How to throw a garden party

The quintessentially British summer rain may temporarily dampen your spirits, but don’t let it spoil the whole season. A rambling garden or cosy balcony provides the right backdrop for a fabulous garden party, helping you make the most of sunny days and balmy nights with friends under the open sky. While an al fresco setting easily creates a laid-back atmosphere, your garden party can be as casual or formal as you fancy. Whether hosting a birthday evening or Sunday brunch, a few distinctive decorations and strategically placed seasonal flowers will conjure up a distinctive summer spread.

Here are our top tips on how to throw a garden party.


Five friends are invited but seven show up – the ultimate hostess dilemma! Avoid stress by improvising with a few ‘DIY’ glasses. These can be easily created by refashioning your clean jam or honey jars into glasses, accommodating for any extra guests and bringing a sweet, homemade touch to the table.


If your garden party takes place on the balcony, chances are you will be short on space. Skip the sprawling floral arrangements – you are already outside, after all – and instead bring summer to the table with seasonal blooms. Dot individual flowers around the table in small vessels or position the stems to peek out from underneath bowls and plates.


Bring a playful touch to the table by mix and matching designs. An assortment of vintage plates look great placed on top of contrasting place mats and coaster sets – try working with three or so key colours to unite the overall look and feel. For a unique placeholder we recommend using washi tape: a removable Japanese masking tape made from wood pulp, typically created in sweet colours and designs. Stick a piece around a flower stem or piece of cutlery to create a tiny makeshift flag and write the guest’s name on each.


Light salads are essential for your garden party menu, if only to escape excessive time in a hot kitchen preparing an elaborate meal. It needn’t be boring: make your salad stand out with the delicious combination of savoury and sweet, mixing watermelon and feta cheese or strawberry and mint for a taste sensation.