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After many months of Wintery grey skies, it’s time to open up the house, get back outside and prepare for a Summer of entertaining. And with the festive season also upon us, whilst you are preparing your outdoor space for Summer, why not add an extra touch of cheer!
Here are some tips to help you kick-start your outdoor home entertaining plans and incorporate a festive touch.
Tidy up your outside space
After cooler months spent indoors, your outdoor spaces will need some love. Clean down any outdoor furniture and surfaces such as tables and benchtops, and give cushion covers a good wash. Replace any worn cushions and give the space a quick update with some new low-cost pops of colour. During your festive celebrations try adding in a few festive-inspired coloured cushions or designs to complement the space that can easily be stored once the celebrations are over.
Make sure the rest of your entertainment space is in tip-top condition by washing down the sides of the house and decking with a high-pressure hose and cleaning the windows inside and out. Check the barbecue for signs of built-up grease and the creepy crawlies, and give it a thorough scrub or even a steam clean ready for the months ahead.
Ensure your plants are ready for the heat by giving them a prune and some fertiliser to keep them in shape. Attend to the lawn and edges and top up any garden beds so the garden is looking refreshed. Foliage and flowers can be used to create simple table decorations or a centrepiece for your festive get-togethers.
Light the way
Nothing says celebrations more than some beautiful lighting to make your outdoor entertaining space go from average to unforgettable! Lighting options don’t have to be expensive and are often easy to install and come with variable colours and lighting effects that can be perfectly matched to your festive occasion.
String lights wrapped around pillars, windows and doorways or along ceiling lines will give the area an instant lift and create a lovely glow and mood. Other options include lanterns that can easily be moved about and placed in a quiet sitting nook, or hung from a pergola or tree branches or LED strips which are readily available and are easy to install under outdoor cupboards and around decking.
Add an extra layer of festive cheer
If you want to add an all-over, extra layer of cheer during the holidays, why not consider including some easy-to-install and remove hanging decoration? A classic wreath can adorn a door, or be suspended on some ribbon from the alfresco area to add that special touch. Candles are also a great addition to any space, not only to create a beautiful ambience but also to provide a lovely scent. Create focal points by grouping candles of various heights and sizes, or hang them in glass jars throughout your space to create beautiful soft lighting effects.
Another option is to use a small potted live tree as a feature. Once decorated, you can add it to a table or lounge area, or for real impact place multiple trees across the edge of the decking or along an entranceway. And as a bonus, you can use it again next year.
A garden adds an elegant yet informal setting over Summer for outdoor dining and is quick and easy to set up by using your existing outdoor furniture or bringing your indoor table and chairs outside. The yard is also the perfect setting for adults to enjoy relaxing, whilst children can explore the garden and play close by. Don’t forget some spray or candles to keep mosquitoes at bay.
A table can be dressed as informal or stylish as you like, from simple paper plates for easy cleaning up to an elegant tablecloth and dinnerware. Set the table by choosing a theme or a colour palette to take the festivities up a notch, or simply decorate by placing greenery along the centre, or flowers or candles in vases or jars dotted along the table. If you are stuck for ideas, a quick look online will give you some great table decorating ideas for every occasion.
Umbrellas for great for providing protection from the sun during the day, and great for using as a backdrop for string lights or lanterns at night to create a relaxed atmosphere. Why not consider setting up a drinks station underneath reducing the need for travelling to and from the house to top up guests’ glasses and keep drinks protected and cold. Another option is to place a table underneath to create a buffet-styled station allowing diners to help themselves to food. This creates less work for the host and allows everyone to enjoy a relaxed outdoor dining experience.