Even though Christmas feels like last week, the lighter mornings, still nights and the (slightly) milder weather reminds us that summer is fast approaching. Summer is a time of happiness for many because it allows us to make the most of the great outdoors – is it even summer without a cook out on the patio or a boozy food-filled garden soiree with all our favourite people? On the few days we might actually get some sun, making the most of it is essential, and if you have an outdoor space you want to get some use out of this summer, then what better way to celebrate the sunshine than a garden party? Of course, with parties and hosting, comes expense, but celebrating the great weather (and your partner’s barbecuing skills) doesn’t have to break the bank – here are a few ideas to keep the cost down and fun level to a maximum.
Write a shopping list
Shopping lists aren’t just for the old, boring and super-organised. They are a great way of keeping down cost because you can head to the store and buy everything you have on the list. If you don’t have a clue what you’re supposed to be getting and just look for inspiration down every aisle, it is almost guaranteed you won’t need 50% of the things you end up buying. Garden parties often attract hungry guests and buffet type finger foods are perfect for people to just help themselves. If you don’t have time to create a jaw-dropping spread, why not go for something everyone loves? Think hotdogs with bowls full of different toppings and a basket for the buns – guests can build their own according to preference and you can keep the cost down without seeming cheap.
Get DIY Savvy
A bit of garden DIY never hurt anyone, and you would be surprised at how well you can decorate and furnish your garden without forking out a lot of money on fancy furniture. The basics required are a table and chairs when entertaining guests but this doesn’t mean you need to buy any. If you really are a dab hand at DIY then you can fashion your own out of old pieces of wood (upcycling is all the rage now) but if, like most, you wouldn’t have the first clue how to use a saw, then there are plenty of old things that will suffice as seating! Think huge old tyres with cushions, old wooden crates or even hay bales! Oh and need somewhere to chill the beers? Fill an old barrel or wheelbarrow with ice. There are a huge amount of possibilities that will not only save you money but will also look great.
Have a punch up
Buying booze is almost definitely the priciest thing about hosting a party. Whilst there is always the option of sticking ‘BYOB’ on the bottom of the invite, it’s always nice to provide your guests with a little something to get the party started. Rather than buying endless cans, spirits and mixers, why not make up a few fruit punch bowls and stick them on the table with some plastic cups? Firstly, everyone loves a fruity drink in the summer, secondly these can be done cheaply and don’t have to be super alcoholic and thirdly, the range of flavours and types you can make are literally endless – so if you want to impress why not get creating!
Stick on some outdoor lighting
It might be an obvious one, but garden lighting is a must if your guests are planning to stay after dark (and let me tell you, they are). A lot of money can be spent on alternative decorations when something as simple as lighting creates the perfect mood and atmosphere as well as being a great security measure the rest of the time. There are some fabulous outdoor LED light designs that you can choose from designed and created specifically for use outside. Whether you have decking that you want to illuminate or even want to go that extra mile and install some colour changers, there are a lot of possibilities that will save you fortunes in the long run. LED Lighting is great value for money due to using a very little amount of energy and literally staying on for a lifetime. So if you are planning on entertaining in your garden a lot – bin those halogens – your bank will thank you!
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