How to create an outdoor party space in your back garden

words Al Woods

If the weather permits, nothing beats a party outdoors, but knowing how to decorate a bland back garden is something of an art.

We’ve got all the tips you need to make it simple and cost-effective, so how can you transform your little slice of the great outdoors?

outdoor party space

Take the weather into account

A sunny morning can quickly turn into a miserable afternoon, but there are steps you can take to negate the rain. A retractable side awning is a fantastic option, allowing you to simply stow it away when not in use. Neater than makeshift parasols and comparably stylish to fashionable sail shades, a retractable awning gives you cover when you need it and access to the sun when you want.

Decorate the trees

Paper lanterns won’t break the bank but will add beautiful pops of colour and interest to your garden. You can stick to a prescribed colour scheme or go wild with every shade available – and best of all, they can be recycled afterwards. Clip LED tea lights inside for a day-to-night display that will wow your guests, and if you’re feeling really fancy, tie tassels or pom-poms to them, too.

Lighting is key

Lighting can be the difference between a nice garden party and a spectacular one that continues on into the evening. Solar globe lights, strung from your house and up into hedges and trees look incredible, cost nothing to run and add a naturally festive ambience that is impossible to capture with anything else. A well-timed fire-pit ignition won’t go amiss, either.

outdoor party space

Dive into the drinks

The days of expecting guests to go into the kitchen to retrieve a drink are well and truly over, so get on board with the oversized ice-bath technique. You can pick up vintage tin baths pretty cheaply, or DIY the whole project with a large plastic storage tub clad in rustic wood. When complete, just fill with ice and cold water before submerging all of our drinks. Guests can dip in and out as they please, and it will make a stylish garden centrepiece.

Freshen up any paint

If your fence panels have seen better days, give them a coat of paint and revive them. You don’t have to go crazy, but if you fancy changing things up, we can highly recommend choosing a pastel shade that will make it feel like summer all year round. Sage green and grey-blue work very well and are easy to find in external wood varieties.

Include a quiet zone

Don’t forget about the perpetual kitchen dwellers who always attend parties. Create a quiet and relaxed corner somewhere in your garden designed for more peaceful conversations by including seating, blankets and maybe some heating. It’s important to cater for the introverts as well as the more exuberant attendees.

Set the table

It might not be a formal dining table, but if you are hosting a meal outside, get creative with your table decorations. Floral centrepieces will need to complement your wider garden, linens should be eye-catching, and if you even consider plastic cutlery, you should take a break and consider bamboo utensils if you favour disposable pieces.

An outdoor party space needs to capture a mood, ambience and be ready for anything that the wonderfully unreliable British weather can throw at it. Aside from taking care of these elements, your guests will make it really come alive, so don’t be afraid to delegate creating the ultimate playlist to a trusted attendee while you make sure the solar lights are fully charged!


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