You can feel it; the sun is setting later. The air feels warmer. The smell of fresh cut grass lingers in the air.
Yep, you got it – it’s almost that time of year to get outside and celebrate the weather. And nothing says summer like a good old fashioned garden party!
And while sprucing up your outdoors might FEEL like a mammoth task, sometimes all it takes is a little willpower (and a free Sunday).
We have teamed up with social media superstar and homes influencer Lisa Dawson to give you inspiration for creating an entertaining extravaganza at your home this summer (watch her full outside transformation video below!)
Whether you’re blessed with ample outdoor space or are working with a smaller area, these eight budget-friendly tips will help you transform your outdoor space into an extension of your home – and get it ready for barbecues, lazy days and summer soirees…
VIDEO HERE*** Influencer Lisa Dawson shares her top tips for making your garden the place to party this summer
1) Light it up
Ain’t no party like a garden party! But when the sun goes down, you want to ensure that the fun keeps going.
Lighting is key for this element of entertaining outside. Not only will it shine a light on your outside space, but it will create much-needed ambiance for your evening.
Solar lighting is a great solution that can easily add to the atmosphere and is super simple to set up. Also, outdoor lanterns and candles can help you create a magical vibe on a more decorative level.
Why not try something like this Black Solar Powered LED Mini Lantern(£7 at B&Q)? Hang it on a hook if you have a balcony or a tree if you have them in your garden and brighten up your evening gatherings.
2) Cook up a storm
Who can forget the all important BBQ?
The smell of sizzling goes hand-in-hand with summer and every good garden party should start with some delicious grub on the grill.
For something simple and stylish (and that can be easily moved around your outside space) try the Rockwell 210 charcoal BBQ (was £127, now £100 at B&Q).
Catering for up to eight people, you can serve up a feast of bangers and burgers or perhaps grill some fresh swordfish for a special evening for two.
Top tip for getting your grill fired up; wait until the charcoal goes completely white to ensure the best cooking temperature (it takes about 5-10 minutes for the coals to get to high heat and around 25-30 minutes to get to medium heat).
So get that fire (and party) started.
3) Take a seat
Depending on what you envision for your outside space, you can create something very unique in no time. Have you been inspired by your recent travels? Are you in love with the iconic blues of Santorini or the exquisite style of Morocco? Well, bring them to your garden.
And picking your furniture can be an essential part of pulling off the look – and making an inviting space for relaxing in or an al fresco space is essential. Go for something like the Denia 4 Seater Coffee Set (£342 at B&Q). It’s stylish and it brings the indoors outside – perfect for hosting friends and family over a weekend – or just plonking yourself down at with a good book.
For more of an idea on what type of set up would work for your outside space, check out this handy B&Q guide to garden furniture.
4) Create a chill out zone
Think of your outside area as another room or an extension of your home – and don’t be afraid to accessorise with an outdoor rug and some pillows to add an extra level of comfort.
This is a massive trend for 2019 – to accessorise with layers of textiles including throws in wool and cotton to create the feel of a lounge. These small additions can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your space, and can be easily folded away at the end of your gathering.
Warm neutrals are favourites for this summer, so try adding fashionable extras like Rural Mango Seat Cushions (£9 at B&Q), the Cocoon Tasseled Throw (£17 at B&Q), and the Blooma Birch and Sesame Twill Outdoor Rug (£18 at B&Q) to your brand new chill zone.
5) Throw some shade
While we try to make the most of the sun, it’s not a good idea to sit in it all day. Also, let’s be honest, our weather is a little unpredictable sometimes.
The solution? Throw some shade – literally. A shaded area is a perfect place for your guests to relax in the midday sun.
Pick a spot with a good view of your haven and consider a colourful sail to match your cushions, or even a gazebo so that your party doesn’t have to be rained off even if there’s a spot of the British drizzle.
6) Light that fire
Let’s face it, once the sun goes down, you quickly start remembering you’re in the UK! So, as the temperature drops, make sure you have something to keep your guests warm.
Chimeneas and firepits are a great way of continuing the party without catching a chill. Just imagine relaxing with your pals under the stars! Thankfully, they won’t break the bank either and depending on whether you fancy an old school design or something more modern, there’s something for you at B&Q.
Cardinal rule of chimeneas? Always ensure they are placed on a flat, fireproof surface like a patio.
7) Get some privacy
Sometimes it’s nice to have a little privacy. But no need to get a bricklayer in; you can create zones or an al fresco dining area with clever fencing or striking decorative panels.
B&Q’s Neva Fencing & Screening will look great and its chic yet simple style makes it amazingly versatile, so you can mix, match and build with it to your fancy. If you’re looking for more inspiration, click here.
Zoning your outside area is a great way to utilise it for entertaining; create a small area for dining, another for sitting and chatting and another for fun and frolics – like having your own built-in bar.
This Porak Wooden 2 Seater Bar (£220 at B&Q) is the perfect addition for the serious party host – and is a great talking and gathering point for your guests.
8) Flowers in bloom
Treat yourself to some beautiful flowers for your garden, whether you fancy an array of colours or scented flowers, you can choose low-maintenance plants to bring your treasured oasis to life.
Think about planting herbs, like low-maintenance lavender, rosemary and sage for a beautiful and aromatic environment.
This time of year is also good for bedding plants, and you can add florals to whatever sized space you have with planters, hanging baskets or decorative pots (B&Q have a huge range on offer online here).
For more advice on how to plant flowers, visit this amazingly detailed guide from B&Q.
Now, all you have to do now is get outside and party!
Outside oasis! How to get your space garden-party ready with Lisa Dawson
Lisa Dawson has amassed a huge following on social media thanks to her amazing home inspo posts. Here, the influencer reveals her must-dos for bossing garden-party season this year.
Get in the zone
If you have the space, it’s great to have a separate seating and dining area but often this isn’t possible. If this is the case, go for a more solid dining set that has more of a lounger style seat. If you have a bigger garden, creating cosy corners with relaxed seating can work well. Making the most out of what you have is the most important thing.
Optimising smaller spaces
Think about what you will mostly be using the garden for and look for furniture which can be multi tasked for this purpose. Make the most of the indoor/outdoor concept – use floor cushions and beanbags perhaps for extra seating that can be used within your home as well as in your garden and therefore don’t need lots of storage space. Painting the space can also make a huge difference – try a fence paint to give the area an entirely different look.
Heat is cool this summer
Firepits and chimineas are super popular and add the warmth that we are often lacking in the evenings here in the UK. And bringing the inside out is a trend that will keep on giving; last year we set up an outdoor bar for the night. I’m sure we’ll be doing that this year too!
Set the scene for your soirees
Adorn your table with greenery from your own garden, bright tableware and pretty napkins; bring out lots of cushions and throws for when the night gets chilly. Bring out a small table or a tea trolley to transform into a cool outdoor bar and light the firepit for extra warmth. Light the BBQ, turn on the summer tunes and you’re all done.
For more amazing transformation advice, check out Lisa’s video for B&Q above…