With the recent lockdowns and subsequent restrictions, entertaining in our gardens has never been so popular. Our gardens have become the one place we can meet up with friends and family to enjoy ourselves. What were previously just gardens have turned into outdoor bars, restaurants and spaces for birthday gatherings… come rain or shine!
I’m a firm believer in that whatever the size of your outdoor space you can turn it into a great social area. There are many different seating options you can look at ranging from simple floor cushions to a fully bespoke dining or seating area. Either way, it needs to be comfortable and cosy for when the evening starts to draw in.
Here are our top suggestions for creating a welcoming outdoor entertainment space this summer:
Hire a bell tent
A bell tent is perfect for a birthday gathering and provides a cosy place to relax and socialise (whilst also providing shelter from the inevitably rainy UK weather!). Create a warm and inviting interior with a combination of different sized cushions and blankets. A simple eating area can be set up outside using a low table (a coffee table from indoors works well for this) and a selection of cushions. This provides perfect, laid back, boho birthday vibes but can also take on a specific theme and work really well for children.
Build a banquette seating area
Creating a bespoke seating area you can enjoy well into the evening is crucial for summer entertaining. The seating can either be in isolation or around a garden feature such as a fire pit, and there are a number of ways to achieve this on a budget if you are willing to get creative!
You can construct banquette seating from pallets, concrete or even garden benches positioned in an L shape. Comfort is key and therefore we would recommend 4” foam covered in a shower resistant fabric to be applied on top of these base materials. These fabrics vary in price and design and there is a huge range of colours and patterns available. More and more fabric suppliers are releasing outdoor collections which can look and feel just like standard fabrics. Thinking practically, many of these fabrics are also mould resistant and don’t fade in the sunlight, making them perfect for an outdoor environment.
Create a dining area
This could quite simply be your standard outdoor dining furniture and shops now stock a huge range of styles to fit a variety of spaces and budgets. Again, comfort is key so seat cushions are a must. We would recommend good fitting seat pads with ties which won’t slide around and that have a good thickness for those long lazy meals that last until well after the sun goes down. If you want to create a more bespoke look with seat cushions there are some gorgeous designs to choose from and you can have new covers made using any existing pads that need an injection of colour or style.
Buy a garden swing chair
These are bang on trend this year and my prediction is that Instagram will soon be full of influencers and celebrities posing in them this summer. Forget the hammock, garden swing chairs are the new go-to for a hot summers day. They are available in a range of different designs and sizes, so whether you want to relax on your own and read a book, or cuddle up to a loved one under a blanket whilst toasting marshmallows, these are an item you need to add to your wishlist.
None of the above suggestions have to involve a high spend. If you are on a tighter budget, why not try upcycling? It is extremely easy to jazz up some second-hand furniture. For example, an old bench can be painted in a bright colour and covered in throws and scatter cushions to make it super comfortable. Footstools and dining chairs can be carried outside with a sheepskin rug to cosy them up. The eclectic seating always looks great with a few fairy lights or home-made lanterns (old glass jars reused with tea lights).
Here are some of our top outdoor fabric ranges Sunbrella, Perennials, Jim Thompson & Thaibut.