5 Fun Garden Party Ideas for the Summer to Entertain Guests

It is no secret that I like a good garden party and if I can create a theme, even better! Every year we have around 3 or 4 parties in the summer, so if you are looking for garden party ideas, you’ve come to the right place!

Outdoor entertaining has become increasingly popular, mainly because we have spent the last couple of years only being able to catch up with our friends and family in the back garden, something we would have thought preposterous back in the golden age of 2019.

Entertaining outside is no longer seen as a summer pastime anymore either. We are no longer confined to grabbing a burnt sausage in a friend’s backyard from June to, erm June.

Garden Party Ideas

Garden dining, accessories, and furniture have surged in popularity and nearly every high-street brand is embracing garden design. There is a huge selection of garden furniture and garden accessories to choose from, all perfect for hosting a party outside. 

We can now throw a garden party all year round and I am totally embracing it.

a family enjoying an outdoor cinema with festoon lights and lanterns lit. They are watching Wizard of Oz on the big screen
Enjoying our garden at the end of October! Festoon lights, fire pits, and cozy furnishings have really transformed our outdoor spaces

It doesn’t really matter what size garden you have either. There is inspiration for all sizes, whether you have a small patio or a large lawn. It’s all in the details.

Here are my favorite garden party ideas for everyone to try out this summer, you can even grab a burnt sausage or two!

Campsite Party

Bell Tent with outdoor seating area – @grazing_baby

We’ve all grown up sleeping in a tent in our back garden as kids but these days, you can add a bit of glamour to your garden and go glamping! Get a bell tent set up and ready for your garden party. There are plenty of companies that will come and set up a bell tent for you, complete with outdoor dining arrangements.

Throw some rugs, chairs, and cushions around outside, and don’t forget the all-important fire pit to toast marshmallows when it starts to get colder and dark. Your kids (and their friends) will totally thank you for it later.

You could purchase a second-hand bell tent like this one from www.boutiquecamping.com
Hand-Painted Square Bajot Table – Pink Aqua. boutiquecamping.com
Moroccan pouffe – grahamandgreen.co.uk
Large floor cushions, £9.99 – Homescapes

A fire pit is an essential part of any camping trip, and it can also serve as a centerpiece for your garden party. Use the fire pit for cooking, roasting marshmallows, or just to sit around and enjoy.

Campsite Garden Party Food

  • Marshmallows!
  • Hot dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • S’mores (a sandwich of marshmallows between 2 chocolate digestive biscuits)
  • Campfire chilli and rice
  • Campfire beef stew
  • Foil packet meals including baked potatoes and bananas with chocolate
  • Grilled corn on the cob
  • Trail mix- bowls with nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. 

The Vintage Garden Tea Party

white iron bistro set in a garden with a brown labrador sitting next to it and an old English country house in the background.
Vintage garden tea party for 1? If you want pure vintage, @hillhousevintage is the place to go

If you fancy recreating scenes from Alice in Wonderland, then a Vintage Garden Tea Party will be right up your street (or down a rabbit hole ).

Tea Parties are quite easy to throw together as the food is easily prepared, like cucumber sandwiches, scones, finger food, and obviously a teapot (but it doesn’t have to be filled with tea!)

Using your existing garden furniture, drape a tablecloth over your table, create a floral centerpiece, and decorate your table with teapots filled with flowers, colorful doilies laid out with vintage tableware, and teacups placed on top, and of course, floral bunting!

If you have a tree, you could think about hanging a chandelier with candles from it.

Alice in Wonderland woven throw – iamfy.co
Floral Garden Bunting – boutiquecamping.com
Truly Scrumptious Plates – talkingtables.co.uk
Archive Rose Tea cup and saucer set – Wayfair

For an added twist to your garden tea party, consider setting up a putting green using a portable golf mat. Along with classic vintage games like croquet, badminton, and lawn bowling, your guests can enjoy a friendly round of golf.

You could even plan a putting contest to add some friendly competition to the party or have a vintage photo booth and the best hat contest. Encourage guests to dress in vintage attire such as tea dresses, fascinators, and vintage suits. This will add to the overall ambiance of the garden tea party.

Vintage Garden Tea Party Food

It is all about being quintessentially British by serving tea, cake, and finger foods!

  • Serve a variety of teas such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and herbal blends
  • Offer sandwiches such as cucumber, cream cheese, egg salad, smoked salmon, and chicken salad. Cut them into small, bite-sized pieces.
  • Serve scones with jam and clotted cream.
  • Bite-sized pastries always go down well. These can include macarons, mini cupcakes, and vol-au-vents.
  • Serve a platter of fresh fruit such as strawberries, grapes, and melon. This is a light and refreshing option that pairs well with tea.
  • Offer a variety of tea cakes such as lemon drizzle cake, Victoria sponge cake, and pound cake. Cut them into small slices or squares.
  • Create a gin bar and offer your guests lots of different flavored gin!

Tropical Beach Party

a DIY garden bar created with bricks and a pergola. There are swings hanging from the pergola and bar stools
I absolutely love this pergola bar by @heartsandhomesint

Why not bring tropical to your backyard? DIY bars in our gardens can be a great source of entertainment for garden gatherings and parties. It provides a central location for guests to gather, socialize, and enjoy drinks.

Build your own beach bar around a garden pergola or create your own bar out of pallets. Tiki bars are also becoming extremely popular and again, you can make your own out of old pallets and bamboo, or purchase a Build your own Bar from Wickes.

Garden party ideas could also include adding props for your guests. You could provide your guests with grass skirts, inflatable flamingoes and palm trees, beach chairs, and umbrellas to shield them from the sun.

