20 of Our Most Beautiful Garden Party Ideas
Little Mary Lennox wasn't the only one enchanted by the idea of a secret garden. It's that time of year when the weather shifts to warm and breezy, the earth is green again, and the outdoors beckon to us from dwelling indoors. That means it's time to throw a garden party to which all of your friends and family are invited. We have over 25 years worth of ideas, befitting every occasion in the outdoors. Hosting a tea party? Bring out the guests' favorite blends, cucumber sandwiches, and set the table with your finest china. Hosting a baby shower or birthday party? Display centerpieces, cupcakes, and handmade favors on tiered stands. Hosting a more casual gathering? Round up the neighbors for a potluck in which everyone is encouraged to serve themselves generously, buffet-style.
Warm days and comfortably cool evenings are made for entertaining outside. This season, utilize your outdoor space with 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. For food and drink, keep the menu light and chockfull of the leafy greens found in your surroundings. Lemonade, herbal tea, and fruity sangria can be chilled and served by the bowlful.
Browse our best ideas, and step out into the sunshine.
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.
Cheers to the season! Bring the garden to your glass when you float edible flower blossoms in these blushing gin-and-grapefruit cocktails. Lillet Rose, a fortified-wine blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Muscatel, has the aroma of flowers and ripe berries—perfect for a springtime aperitif.
Citrus Garden Wreath
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.
Flowerpot Food Covers
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.
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.
Flower Vase Napkin Fold
At each guest's place setting, leave a cup of freshly picked flowers wrapped in a cloth napkin. They can use the napkin during the sit-down meal, then take home their blooms at the end of the evening.
Comfortable seating is important for a 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.
Sunflower Cupcake Cake
Make any outdoor party 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.
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, these flowers make the perfect arrangement for a backyard soirée.
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.
Summer Fruit Sangria
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.
Blooming Flower Letters
Made with foam letters, this bright floral decoration is lightweight enough to hang from the trees or even float in a nearby pool. Make a monogram for the guest of honor or craft a greeting for all of the guests.
Martha's Extra-Lemony Lemonade
Lemon in the juice, fresh slices, and a syrup cooked with the rinds provides the wonderfully thirst-quenching flavor for this drink. Sweeten with sprigs of mint and add a spirit if you like, or enjoy it as a nonalcoholic refresher.