How Does Your Garden Entertain?
Forget silver bells and cockle shells. Let your landscape's natural beauty charm guests when you entertain outdoors
With warmer weather right around the corner, we're dreaming of spring and, more specifically, garden parties! For everyone from ladies who lunch to cocktail-shaking couples, entertaining at home is even better when it involves the great outdoors. Check out these tips for making guests feel welcome from the minute they walk through the garden gate.
Maybe it's the Southerner in us, but making garden party guests feel welcome right from the start is crucial. A gorgeous gate like this can't help but make a partygoer feel special. Top it off with an elegant wreath or ribbon to make the welcome even warmer.
More garden gates
More garden gates
It goes without saying that one of the most important elements of an outdoor event is the landscaping. An intricately designed yard like this one is perfect for entertaining, especially when a server mingles to make sure everyone's mint julep stays full.
Both on the ground and on the table, flowers are the centerpiece of the perfect garden party. In spring, when the garden is in full bloom, keep the table flowers simple and fresh, using a palette that complements the yard without matching perfectly. If the posies come from your own garden, all the better.
Planning for shade and shelter from the rain is crucial. A beautiful covered patio like this one is wonderful, but if your outdoor entertaining space isn't quite as large, try a tent. Add sides and you've got a terrific way to keep an outdoor party warm in the winter as well.
What a spectacular place to say wedding vows! Or, if no one is getting married, this is a great place to mix, mingle or set a table for a dozen or so. With outdoor dining, creating ambience is key. Keep it simple and elegant with neutral linens and candlelight, or spice it up with fun prints and bright colors. In a space this luscious, you really can't go wrong.
Whether you're planning a sit-down event or simply cocktails and sunshine, adequate seating is a must. Comfy loveseats like these are fabulous if you have them, but a few well-placed chairs throughout the garden should be plenty. For a sit-down outdoor affair, choose chairs with an open back. The last thing you want is a chair to take away from the splendor of the outdoors everyone is there to enjoy.
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the food is the heart of the party. An outdoor cooking space makes entertaining a pleasure and grilling staples like steaks and veggies a breeze. If cooking while mingling isn't your thing, keep it simple. Prepare foods prior to the party that don't have to be kept warm. That way, once the meal is served you can focus on your guests instead of running back and forth to the kitchen.
For chillier evenings, a warm fire is a wonderful touch. An outdoor fireplace like this one creates ambience and gives guests a place to warm their fingers. If you don't have a built-in fireplace, portable fire pits are inexpensive and just as warm, and they come in plenty of color and style options to suit every taste. Plus, roasting marshmallows is a great way to end the night, especially when kids are involved.
Browse photos of outdoor entertaining spaces
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Design Your Perfect Outdoor Kitchen
Ideabook published on Feb. 22, 2012.
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