Garden party season is here!
I’m counting down the days until we can welcome groups of friends and family into our gardens and onto our patios for food, drink, lots of conversation - and not a Zoom call in sight.
I confess to feeling a little out of practice when it comes to socialising though. So I’m focusing on making my outdoor space an inviting and comfortable oasis for my guests; to put them at ease and get us all back into the swing of things!
Set the scene
The word ‘garden’ has its roots in the concept of being "enclosed". You can create a sense of refuge and escape from the outside world by adding garden features with height.You might use obelisks, or other planting supports, with sweet peas or morning glory. Use existing trees, hedges and walls to create inviting nooks. String fairy lights through trellis or arches, and maximise the feeling of height with low-level seating, like outdoor bean bags or a scattering of outdoor floor cushions.
In smaller gardens, where your space needs to work harder, I like to be able to move things around to suit the occasion. Perhaps plant your obelisks in pots – just don’t make them too big and heavy! At Armadillo Sun, I specifically designed our bean bag furniture to be lightweight and portable so it's easy to move and re-arrange – whether that’s to create different moods, chase the sun around the garden, or follow the flow of conversation.
Define different seating areas to draw guests into zones within your garden. People tend to want to cluster together in smaller groups. Older kids in a family also appreciate their own sense of space!
You might use a pergola or gazebo to define a dining-type area with a table and chairs, or drinks trolley. Then a bean bag lounger with a pretty parasol becomes an intimate spot for a catch-up and gossip. Even in a small space, it’s possible to arrange at least two seating areas with a small bench or a couple of garden pouffes. Don’t forget, if you have one, to make use of your front garden too – we’re all a lot more accustomed to bringing a deck chair out onto the street these days!
Adopt an inside-out vibe
Over the last few years outdoor spaces have become an extra room, with outdoor kitchens, garden bars – even inflatable hot tubs – increasingly in demand. Embrace the inside-out with outdoor rugs, a chiminea fireplace, and garden furniture in soft textiles. Many modern fabrics resist the British weather well, allowing you to create a cosy living-room in your garden with a comfy sofa and weatherproof cushions – long-gone are the days of cold, clunky, rusting patio chairs!
A place to plonk your plonk!
Don’t forget to set-up surfaces in your garden to avoid people juggling plates, drinks and cutlery. A portable outdoor coffee table will keep your G&T safe, or an outdoor ottoman will double up as an extra place to sit. I also like using logs for a rustic look (just make sure they're not wobbly), and a large upturned terracotta pot can work well too.
Add warmth with colour
There are so many options to add colour to your outdoor space now – and that’s without even thinking about the flowers! Right now, I’ve found it to be bright and fiery orange that is grabbing people’s attention. They’ve been choosing outdoor cushions in orange and navy stripe; loungers in retro orange patterns; and a more subtle pumpkin for throws.
Orange certainly looks fabulous against a green backdrop and injects joy and warmth, whatever the capricious nature of our spring weather might be!
Do you have garden party plans? Make sure you've covered these five steps to prep your patio. If you're thinking about a BBQ, I've got some BBQ tips to keep it stress-free. Let me know what you are planning, and have fun!
Armadillo Sun are specialists in outdoor bean bag furniture. Each piece is made by Caroline in her workrooms in Kent and carefully designed to blend style with durability. Follow Armadillo Sun on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.