26 brilliant garden party ideas

Looking for glorious garden party ideas? From table settings and mood lighting to ways to keep warm, we've got all the inspiration you need to throw a special event

Want to impress your guests and throw a dazzling event to remember? These garden party ideas are just what you need. After all, with warmer weather, your outdoor space makes the perfect backdrop to host a special occasion.

Styling things up for a big (or small) do is tons of fun, whether it's introducing a new feature such as a garden bar for alfresco cocktails, or simply getting creative with garden decor ideas and tea lights for a chilled-out vibe. There are the practicalities to think about too, such as the best furniture for easy socializing, ways to keep warm, or even a space to cook the food. And don't forget about the entertainment!

There's lots to bear in mind, but we're here to help you on your way to party planning success.

(raquel arocena torres/Moment/Getty Images)
Create a photo zone for party memories

From selfies to group shots – you can be sure that they'll be a camera or two floating around at your next garden bash. So why not embrace it and help those memories last forever with a dedicated photo zone?

You could hang thrifted frames from tree branches, or create a stylish backdrop with an old decorated sheet (or even go for an on-trend flower wall if you're looking for something a little fancier).

And how about setting up a dress-up trunk nearby, full of hats, sunglasses, and other fun props? Position a handful of disposable cameras on a small table ready to be used. Then, you can enjoy the element of surprise when you develop them at a later date – the pictures will be priceless.

(Simon Scarboro/Future)
Accent place settings with fragrant lavender

If you already have lavender growing in your garden, you'll know that summer is the time where it really comes into its prime. Its gorgeous fragrance and purple hue will enchant any visitor. So why not bring it into your place settings when planning your garden party ideas?

Just a simple sprig on each plate, perhaps along with a stem or two of aromatic rosemary and tied with jute, is a small but charming touch. Continue the theme by a potted version as a centerpiece, then dot tea lights around for a romantic glow.

(Westend61/Getty Images)
Set up garden games

No matter your age, garden games are always a fun way to pass the time at parties. This is especially the case if there are teams and score boards involved (and perhaps a beer or two for the grown-ups!).

Piñatas, giant Jenga blocks, boules – there are plenty to choose from. And if you don't want to splash the cash, you can get creative making your own. A game of ring toss is simple to set up yet can provide hours of fun – all you need is some old glass bottles, a crate, and some hoops (you can make these out of rope secured with tape). Decorate them with durable spray or chalk paint for an extra dose of pizzazz.

(Graeme Ainscough/Future)
Make party favors for your guests with printed paper bags

Fabulous garden party ideas are all good and well, but to really make a lasting impression, consider putting together party favors for your guests to take home.

Get creative by printing colorful designs onto paper bags – it's a cheap and cheerful approach but will still be well-received. Then, fill with a small selection of goodies: crayons, sweets, jewellery, lip balms, or even mini bottles of toiletries or cocktails for adults.

Make them part of your party's decorations by hanging them up enticingly with string and pegs. It's an easy way to pep up your garden wall, and you can then hand them out easily as your guests leave.

(Graeme Ainscough/Future)
Try a blue and yellow palette

Picking a few complementary tones is a great way to theme your garden party ideas. A well-considered palette can totally transform a space.

Take this blue and yellow duo for instance – a wonderful combination for a summery bash. We especially love the combination of yellow roses and blue delphiniums alongside the traditional china.

Don't forget about napkins too. They're an easy yet elegant way to help dress the table, especially if you opt for fabric types with napkin rings. 'The prettiest silver rings can easily be found in antique shops or on online auction sites. Alternatively, tie the napkins with a ribbon and finish off the look with a little flower head slotted in,' says Paul Thomas-Jeffreys, Founder and Creative Director of Paul Thomas.

(Shaun James Cox/Paul Thomas)
Get creative with cocktails

Extra special drinks are a must-have for a successful garden party. And you can never go far wrong with an interesting menu of cocktails.

For a summer soirée, take inspiration from your surroundings and opt for a botanical theme. 'Why not decorate and flavor your cocktails using everything local and in season?' says Hannah Clegg, Founder of The Natural Hire Company for Kocktail. 'Edible flowers from the garden make a beautiful garnish for any drink, adding extra color and fun to the styling of your party.'

Fresh mint or even basil, both picked from your herb garden, also make well-loved additions to refreshing tipples.

Throw a classic tea party

Love the romantic charm of cottage garden ideas? Then consider throwing a quintessentially-English garden tea party.

Have a rummage through local thrift stores for vintage tableware – think teapots, sugar bowls, and tiered cake stands. Add a linen table cloth in a pastel hue (or opt for a delicate lace design), serve up a classic sponge and sandwiches, and don't forget plenty of sweetly-scented roses as a centerpiece.

(Polly Eltes/Future)
Recreate a holiday vibe

Singapore Sling anyone? Bring a touch of Raffles-style glamour to your patio ideas with a stylish plantation-style wicker bar set. That way, you can truly relax over chilled pre-dinner drinks as it will feel like being on holiday.

This set above is made of maintenance-free wicker and comes with four bar stools and a table. Plus, it has a removable ice bucket in the center for keeping your bottle of bubbly within arm's reach.

Add a swing seat so guests can unwind

Perfect for parties, garden swing seats is just the thing for catching up with a friend over a glass of something chilled. This one is made of on-trend macramé and we love the tassel trim, which adds just the right touch of boho.

Style it up with some cushions and a throw in case it gets chilly later.

(Not On The High Street)
Serve drinks in style

You can never have enough glasses at a party. Try mix and matching styles to give your set-up a more eclectic vibe.

