21 of Our Most Beautiful Garden Party Ideas

Watercolor paint garden party
Kristy Rice

Little Mary Lennox wasn't the only one enchanted by the idea of a secret garden. When the weather shifts to warm and breezy, the earth is green again, and the outdoors beckon to us from our indoor dwellings, you have the perfect excuse to throw an intimate garden party. Choose a day, invite a small group of friends and family members over (COVID-guidelines permitting), and get ready to enjoy a safe, socially-distant afternoon in the open air. We have over 25 years' worth of ideas, befitting every occasion in the outdoors.

Hosting a small tea party? Bring out the guests' favorite blends, cucumber sandwiches, and set the table with your finest china. Celebrating a baby shower or backyard birthday party? Go all out and display centerpieces, décor, and more on tiered stands—even if some guests still need to attend virtually, the details won't go unnoticed.

Warm days and comfortably cool evenings are made for entertaining outside. To better utilize your outdoor space, make sure you have comfortable seating and shaded canopies. When decorating, consider what will withstand in the elements—rain or shine: moss, galvanized metal, ceramics and stoneware, herbs, and fresh flowers. Herbs and fruit trees are always ripe for the picking in your backyard, so gather them into a pitcher centerpiece that guests can forage from themselves. A pretty mix of garden roses, ranunculus, sweet peas, and anemones always look resplendent in cups and bowls. Even the smallest decorations serve double-duty at the table: napkin holders, drink trays, and food covers to keep the pests at bay.

As for food and drink, keep the menu light and delicious. Lemonade, herbal tea, and fruity sangria can be chilled and served by the bowlful, too. Browse our best backyard party ideas, then step out into the sunshine.

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Linen-Covered Pot s

flower print linen pots and bag
Ryan Liebe

You can dress up just about anything for a backyard party, and that includes your prized plants. Floral-themed linens can accent flowerpots to make every aspect of your festivities fresh and in season.

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Flower-Filled Cocktails


Raise a glass to the season! For a truly inspired sip, we love the idea of floating edible flower blossoms in your cocktails, like this blushing combination of gin-and-grapefruit. Lillet Rose, a fortified-wine blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Muscatel, has the aroma of flowers and ripe berries—perfect for a springtime aperitif.

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Citrus Garden Wreath

sweet laurel retreat hanging orange wreath
Claire Thomas

Decorative fruit and flowers are nothing new, but together they create outdoor decorations ideal for relaxed summer entertaining. Craft cut flowers and citrus with sparse greenery on a natural twig base, and let it swing freely from a length of sisal rope.

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Sugared-Flowered Doughnuts

sugared flowered doughnuts
Ryan Liebe

Want something sweet and eye-catching to serve for dessert? Look no further than these sugared-flowered doughnuts. While this edible design can top any confection of your choosing, we think these individual glazed treats are both adorable and COVID-friendly.

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Herb-Cheese Palmiers


A classic French pastry gets the savory treatment with Parmesan, cheddar, and your choice of fresh herbs. Form them by folding up a sheet of puff pastry and then cutting it into thin slices.

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Flower Vase Napkin Fold

A napkin styled as a vase holds a bouquet of spring flowers.
Janelle Jones

At each place setting, leave a cup of freshly picked flowers wrapped in a cloth napkin. An intimate group of guests can use the napkin during the sit-down meal, then take home their blooms at the end of the evening.

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Outdoor Cushions

tufted bench cushions
Lennart Weibull

Comfortable seating is important for a small and successful garden party, whether guests are lounging under the sun canopy poolside or under the stars at twilight. For an added artisanal touch, wind yarn into a knot for the buttons on each cushion.

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Herb Centerpiece

Aaron Dyer

When herb gardens overflow with more than is needed in any kitchen, why not use the extra yield in a fragrant centerpiece? Mix shapes and textures, and add color with edible flowers and herb blossoms. This arrangement, which includes mint, spicy chives, lavender, and rosemary, sits in a high-sided vessel.

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Sunflower Cupcake Cake


Make any socially distanced celebration more memorable with this mighty cake in the shape of a sunflower. A small round cake topped with berries sits at the center. Mini cupcakes, frosted in three sunny shades of yellow, make up the petals. Everyone can grab their own serving without touching the rest of the dessert.

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Poppies Centerpiece

Ditte Isager

This bouquet of blooming poppies—cut from the garden and tucked into a vase alongside a rosy-colored treats and drinks—is lively and serene. With their regal reds and rose pinks, wispy whites and flushed creams, this backyard idea makes the perfect arrangement for a small soirée.

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Proper Toppers

food tents
Pernille Loof

The dishes in your backyard deserve prettier bug protection than aluminum foil. These mesh and woven tents by Amanda Lindroth are an elegant fix: They keep bees and flies out while elevating any barbecue.

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Choose a crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, and mix in orange liqueur, fresh ginger, lemon juice, basil, or mint leaves. Then, add your choice of summer fruits, such as pineapple, cantaloupe, and apricots. This refreshing white sangria can be prepared up to a day in advance.

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Blooming Flower Letters

diy floral monogram step 4
Olivia Anton

Made with foam letters, this bright floral decoration is lightweight enough to hang from the trees or even float in a nearby pool. Use this backyard idea to make a monogram for the guest of honor or craft as a greeting.

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Martha's Extra-Lemony Lemonade

glass pitcher of lemonade with mint leaves and sliced lemons
Mike Krautter

Lemon juice, fresh slices, and a syrup made by cooking the rinds provides the wonderful thirst-quenching flavor for this drink. Liven it up with sprigs of mint and add a spirit if you like, or enjoy it as a nonalcoholic refresher.

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Terra-Cotta Napkin Rings

terracotta dinnerware

Napkin rings can oftentimes be forgotten, but these sun-kissed terra-cotta iterations will make your tableware stand out like never before. Plus, this DIY project is made purely of no-bake, air-dry clay—which means no-fuss decorating.

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Rolled Hem Napkins

edged cloth napkins orange blue stripes folded

Some of the best backyard party decorating ideas come in the form of mixed patterns. These rolled hem napkins offer just that, and they also add a modern feel to your tablescape thanks to the variety of linens.

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Flowerpot Food Covers

Raymond Hom

Flowerpots aren't only for flowers. With their sturdy impenetrable material, they're also cleverly used to protect dips and other dishes from party-crashing insects. Create a handle by cutting an 18-inch length of 1/4-inch cord and knotting the ends together. Thread the looped end through the drain hole in the flowerpot.

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Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail
Thomas Loof

Take it from Martha: Shrimp cocktail is an easy, elegant appetizer for entertaining. Serve yours alongside homemade cocktail sauce for a bite everyone—whether your kids or your best friends—will love.

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Drop Cloth Decorating

Our backyard party ideas are all meant to accent the beauty of mother nature. A hammock will allow you to do this and more at your garden party. Simply attach this lounging accessory to a pair of trees and let comfort commence.

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Charcuterie Board

Jenna Saraco

An array of cured meats and cheeses can set the stage for an unforgettable backyard party with a few friends and family members. A charcuterie board also includes toasted breads and jams to suit any palate without making anyone too full before the main course.

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Canvas Umbrella

canvas umbrella
Pernille Loof

If you're hosting a small backyard get-together, odds are that the sun is out, and the weather is at its best. But if the heat is getting a little too intense, an umbrella can easily remedy this issue. Choose one made of sturdy canvas that'll last for seasons to come.

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