Thursday, 21 September 2017

Outdoor Entertaining for the Seasons Ahead

As the last remnants of the summer sun slowly fade away, you may be considering saying goodbye to your garden until springtime comes around. But before you put the gas BBQ in storage, hang up your tongs and stash away your patio furniture, ask yourself this: are you selling your outdoor space short? Autumn and Winter bring with them some of the most fun and special occasions for us to enjoy with family and friends. There’s also a myriad of spectacular changes in nature that really deserve to be appreciated close up. So, don’t let the colder weather put you off spending time in your outdoor space during the seasons ahead! Now’s the time to start adding social events to your calendar and scheduling some seasonal parties to remember.
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Prepping your space
During the summer months, flowers and foliage can provide a convenient colourful backdrop for garden based events, while the later sunsets make chatting into the small hours a welcome possibility. From Autumn onwards, you may need to be a little more creative with your decor and put some planning into providing the warmth and light needed for this type of thing. But, with a little extra effort, you’ll often be rewarded with an occasion that feels extra special thanks to the seasonal magic in the air.

Rather than packing items like garden furniture away, think about investing in good quality weatherproof covers. If you usually store your BBQ away for winter, this year make sure you keep it in an easy to access spot instead, this way you can fire it up for al fresco autumn/winter dining!

The weather in the UK from September onwards is changeable at best, so before you start booking dates in your diary and sending out invites, you may want to put some contingency measures in place too. A fire pit or chimnea will keep you cosy when drinks and chats with friends carry on into the night and a stash of soft and snuggly blankets can bring a welcome helping of hygge to any occasion. When it comes to dressing the scene, remember that fairy lights aren’t just for the Christmas tree - they look great in the garden too. Use outdoor lights to brighten trees, hedges and benches and add a little sparkle.

To ensure you have all your bases covered, whatever the weather, you could invest in a temporary outdoor structure such as your very own glamping worthy garden yurt. Or, make it even easier to bid a hasty retreat indoors when the weather turns with bi-fold doors that allow you to enjoy the best views in comfort. Slim-styled bifolding doors with bigger glass panes let you take in more of that firework or Christmas lights display.

Outdoor occasions for your diary
Once you’ve got the basics for all-weather outdoor entertaining in place, it’s time to plan in some parties to be proud of. Here are just a few upcoming occasions that can be made extra memorable when celebrated in the open air.  

Halloween

According to Mintel, we Brits spent £310 million pounds on Halloween last year, with much of that budget taken up on the cost of fancy dress, party decorations and themed food and drink. Why not host your own spooktacular event al fresco this year? Ask your guests to bring their own carved pumpkin, settle round the firepit to tell ghost stories and serve up warming drinks fresh from your cauldron.

Bonfire Night

Is there anything better than a Bonfire Night barbecue? There’s something rather fitting about tucking into bangers and burgers as fireworks sound their own whooshes and bangs. If you don’t fancy putting on a full firework display in your own garden, you could keep it simple with sparklers and sit back and enjoy the explosions elsewhere in the sky. Don’t forget the hot chocolate and marshmallows, and practice your sparkler writing for those insta-worthy photos too!


Christmas

You don’t have to go all out with Christmas decorations galore to bring seasonal greetings to your garden. A Christmas garland here and a string of lights there can give a subtle nod to the season and set the scene for nature itself to dress the occasion. You may not be guaranteed a White Christmas if you plan a Christmas garden party and you’ll certainly need to wrap up warm, but think how festive you could feel. Singing a few carols outside with a mulled wine or two is certainly a great way to put colour in your cheeks.

New Year

If you’re planning on hosting a New Year’s Eve bash, why not prepare your outdoor space ready for the event? When the New Year chimes in, many of us like to head outdoors to celebrate. A garden Ceilidh could reduce the level of post party cleaning up required and lessen concerns about breakages caused by tipsy guests. You could put on a mini firework display as you sing Auld Lang Syne, though it’s advised you stay clear of the Chinese Lanterns that have become popular in recent years. Instead, why not share some sparklers or light a candle or two?


Are you a fan of a garden party come rain or shine? If you’ve hosted outdoor events for the occasions above, please share styling and activity tips you’ve loved below.
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