Summer is upon us! Which can only mean one thing… It’s time to transform your garden into a magical haven worthy of a Summer garden party. A garden often has to accommodate a variety of uses ranging from a child-friendly family area, a style-conscious garden to host evening parties or just a simple casual area to lounge around in the hot sun with a cup of tea and a good book. But what can you do to transform your family-friendly garden into an elegant location for a garden dinner party?
During a dinner party, you’re most likely going to be spending a lot of time around the table at some point, and therefore the dining area is of course going to be the focal point of the garden.
It’s important to have a dining area large enough for everyone to comfortably sit around and dine, but compact enough that you can tuck the chairs in and out neatly, leaving only the table’s surface for drinks later in the evening or pull out the chairs should you need some extra seating. With large garden dining table sets, such as the Murano Rattan Cube set pictured above, they can seat comfortably up to ten people, yet the seats tuck away completely under the table, leaving only a “cube” to place drinks upon.
Space is everything. You want to utilise as much of it as possible, whilst maintaining a large open area for activities and mingling. Open space also attracts a lot of attention to the flooring of the space, so it is a good way to accentuate certain types of decking.
Extra large spaces can often look too bare. The best way to make use of large spaces, both practically and visually, is to separate two or three different areas. Like in the example above with the transitional deck, due to the multiple tiers of decking, the garden actually looks significantly bigger, but each area serves its own purpose. The beautifully curved walkway could easily be a place of socialising as guests walk between the house and the outside lounge/dining area and down the steps to the central campfire on the lowest tier.
Open sky views can also have a visually enlargening effect on your garden so it is important to avoid the overuse of parasols, especially in the central area of your garden, which block the sky and cast too much shade. Seek alternative ways to shade areas of the garden, such as a roofed bar area, or the patio section of your garden roofed with a light bamboo shelter.
A simple water feature can add a lot to the serene atmosphere of a garden. It doesn’t have to be large or anything too extravagant, but even just the faint babbling of a small fountain could provide a tranquil background to conversation.
A small fountain or waterfall can also add subtle animation to the garden setting in its entirety, as well as to any ordinary fish pond, drawing further attraction to the piece. Water features are popularly used in outdoor home design as a central attraction of a garden, due to their relaxing and romantic nature. Pondless water features are continuing to grow in popularity as they are an affordable addition to any garden of any size.
Decoration & Lighting
Naturally, plant life and organic pieces tend to fare much better in a garden environment and are the obvious choice when it comes to decorating the garden for Summer. Decorative pieces should all fit a common theme or style, interesting enough to inspire conversation, but subtle enough to not impose on the design of the rest of the garden, unless it is a major signature piece of the overall design. Lighting is also a crucial component to consider for when the sun starts to go down on your evening garden party. There are ways in which you can integrate both lighting and decoration in your garden design, letting the glow of your garden draw attention to certain features.
Rather than using obvious floodlight lamps that shine a little too brightly and break from the evening atmosphere, an effective way to light up your garden is by strategically draping fairy lights over trees and shrubs or small lamps and flickering candles that offer a natural lighting placed in certain areas of the garden.