaborate, but can be easy to create. You will need a set of comfortable outdoor couches and lounges, as well as some smaller tables, and plenty of sunshine to relax underneath.
Lighting can make or break a party—choose lighting that suits the mood and vibe of your event. If you are hosting an intimate get-together, you will want a soft and ambient light, or if your party is a little more rambunctious and lively, perhaps a slightly brighter, or directed light. Either way, you cannot go wrong with lanterns, they suit almost any outdoor setting, and offer a subtle illumination which can create a romantic feeling, or highlight certain areas within your space.
There is nothing worse than a garden party or outdoor event staged in a messy or unattractive space. If you are thinking of entertaining, it’s time to grab the garden shears, and get trimming, clipping, and tidying. Ensure all of your paths are washed, swept, and free from dirt, leaves and grime. Moreover, give your plants a trim approximately a fortnight before your event. This will ensure they have time to grow back a little and don’t look too bare or barren when your guests arrive. If you don't have the gardening nous, or simply not enough time, contract a gardener to come and fix it for you.
Is there anything better than outdoor cooking in the summer or spring? The warm breeze is lively yet relaxing, and the garden smells like jasmine and orange blossom. If you are entertaining outdoors, consider the use of an exterior kitchen to cook your food. Depending on your event this may not be appropriate, or perhaps a little over the top, but an outdoor kitchen can add bucket loads of enjoyment, as well as increase the value of your property. This space has it all, a built in sink area, huge barbecue, and plenty of space to prepare and socialise with your guests.
One of the best ways to ensure your outdoor event is lively, enjoyable and exciting, is with the use of colourful decorations. Take a leaf out of this designer’s book, and try embellishing your space with some bright and animated garlands. These hanging strings of pompoms are perfect to drape around your trees, across your table, or simply from the eves of your balcony. Watch the space transform when you incorporate some small but important ornaments and décor.