Garden party

Garden party ideas: entertaining in the garden

Wow your garden guests this summer with these garden party ideas

Gardens Illustrated picks out garden furniture, tools and lifestyle items that we think are the best and most exciting, based on independent research and careful consideration. On some occasions we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products. But this doesn’t affect what we choose to highlight and we will never let it bias our coverage.

With the ongoing wariness around indoor gatherings throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, our gardens have become an even more vital space for socialising. And it’s important to think carefully about how to make your garden feel welcoming and how to use the space as best you can.

Advertisement

Why not make the most of your outdoor space with these garden party ideas? From fire pits to music speakers, here’s how to throw a garden party to remember.

1

Get garden party comfortable

Whether you have a small garden or a large space to fill, there is a huge range of outdoor seating options on offer. Foldable chairs and cushions are great for balcony gardens, whilst a statement, corner sofa would look great in a bigger garden. Seating for a garden party should be comfortable, but you should also think about fitting chairs in hidden away nooks and crannies where people can enjoy a new garden view or your planting.

And don’t forget the accessories too. Cushions for the garden are essential, but make sure they are durable and wet/weather resistant just in case. Keeping warm from the chill as the night draws in is one of the perfect ways to make your guests feel at home.

Here are a few garden seating ideas that will fit perfectly in your garden party situation.

AFRICA Solid Oak Director's Chair, yellow and oak, £60, Habitat

AFRICA Solid Oak Director’s Chair, yellow and oak, £60, Habitat

Fermob Surprising Stacking Chair, cedar green and wood, £259, made in design

Fermob Surprising Stacking Chair, cedar green and wood, £259, made in design

Hampstead Corner Sofa, £1,250, Garden Trading

Hampstead Corner Sofa, £1,250, Garden Trading

Ryker Embroidered Cushion Cushion, £25, MADE

Ryker Embroidered Cushion Cushion, £25, MADE

Oblique Outdoor Rug, £119, MADE

Oblique Outdoor Rug, £119, MADE

Herringbone Block Pastel Throw, £80, National Trust

Herringbone Block Pastel Throw, £80, National Trust

2

Lay out a great garden party spread

Serve up a storm with the help of some stylish outdoor tableware and keep cool under a parasol (or dry from the rain!). Beautiful glasses, plates and mats can really help lift an afternoon’s entertaining. Having a colour scheme is a great way of making a garden party feel even more special and guests will likely love any detail you put in for them. Botanical and floral-themed can be a really nice way of reflecting what’s going in the garden around you.

You could try serving up some fresh food from your garden or you can learn how to grow your own cocktails with freshly grown herbs. Check out our recipes page for more inspiration, and don’t miss our piece on the best pizza ovens, which is a perfect and easy way to eat al fresco with your friends.

Grogged Mezze Serveware Set, £220, The New Craftsmen

Grogged Mezze Serveware Set, £220, The New Craftsmen

Hay Sip Glass Straws, set of 6, £25, Liberty

Hay Sip Glass Straws, set of 6, £25, Liberty

Embroidered Vegetable Napkins, Set of 6, £60, OKA

Embroidered Vegetable Napkins, Set of 6, £60, OKA

Marble Terrazzo Board, £55, Rose & Grey

Marble Terrazzo Board, £55, Rose & Grey

Penny Rattan Placemats, £26 each, Anthropologie

Penny Rattan Placemats, £26 each, Anthropologie

Hay Jochen Holz Glass Jug, amber, £29, AMARA

Hay Jochen Holz Glass Jug, amber, £29, AMARA

Big Bill Parasol, £755, East London Parasol Company

Big Bill Parasol, £755, East London Parasol Company

Ooni Koda Gas-Powered Outdoor Pizza Oven, £249, Ooni

Ooni Koda Gas-Powered Outdoor Pizza Oven, £249, Ooni

3

Feel all aglow

Keep the party going and stay warm as the sun sets with a cosy fire pit, some twinkling festoon lights, candles for the table and portable lights which means you don’t have to faff with wires.

Candlelight is the perfect way of moving from afternoon to evening and of making your garden a little more magical for your guests. Lighting up trees and backlighting plants can also be a great way of increasing the atmosphere in your garden, don’t miss our feature on garden night lights and lights for front gardens too. 

Stripe Candles, from £16.95, RE

Stripe Candles, from £16.95, RE

Wild Mushroom Candles, £48, Saudade

Wild Mushroom Candles, £48, Saudade

SOLVINDEN LED Solar-powered Lantern, £12.75, IKEA

SOLVINDEN LED Solar-powered Lantern, £12.75, IKEA 

Outdoor festoon lights

Outdoor Festoon Lights, from £30, Lights4fun

Innermost Bud Portable Light by Innermost, £99, Heals

Innermost Bud Portable Lights by Innermost, £99, Heals

Fermob Mooon! LED Wireless Lamp, honey, £109, made in design

Fermob Mooon! LED Wireless Lamp, honey, £109, made in design

Kew Firebowl, £159, Ivyline

Kew Firebowl, £159, Ivyline

4

And for something extra special…

Make it a party to remember with these additional garden party accessories and activities. Create your own garden cinema (and you could even show some garden-related films) or turn your garden into a dance-floor with some stylish outdoor speakers. There are a host of portable speakers and outdoor entertainment systems available these days for all your needs, but when looking for a speaker, go for robust, ideally weather proof and something that has great connectivity. The better your speaker connects with WiFi the further afield you can take it.

Nebula Mars 2 HD Ready Smart Portable Mini Projector, £599.99, Currys PC World

Nebula Mars 2 HD Ready Smart Portable Mini Projector, £599.99, Currys PC World

Birdybox Zebrano-wood Music Box, £60, Selfridges

Birdybox Zebrano-wood Music Box, £60, Selfridges

An outdoor cinema set up in a domestic garden complete with snack trolley, fire pit and deck chairs to help with the entertainment
Advertisement

Make your very own outdoor cinema garden party with our guide