10 garden party ideas to help you throw a joyful outdoor bash

Not that you need an excuse to make the most of your garden this summer, but there’s nothing like throwing a garden party to kick off a summer of fun. Luckily for you we have plenty of garden party inspiration to get you started, from setting the perfect atmosphere to decoration ideas and keeping your guests entertained. Wondering what to wear when you’re on hosting duty? We’ve even got that covered. So prepare for an outdoor bash that'll have everyone talking.

Get your garden party-ready

You don’t have to be a green-fingered goddess to make your outside space sparkle. It’s all about setting the scene with some simple decorating ideas.

1. Style your seating

Set up your garden furniture so that guests have somewhere to perch and enjoy the weather. Arranging chairs, benches or beanbags in a circle or in smaller groups will encourage people to socialise. Include a shady corner using a parasol or canopy for guests who need a break from the sun, and use brightly coloured planters to section between the refreshment and party areas.

2. Keep cosy

Once the sun sets and it gets cooler, a handy scattering of throw blankets will ensure everyone can comfortably enjoy the summer evening. Add a sprinkling of colour and texture to your seating area with a few quirky cushions.

3. Light them up

Garden lighting is essential as the sun goes down, and a great way to create ambiance. Dotting a few lanterns around will illuminate the space and add a little party sparkle. Think about draping string lights underneath parasols and over tree branches, or even along the fence, to add a soft glow.

Dress your table

Wow your guests with some fancy tablescaping to create a focal point for the refreshments. A few decorative ideas are all it takes to make your table Instagram-worthy.

4. Have a theme

Starting with a theme is an easy way to pull all your garden party decorations together. Pick a colour palette, such as citrus brights, featured in our Lila tableware range, and select plates, platters and jugs to fit in with that. You can then bring an eclectic mix of outdoor dining accessories to the table for a more curated look. Around the garden, match paper lantern decorations and bunting to your theme.

5. Add texture and colour

Using a plain tablecloth as a base, layer with bright and vibrant coasters and placemats to frame your table decorations and accessories. A couple of individual blooms plucked from the garden look great in little bud vases tucked in amid the tableware.

6. Scent the scene

Extra flourishes such as colourful and decorative candles will give your table a luxurious, boutiquey feel, and the odd scented candle will leave a lingering fragrance. Just make sure to only pick one scent, or scents that complement each other, so as not to overpower the food.

Eat, drink and be merry

Make the most of the longer days with a curated list of tunes and some delicious food and drink to keep the party flowing.

7. Select your tracks

Set up an outdoor speaker and share your favourite summer playlist. Having music playing in the background keeps the party spirit high and may even encourage guests to show off their best moves. Order it so that easy listening tracks are at the start and dancefloor favourites come a little later on when people have warmed up.

8. Mix up some tipples

Create a cocktail corner with a few firm favourites. Take a bar cart or drinks trolley outside and set up a station with glassware, barware, drinks and garnishes. Then let your guests loose to make their own cocktails and mocktails. Go traditional with a classic Pimm’s, or mix it up with crowd-pleasing margaritas.

9. Lay on the nibbles

Forget a labour-intensive feast – with the sun out and your friends over, you’ll want a minimum-effort spread that involves as little time in the kitchen as possible so you can be out there enjoying yourself. A grazing table that incorporates a spread of cheeses, deli meats and picky bits such as olives, berries, pickles and crackers is easy to prepare and looks impressive too. Just provide serve ware and everyone can help themselves.

10. Pick your outfit

As the party host, you’ll want an outfit that’s fabulous, of course, but also practical enough for milling around in, topping up people’s drinks and bringing food out to the table. A hero dress or shirt with oversized sunglasses is the perfect look for this, teamed with an eye-catching hair accessory to keep your locks in place and a layering of necklaces to add sparkle.