Spring is in the air and people are ready to venture outside and socialize! Do you love the view from your backyard? Are you a master gardener with an amazing green thumb? Would you love to throw an outdoor affair, but not quite sure quite how to do it?

THE ISSUE:

How do you throw a fabulous garden party so that all your friends and family can enjoy your outdoor space as much as you do?

Celebrate your hard work and enhance the enjoyment of your outside area by hosting a garden party. Hosting a garden party is a fun way to celebrate the spring season, bring friends and family together and showcase your gorgeous garden. Here are some fun tips and ideas for hosting such an event:

The Atmosphere

Provide seating with a view – Set up seating to showcase the garden. Utilize your entire backyard and not just the deck or patio. You may place chairs in conversation groupings focusing on several different areas of your garden.

Stage your lighting – Think through the stages of your party when planning lighting. If the sun will be bright when the party begins, provide strategically placed patio umbrellas or utilize an awning. If the party will extend into the evening, be sure to have candles and outdoor lighting prepared.

Add background sound – With outdoor parties, this element can tend to be forgotten. Use outdoor speakers or a portable stereo to enhance the mood and energy of your party with music. You may also wish to add a series of tranquil sounds if you want your guests to have a certain level of conversation or experience.

Tell unwanted guests to bug off – One of the most important, but often forgotten elements of any great outdoor event, is insect control. The last thing you want your guests to do is spend time swatting away small flying insects or scratching ankle biters. Prepare the yard several hours in advance with either natural or chemical aid to reduce the influx of this natural pest.

The Table

Location – Consider setting up food buffet style indoors. Guests can come in, serve themselves then step back outside. Serving food inside will help cut down on bugs, food spoilage and will maximize your space outside. If you choose to set your table outside, use mesh domes to protect your food from flies and light candles to keep insects at bay,.

Décor and Theme – Decorate your table with potted herbs or casual arrangements of flowers picked from your garden. For major impact, arrange the table with more than one level utilizing cake stands or overturned bowls to prop up dishes. If you want to make the experience even richer, consider having guests help you plant some of your own garden as a party activity. Offer each guest a set of beautiful gardening gloves as a personal gift, a small journal or guide for gardening in your growing zone and a diagram of what you’ll be planting that day and why. Send guests off with their own starter plants and seeds to allow them to replicate the experience at home if they’d like.

Setting the buffet – Think about traffic flow when planning the buffet table. Place plates at one end, then cold items, hot dishes next and napkins and cutlery at the end. For a casual feel, place cutlery in mason jars or pails, or wrap the cutlery and napkins together and finish with a fresh flower or ribbon.

Food and Drink

Bar Setup – Place a full-service bar near the entrance of your garden so guests can serve themselves. Consider using a portable bar cart with glassware, bar tools, liquor, ice bucket and garnishes. Use a galvanized tub filled with ice to keep non-alcoholic drinks, mixers, beer and wine cool.

Cocktails – You may choose to serve a signature cocktail. Think about having this pre-mixed and available for guests in pitchers. For a refreshing cocktail, try Summer Fizz or Lemon Berry Punch.

The Menu – Keep the menu simple with foods you are able to prepare ahead of time, that way you’re not a slave to the BBQ or stove and can enjoy time with your guests. Try roast pork loin cooked on the grill ahead of time and served cold. Round out your buffet with a selection of specialty store bought breads, pitas and dips. Assorted salads can be effortlessly made the day before – think homemade potato salad, corn salad and a white wine vinaigrette atop tossed salad.

Ice Cream Bar – Think about the allure of an ice cream bar, complete with colorful dishes of roasted nuts, crushed candies, coconut, syrups and whipped cream. Serve alongside hot and iced coffee.

Potted Chocolate Mint Pudding – Consider serving mini chocolate mint pudding desserts. These adorably individualized desserts utilize mint springs, chocolate wafers and pudding to represent “dirt.”

Share your incredible garden party success stories and photos with mine this season on Facebook or Twitter!