Want to Host a Summer Garden Party? Set the Scene!

Spring is here, the trees are budding, and irises, tulips, daffodils, and other spring bloomers are pushing through the dirt. There’s beauty in all the season changes, but there’s something extra special about watching life emerge after a long, cold Midwest winter. It’s time to celebrate, and there’s no better way to do that than by gathering outdoors with your loved ones. Start planning your summer garden party with these helpful tips!

What’s your garden party style?

Planning a garden party can seem daunting at first. It’s helpful to start by determining what type of garden party you want to host. Perhaps you envision a large, formal, elaborate party. Or maybe a quaint, casual garden party is more your cup of tea. (Pardon the pun!) Do you want to create a whimsical experience for your guests, transporting them into a fairy tale? Or maybe you want to keep your party minimalist. There’s no right or wrong garden party vibe. All you need is an outdoor space + decor + food and beverages. Make it what you want it to be! And whatever you do, don’t stress. The idea is to have fun, kick back, relax, and soak in the season with family and friends!

Clean up your lawn and gardens.

Once you decide to throw a garden party, cleaning up your lawn and gardens is the first order of business. No one wants to host a garden party in an overgrown, unkempt garden…just like you don’t want to host a dinner party in a dirty, disheveled house. And, since you’re already embarking on your spring yard clean-up, this shouldn’t mean any extra yard work.

Here are a few tips for your spring yard clean up:

  • Weed and prune. As soon as your perennials begin to germinate, so do the weeds. Pull or dig up unsightly weeds before they rob your plants of nutrients and start to spread. Prune shrubs, bushes, and trees, removing dead shoots and branches. They’ll thank you with fuller, healthier growth and a well-manicured appearance.
  • Edge your gardens and walkways. Nothing will give you that clean, crisp look like edging. Don’t own an edger? Rent one from your local rental store. Edging is fast, and rental is cheap! You may even be able to rent an edger by the hour or for a half day.
  • Refresh your mulch. After a winter burrowed under the snow, mulch tends to fade, flatten, and decompose. Adding a fresh layer of mulch around your plants is multi-purpose: It helps them retain moisture so they don’t wilt in the heat and it makes your greenery and colorful flowers pop. 
  • Treat for pests. You’d hate to put in all the time and effort to create a beautiful garden party only to get eaten alive by mosquitos or worry about ticks. Plan ahead! Many pest control companies offer one-time sprays for special events.

Think through your seating options.

There are dozens of ways to seat your backyard guests! For example, you can keep it simple and use your patio table and chairs. Just give them a good power washing first! Do you have a picnic table with bench seating? This is a great option and is more compact for smaller spaces. Or save space and utilize an outdoor couch and chairs for both eating and relaxing afterward. If you’re planning a big bash, create a couple smaller seating areas away from the main gathering space for private conversations.

Soften the scene by draping a few blankets over the furniture. Then toss in cushions and throw pillows that coordinate with your color scheme. If your party goes into the twilight or nighttime hours, guests will love settling under a blanket or grabbing a blanket and pillow and gathering around the fire. 

Get creative with lighting.

Add evening ambiance by stringing up globe lights in the trees, across your patio, or under your pergola. Or consider putting rechargeable portable lamps on your tables and food prep surfaces. Want to keep it simple and save on cost? Fill terra cotta pots with sand and candles. They’re adorable during daylight hours and as the sun begins to set, guests can grab the matches on the table and light their candles. Even though they won’t produce much practical light, filling mason jars with twinkling fairy lights can be a magical addition to your primary post-sunset lighting. Also, don’t neglect walkway lighting for the safety of your guests!

Plan for the elements. 

Consider hanging an umbrella or parasol on the back of each guest’s chair. It’s perfect protection from the hot summer sun and will ensure guests stay dry if a sun shower passes through. Plus, they make a fun seasonal party favor!

As the day of your party gets closer, rain may be all but guaranteed. Don’t despair! A garden party under a large canvas tent can be just as enchanting—or even more so—especially with the pitter-patter of rain on the roof. Have a tent on reserve at your local rental center in case you need it last minute. If you end up moving forward with tent rental, string up globe lights, lanterns, and cascading plants for a truly memorable event. 

Incorporate meaningful details into your garden party.

When you’re planning your summer garden party, think of the big details like the ice cream in your sundae. Without them, there’s no party! Your main details are the stars of the show! But don’t overlook small, meaningful details. Everyone likes toppings on their sundae…so surprise your guests with some unique offerings!

  • Tie a piece of seasonal greenery onto your guests’ napkins. 
  • Use plantable seed paper for your place cards. 
  • Implement a sideboard as a serving surface for a fanciful touch. 
  • Incorporate chalkboard signage to label food, beverages, utensils, lawn games, etc. 
  • Pot plants or arrange cut flowers and place them down the center of your tables. Then, at the end of your party, surprise guests and let them know they can choose a pot or flower arrangement to take home!

If the change of seasons is getting you in the mood to plan your summer garden party, or you’re excited to host a Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, or wedding celebration, McDonough can help! Reach out to us here to discuss your lawn and garden needs, or give us a call at 651.755.7901.

Posted in Blog.