While spending time outside in the garden, especially during summer weather, can be a delightful experience, it’s important to keep in mind the risks associated with UV light exposure. To protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, wearing polarized sunglasses with strong UV protection and applying sunscreen with at least SPF 30 is essential.

It’s also a thoughtful gesture to provide sunglasses and SPF for your guests, which can even match the style of your garden party to create a memorable and fancy experience. So, whether you’re planning a garden party or just enjoying some time outdoors, remember to prioritize sun protection for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Finally, add finishing touches like colorful tasseled lanterns, tropical-inspired tableware, and a grass skirt each for your guests. The more color you add, the better!

Image credit – talkingtables.co.uk
Boho Tassel Lantern Garland – talkingtables.co.uk
Global Gathering Seat Cushion – talkingtables.co.uk

Tropical Beach Garden Party Food

Quick and easy and straight of the BBQ is the overriding theme when it comes to food! Here are some ideas – 

  • Cut fresh pineapple into chunks and grill them on skewers for a delicious and tropical appetizer.
  • Serve coconut shrimp with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce for a beachy twist on a classic appetizer.
  • Fish tacos – Create a DIY taco bar with grilled or blackened fish, shredded cabbage, salsa, and lime wedges.
  • Marinate chicken in a sweet and tangy Hawaiian BBQ sauce and grill until cooked through.
  • Combine diced mango, papaya, pineapple, and kiwi for a colorful and refreshing fruit salad.
  • Serve up tropical cocktails such as Mai Tais, Piña Coladas, or Margaritas. Don’t forget to add a colorful umbrella or garnish to complete the beachy vibe.
  • Cook jasmine rice with coconut milk and lime zest for a flavorful and beachy side dish.

The Secret Garden Theme Party

an outdoor walled garden with a dining table and chairs. A bar sits over the table with lanterns hanging from it
You could create your own lighting by hanging lots of lanterns over your seating. Image credit – Dobbies

Set in a walled garden in England at the turn of the last century, the Secret Garden Theme Party builds on the story of a young girl finding the key to a hidden garden behind a locked gate.

The Secret Garden Theme Party would center around the beautiful rustic charm of an English walled garden, with lots of flowers, fairy lights, pallet furniture, homemade decor, and cozy vibes.

fairy lights are wrapped around a tree trunk and candles are nestled next to a garden bench
Place fairy lights around your trees and plants to give your garden that whimsical feel. Image credit: Lights4fun

Keep the table décor simple with candles and festoon lights hanging above. Put out floral-inspired tableware and serve seasonal food with a gin cocktail!

candles on a picnic bench with festoon lights hung above
Place beer garden-style benches and tables in an intimate corner of your garden and hang festoons above. Image credit: lights4fun.co.uk
Serve gin cocktails in these beautiful martini glasses. www.audenza.com
Rustic lanterns – heavenlyhomeandgardens.co.uk

Secret Garden Party Food

A secret garden theme party wouldn’t be too dissimilar from a garden tea party! Here are a few ideas to get you started – 

  • Create a fresh garden salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, and fresh herbs.
  • Serve herb-crusted chicken with a side of roasted vegetables for a hearty and healthy main dish.
  • Offer a variety of mini quiches such as spinach and feta, mushroom and Cheddar cheese, and ham and cheddar.
  • Serve fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries with homemade whipped cream.
  • Offer a variety of herbal teas such as lavender, chamomile, and mint.
  • Create flower-themed desserts such as rosewater cupcakes or lavender shortbread cookies.

The Bohemian Garden Party

a macrame hanging chair that can seat 2 in the garden
Macrame Double Hanging Seat – ellajames.co.uk

Finally, how about a laid-back approach to having friends and family around in your back garden with a bohemian garden party?

This is all about creating the ultimate hygge setting in your garden with plenty of cushions, rugs, throws, outdoor parasols, and simple, natural décor. Create different seating zones in your garden where people can relax, chat, and enjoy a mojito or 3. 

bamboo and wicker tables and chairs in a forest setting
Create little seating areas for your guests to sit and chat. Image credit: heavenlyhomeandgardens.co.uk
Bali Garden Parasol – ellajames.co.uk
Boho Cream Macrame Garland – talkingtables.co.uk
icon® Boho Outdoor Cushion – Bazaar Group Ltd

Keep the lighting soft with lots of candles, serve your drinks on bamboo and rattan trays, and give your guests daisy chain garlands and flower crowns to wear. 

Boho Spice Green Candle Holder – talkingtables.co.uk
Light Up Daisy Flower Crown – talkingtables.co.uk
Give your guests a fan for those hot summer days. Bolga Fan, Khamsin – lolaandmawu.com

Bohemian Garden Party Food

Having a bohemian garden party is all about creating a relaxed and carefree atmosphere that your guests will love.

Food wise, serve – 

  • Create a beautiful charcuterie board with a variety of cured meats, cheeses, crackers, and fruit.
  • Roast a variety of seasonal vegetables such as carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes with herbs and spices for a flavorful and colorful side dish.
  • Offer a variety of dips such as hummus, baba ghanoush, and tzatziki, served with pita bread or vegetables.
  • Grill chicken, beef, or vegetable kebabs with a variety of seasonings and serve them on skewers.
  • Serve a variety of fresh fruit such as watermelon, berries, and grapes for a refreshing snack.
  • Offer falafel served with pita bread and a variety of toppings such as tahini sauce, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs.
  • Offer a variety of iced teas such as hibiscus, peach, and mint.
A charcuterie board with cheese, crackers, grapes, almonds, salami, pepperoni, hummus, bread, olives, celery, apricots, honey and peanuts
A charcuterie board is always a good garden party food idea

We absolutely love to entertain in our garden and throw themed parties for our guests. Which theme do you think you’ll try out?

5 fun garden party ideas for the summer

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