Sometimes, our outdoor space can be our biggest asset. Planning the perfect party garden is easy with a few pointers. It’s a tightrope, getting it right between an intimate space suitable for most of the year, but adaptable enough that it can become a magical destination for all your friends and family. Living in the UK, making provision for lighting and weather is critical.
It seems the most obvious thing, but getting garden lighting right is crucial. We spend more time interacting with our garden from the inside than the outside, so even when not in party mode, to be able to view your garden at night is essential. Consider highlighting any features you have in the space such as a specimen tree, water feature, feature wall or a screen. These are best uplighted. The areas where you choose to congregate, opt for several lights, spotlights (ideally placed on a wall or post ) to provide enough illumination to eat by. And then supplement with mood lighting such as storm lanterns or fairy lights. This will create atmosphere and cosy up the space.
Colour can be exciting. Use a feature wall, or a series of brightly coloured planters to draw attention to the space during the colder months. By adding blocks of colour you are less reliant on the planting or foliage to come up trumps. Using colour in this way can also be changed periodicly should you so wish. Combined with good lighting, colour will make the party go with a swing.
Nothing is quite as nostalgic as scented garden plants. Consider what you have around the seating areas, or on the journey to the seating areas. Nothing is quite as lovely as a heady evening sent of blossom. Use climbing plants to ramp up the fence up over at archway entrance to the space. Plant in succession so you have scent throughout the year. Plants to consider are:
Make sure you include some fabulous sitting in the garden. I am a big fan of garden sofas as I think that most people prefer to “sit soft” to relax. Try and make some provision in the party garden for both dining and lounging in the space if possible. Consider occasional seating such as foldable stalls or beanbags. Create raised beds, with deep edging on top that would allow for occasional seating at large-scale events. Create lots of perches, and areas to lounge.
Mix up materials
By mixing up materials, you add depth to the space. Suddenly it becomes exciting with a myriad of texture. Make a series of opposites, rough with smooth, spikey and soft, matt and shiny. Consider adding things that you don’t normally see in the garden. It will add a real ‘pow’ to the party garden space.
Hide out in the garden
Make it playful. Let people become children again. Create a hideout at the bottom of the garden, maybe it can’t be viewed from the main house. Make it secret. Create cosy nooks and secret spaces. Allow people to feel like they are in a den again. Allowing an adult to become a child like again is one of the most exciting, memorable things you can do. Play up to it.
Create a focus
In this party garden, the focus is the central coffee table. Equally it could be a hot tub, water feature, fire pit or dining table. It is important that you tell the visitors to the party garden where you would like them to congregate. Create a route through the garden, a journey to an end result that punctuates the space. It needs to tell them that they have arrived at the destination. It needs to tell them that it is okay to stop here and hang out. You may have two or three areas like this in a larger garden. Fire in the form of the fire pit of fireplace is a perfect example of how you might use this.