This selection includes highball glasses and champagne saucers. Plus, there's a cocktail shaker for mixing up the mojitos, a gin cocktail jug with stirrer for summer's essential drink, and a cool art-deco-style ice bucket.

If you're doing cocktails and canapés, you'll need a big table to prep everything on, too. The weathered grey finish of this design adds a contemporary touch.

(John Lewis)
Opt for music and lights in one

Great if space is tight on a terrace or balcony, this combi speaker, light and powerbank for phone charging is a great multi-tasking gadget for the garden. It works via Bluetooth and plays up to 20 hours of music before it needs recharging.

What's more, the lantern has a dimming function for creating the right mood.

Cool drinks fast

Great for chilling down beers, a galvanized steel trough always looks good. It's also super-practical, as you can carry it to your preferred spot and relax rather than trekking to the fridge.

Instead of sticking it in the shed at the end of summer, why not turn it into a stylish herb garden for the windowsill?

(Garden Trading)
Pick a table with an integrated ice bucket

Want to go one step further? Opt for stylish garden tables that have an ice bucket built in. That way, you'll never have to break away from the party to grab a fresh bottle from indoors.

This sleek design makes a great addition to a relaxed evening with friends on the patio. And, for every-day use, the cover can be slotted back in to make more space.

Create a party vibe with balloons

Decorating your garden with some balloons adds an instant celebratory touch whatever the occasion. Choose clear ones that have been pre-filled with sparkly confetti for a stylish look.

Sticking to one design makes more of a statement and is a great way of dressing up an outdoor table.

(John Lewis)
Build atmosphere with lighting

Choose a selection of backyard party lighting to add that all-important glow at dusk – the evening garden needs lots of lights to get the right effect.

For the best results add layers of lighting at different heights. Start with tea lights in glass jars and hurricane lights at table height, then add festoon lights looped through the branches of shrubs, around pergolas or along fences.

(House Doctor)
Go for a laid-back party vibe

Create some magic with candles grouped together on the table to throw out some ambient light. Garden mirror ideas will pick up and enhance the flickering glow.

Add textured floor cushions or some bean bags and faux-fur throws for a chill-out vibe that will instantly transport you to your favorite holiday destination. Rooftop terrace in Morocco anyone?

(The White Company)
Make serving drinks a breeze

Create a dedicated space to prepare and serve drinks where you have everything you need without running back to the house.

Choose a design that's made of robust yet lightweight powder-coated aluminium. Not only is it shower-resistant but you can also move it around the patio if you need to. This outdoor kitchen bar above is designed to position alongside the BBQ and has plenty of space for drinks and accessories.

Party plan your space

If you're expecting a crowd you'll need plenty of occasional tables and butlers trays dotted here and there. After all, nothing's worse than having to nurse warm drinks as there's nowhere safe to put them down.

This foldaway ash wood table is ideal and – even better – it comes with all the glasses and dishes you'll need, plus an ice bucket. And, you can use the removable tray top to circulate drinks to your guests.

Serve up home-cooked pizzas

It's easy to recreate that authentic wood-fired taste with a pizza oven. This smart design above can also be used for grilling steaks and smoking food.

But, if you don't fancy doing it yourself, take a look at hiring a pizza oven for the weekend – you could even hire a chef for the evening, too.

Add a cozy cocoon for cooler evenings

Daybeds are good for evening get-togethers as they provide a snug retreat if things get chilly or if there's a sudden shower. Just add some lanterns to make it even cozier as you snuggle up.

This handwoven rattan one is fully waterproof and even has wine-proof cushions. Bliss!

Set the scene with spotlights

These glass blown outdoor lamps add a sophisticated touch to any outdoor space. Whether you choose to arrange them individually or grouped together they will add drama to the night time garden that's perfect for parties.

Warm things up with a patio heater

Patio heaters often get bad press due to their energy rating but this design above has zero emissions plus covers an area up to five meters. It can also be left outside all year-round as it's made from stainless steel and aluminium.

So, you can carry on partying in the garden however chilly the evening gets. There is also the option of waterproof Bluetooth speakers that fit neatly into the base.

Go luxe

The weather can have a habit of getting in the way of even the best laid party plans. But you can weatherproof your outdoor space to add protection from both showers and intense sunlight.

While a pop-up gazebo is a great budget option for infrequent use, if you want something more permanent, something like this design above is a great investment. It has tilting blades that let you decide exactly how much protection you need and can be installed free-standing or wall-mounted onto the back of your house.

(Garden Design)
Dress up a wall with ornate screens

These screens add a decorative note to enhance the party mood. You can also use them to divide up your garden according to your party needs.

Use them to create a chill-out zone, adding Moroccan themed cushions, some outdoor rugs, and lanterns.

(Screen with Envy)
Gather round a fire pit

Stylish fire pits are perfect for extending alfresco get-togethers late into the night. It also means you can carry on entertaining in the garden right into autumn.

The neat dimensions of this style make it a snug addition to small spaces.

Fire up the BBQ as part of your garden party ideas

If you're feeding a crowd, BBQs will make easy work of it. This style shown here has a large fire pit at the center and a tempered steel top plate for fast cooking Teppanyaki style food. And, it has a side table for easy prepping and a storage shelf below for barbecue tools and marinades, so you can keep everything you need on hand.

Another plus is that less smoke is produced as the base has been designed to direct airflow. Keep the fire stoked once the barbecue's over and everyone can keep partying till late.


Looking for glorious garden party ideas? From table settings and mood lighting to ways to keep warm, we've got all the inspiration you need to throw a special event.