Summer Garden Parties: Best Ideas for Outdoor Entertainment
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Summer Garden Parties: Best Ideas for Outdoor Entertainment

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Summer garden parties are great fun, and with the evenings getting longer and the weather warming up, now is the perfect time to start planning your next outdoor event.

But planning a party that everyone will remember long into the depths of winter, involves quite a bit of work.

In this guide, we look at several summer garden party ideas, from choosing the decorations for your garden to planning the food and games, so you can host the perfect event.

Ready to start planning your garden party? Then read on!

Group of young friends having a garden party next to a pool

Make Your Garden Look Amazing with Decorations

First of all, you’ll want to set up your garden so it looks spectacular. You really want to wow your guests when they step into your garden and let them know that this will be a party to remember.

You might want to choose a theme for your party, like a tropical island or fairytale theme, although this is by no means essential. If you do, this can impact the decisions you make regarding decor.

Whether you go with a theme or not, here are some decoration ideas to create the perfect environment.

Add colour with lots of flowers

Summer is the time to enjoy your flowers in full bloom, so make sure your garden has plenty of them.

  • Plant flowers in advance to ensure your garden looks stunning when the day of the party arrives.
  • Place them in vases and adorn the tables with greenery to add a vibrant touch.
  • Potted plants can be quickly positioned in strategic locations, like along pathways.

You can never have too many flowers, so make sure you have lots and fill the whole garden with colour.

Use rustic accents

If you’re aiming for a rustic feel, use plenty of natural wooden elements. Old crates, barrels and pallets can be used as tables or just decorative accents to enhance the charm of the space.

Lanterns hanging from the ceiling in the garden

Use plenty of hanging decorations

Hanging decorations are perfect for garden parties. Hang up bunting and wind chimes from the trees, for example, to help add visual interest and create the right atmosphere.

Incorporate water features

The soothing sound of running water is the perfect backdrop to your party. Consider adding some small fountains, or if you have a small pond, fill it with floating decorations.

Put up a trellis

Create a central feature with an arch trellis. Decorate it with climbing vines, and hang other decorations from it to create a beautiful focal point.

Define spaces with outdoor furniture

Use outdoor furniture to define areas like the eating area and relaxing area, as well as the play area for the children. Outdoor rugs, pillows and throws are an easy way to make different areas feel inviting.

Gazebo in the garden lit up with fairy lights

Create a stunning centrepiece

If guests are eating around a table, make it stand out with a beautiful centrepiece comprising candles, fruit, homemade decorations, mason jars and more. Set it up and your guests will be delighted as soon as they set their eyes on it.

Prepare for After Dark

Your garden party doesn’t have to end when the sun sets, and you might even want to keep it going into the early hours of the morning. In fact, in the middle of summer, night is the time when the magic happens.

Lighting will be key after dark, so prepare in advance:

  • Fairy Lights – Set up fairy lights and hang them from trees and along walls. When you turn them on, they’ll instantly add a magical feel to the whole area.
  • Lanterns – There are many lantern styles to choose from, from rustic to modern. Hang them from tree branches and place them on the tables.
  • Candles – Position candles in jars on the tables and light them when darkness falls, or line pathways with candles for a romantic feel.

Group of young people having a party in the garden

As well as making sure there is enough light, you’ll also want your guests to stay warm. Even in the middle of summer, nights can be cool.

Have some blankets and throws handy so people can cosy up when they get cool. But you could also consider some form of outdoor heating.

This might involve renting a heater that people can sit under to stay warm. Even better, use an outdoor fireplace, which makes a great focal point after dark and people will naturally gravitate toward it when they feel cool.

This could be a natural fireplace like a fire pit that guests can sit around and cook marshmallows on. However, smoke can be a problem.

You could also consider a bioethanol fireplace instead. That way, you can enjoy the warmth and a natural flame but without the smoke. There are lots of styles to choose from, and they are easy to move indoors when the party’s over.

They may not give off quite as much heat as a chiminea or fire pit but they are an ideal focal and talking point for any garden party. Just be sure to keep anything flammable away from the flames' reach, allowing for any wind of course!

Black bioethanol fireplace next to a dinner table in the garden surrounded by greenery

Arrange the Entertainment

A summer garden party doesn’t always need entertainment, but it can certainly help. The type of entertainment you provide will depend on the type of party you’re hosting and who will be attending.

For example, for an afternoon party with lots of families and kids in attendance, summer garden party games are almost essential.

Put up a net to create a volleyball court, some outdoor foam blocks for younger kids, rent some equipment like a slide, or put up a swing to keep them happy.

Set up a table with paper and crayons or a box of artefacts like twigs and pinecones and encourage kids to create their own masterpieces. You could even plan a treasure hunt.

You might want games for adults too, so consider getting a croquet set or a frisbee. Or you could set up your own photo booth with props and backgrounds so people can capture fun memories of the day.

If you want some music, set up a music system so people can listen to music during the party. Depending on the size of the party, you could even hire a live band or a DJ.

Sort Out the Food and Drink

Any good garden party will involve at least some type of food and drink, but what you serve your guests will depend on the type of party you’re hosting.

Here are a few summer garden party food ideas to consider:

  • Cocktail Party – Set up a cocktail bar and place someone in charge of preparing drinks.
  • Tea Party – Serve tea and a selection of cakes on the main table.
  • BBQ – One of the easiest ways to keep everyone happy is to set up a BBQ and serve burgers, hotdogs and vegetarian options.
  • Buffet – This is another good option where everyone serves themselves from a selection of dishes.

Person pouring champagne in a glass in the garden

Make Your Guests Comfortable

Your focus should be on making sure your guests are comfortable. This means thinking about all the details and planning for any situation in advance.


Sunscreen is one of the summer garden party essentials to always have on hand. Buy some bottles of sunscreen if you will be outdoors in the sun. Even if there is shade, people will no doubt end up being in the sun at some point.

Insect repellent

Bothersome insects can ruin your garden party, so keep the bugs at bay with insect-repellent candles. You could also provide your guests with spray that they can apply.

Ensure there is plenty of shade

If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful sunny day, don’t let the sun ruin your party. No one wants to stand in the sun all afternoon, so ensure there is plenty of shade.

There may be some natural shade under a tree where you can set up some chairs and tables. Or you might have to set something up yourself, like a large umbrella or marquee that people can use when they want to escape the sun.

Prepare for rain

If it rains, you may want to cancel the party. But if you’re prepared, this might not be necessary, especially if there are only a few showers to watch out for.

Again, having some cover will be essential. A marquee is a great option because it’s simple to set up and provides somewhere for people to gather during the rain.

Have plenty of chairs

People should never have to struggle to find somewhere to sit down. They will be up meeting and greeting, but they want somewhere to rest too, so ensure they can always find a chair quickly.

Provide plenty of chairs, benches and even bean bags so everyone can find a place to sit.

Wooden chairs around a wooden table in the garden

Host a Summer Party to Remember

A garden party is the perfect way to celebrate the summer and enjoy spending time outdoors in good company. Outdoor parties require a bit more preparation, especially if you want your party to be remembered for all the right reasons.

Start planning your party well in advance of the date. Send out the invites weeks in advance, then start setting the scene. Most of the summer garden party ideas mentioned above won’t take long to get into place, but you should start early and give yourself plenty of time.

Then you can make sure everything is in place so that your guests can have a fantastic time at your summer garden party.