6 Summer Garden Party Ideas for Every Type of Host

11 Jul 2022

outdoor dinner party under lights
Shaiith / stock.adobe.com

Summer is finally here which means it’s time to take our social lives outside for the season of the garden party. This time of year heralds afternoon barbecues, hazy evenings spent with jugs of Pimm’s and all-day outdoor lunches that last until long after the sun goes down. There are so many ways to host a fabulous summer garden party and it all depends on the type of party you are looking to throw and what you need to do to prepare. We've rounded up six key summer garden party ideas to cater to every type of host…

1. Relaxed Pool Party

Pool floats in water

If you're lucky enough to have a pool or a hot tub in your garden, which more and more of us now do thanks to the new trend for inflatable hot tubs, a pool party is an incredibly fun choice for a garden event. This type of party can be as excessive or as laidback as you want, so decide beforehand if you are aiming for a Great Gatsby-esque affair or if you just want a few friends round to laze by the water for the day and prepare accordingly. A big trend for the pool again this year is, of course, the ever-popular inflatable accessories, so make sure you stock up on flamingo, pineapple or even unicorn floats for your party and floating drinks holders and pool games are also a must for this year. Don’t forget to stock up on plastic dinnerware, glasses and cutlery to avoid any accidents near the water and opt for a light bite menu that your guests can graze on throughout the day.

Pool Party Checklist

Pool Party Checklist

  • A light bite menu and finger food
  • Plastic glasses, dinnerware and cutlery
  • Sun loungers and hammocks
  • Pool inflatables
  • Pool games
  • Floating drinks holders
  • Pool Party Essentials

    2. Outdoor Dinner Party

    Outside table setting
    Maren Winter / stock.adobe.com

    For a stylish outdoor dinner party, you simply need to make all of the same considerations as you would for an indoor event and just take the party outside. Stick with formal tableware, glasses and cutlery for an outdoor dinner party, but now’s your chance to update your collection to include a fresh tableware design to complement the new setting. Compile a delectable summer themed menu to delight your guests and don’t forget seasonal table decorations and centrepieces such as wildflower blooms, fruit and foliage, which will beautifully enhance the garden feel. You will also want to set the mood of the evening with atmospheric lighting, but make sure you provide enough illumination for your guests to still be able to clearly see their food.

    Dinner Party Checklist
    Gergei Erdei

    Dinner Party Checklist

  • Summer themed multiple course menu
  • Formal yet fresh dinnerware and cutlery
  • Placemats, tablecloth and napkins
  • Formal glassware
  • Summery centrepiece
  • Atmospheric yet still illuminating lighting
  • Shop Outdoor Dinner Party Essentials

    3. Barbecue Feast

    Tabletop barbecue with fish
    Group surrounding tabletop barbecue

    Is there anything better than that first barbecue of the summer? The perfect garden party choice for foodies and those that love a more relaxed atmosphere, barbecues are one of the most versatile events to throw and they can be held in the day or evening with ease. If you are an avid barbecuer, chances are you will already have all your equipment ready to go, so now you just need to make sure you have enough grilling space for a selection of meats and sides for the number of guests you are inviting and start preparing a feast your friends and family will love. Set up a table with all of the sides, relishes, and salads displayed for your guests to customise the food they get from the grill for a hearty summer party.

    Barbecue party
    Kalim / stock.adobe.com

    Barbecue Party Checklist

  • A barbecue big enough to cater to the amount of guests
  • Serveware to transport food from grill to table
  • Selection of grillable meats and sides
  • Relaxed tableware
  • Relishes and extras for guests to customise their dishes
  • 4. Al Fresco Cocktail Party

    cocktails outside with cake stands
    LSA International

    Who doesn’t love a cocktail party? Well now it’s time to take the soiree outside and throw yourself a glittering evening get-together that will be the talk of your friends all year. Easily combinable with the Gatsby-inspired pool party mentioned above, for an outdoor cocktail party you can utilise an on-trend bar cart to take your favourite cocktail ingredients al fresco, and we suggest offering just two or three tipples to keep the cocktail making simple on the night. By choosing which cocktails to serve in advance, you can also prepare them in jugs and just garnish them at the cart when the party is in full swing. Don’t forget the correct glasses for the cocktails you are serving, and to set the tone with some mood lighting, think string lights and flickering lanterns.

    Cocktails on table
    LSA International

    Cocktail Party Checklist

  • Drinks station/bar cart
  • A menu of 2-3 cocktails
  • Jugs for pre-making the cocktails
  • Cocktail glasses and accessories
  • Canapés and nibbles
  • Stylish serveware
  • Moody lighting
  • Shop Cocktail Party Essentials

    5. Lazy Summer Lunch

    Outdoor dining with flowers
    AMARA Outdoors

    Lazy summer lunches are the kinds that can span from noon until the sun goes down with relaxed conversation, good food, and free-flowing drinks. The key to hosting summer lunches is to not get too hung up on the details, just provide a simple, hearty menu your guests will love and keep their glasses topped up as the day progresses. For this type of summer garden party idea, make sure to invest in a good quality parasol to protect guests from the midday sun. Insects can quickly blight the best planned events, so look for citronella candles or other insect repellents you can place nearby to keep your dining pest-free.

    Meal on table

    Summer Lunch Party Checklist

  • A simple, hearty menu
  • Laidback tableware and cutlery
  • Tumblers and wine glasses
  • Parasol
  • Citronella candles/insect repellent
  • Comfy outdoor cushions and seat pads
  • 6. Blissful Summer Picnic

    Picnic in garden

    Picnics don’t always need to be an adventure that takes you far away from home, you can have a blissful picnic in your own back garden too. If you’ve invested in a chic picnic hamper or backpack and you haven’t had a chance to use it yet, now’s the time to treat your family or friends to a relaxed picnic party. Prepare some easy-to-eat tasty treats, lay out a comfy blanket with some outdoor cushions, and you’ll have yourself a stylish picnic setting in an instant. If you don’t yet have a picnic set, then a melamine dinnerware, glasses, and cutlery set will work, and don’t forget the cooler to keep the drinks ice cold.

    Picnic Party Checklist
    Monkey Business / stock.adobe.com

    Picnic Party Checklist

  • Non-messy picnic food and drink
  • Picnic hamper/backpack
  • Picnic blanket
  • Drinks cooler
  • Melamine/plastic dinnerware and cutlery
  • Melamine glasses
  • Cushions
  • Napkins
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