As the days grow colder and the nights longer, garden parties may seem like a distant memory, but you don’t have to stop entertaining outside during the winter months.
How can you enjoy your garden in the winter?
Frosty leaves and red skies can make the winter months some of the most beautiful and best times to go outside. Stay warm and enjoy the freshness of winter with our favourite tips on entertaining outside.
If you’re hosting an outdoor party, it’s essential that you have comfortable furniture. Choose high-quality hardwood furniture: a teak outdoor bench is a great choice as it can withstand weathering without protection for years. Adorn your garden bench with outdoor cushions and throws so your guests can warm up in comfort.
No garden party is the same without plenty of table space! Invest in a matching table so your guests can relax and enjoy drinks and food all night.
Light a Fire
It may sound obvious, but the main thing you need to remember when entertaining outside during winter is to keep your guests warm and dry! One way to keep everyone snug is to add an outdoor fireplace, fire pit or chimenea to your garden. Fires are a great focal point and are a great way to get guests to gather around and chat.
Fire pits are relatively inexpensive and can be permanent or mobile fixtures. Transportable fire pits can be bought at most big hardware stores. Compared to electrical heaters, fires are much cheaper to fuel. If you want a more permanent fixture, you can pick up all the tools and equipment you need to add your own fire pit to your garden landscape.
Chimeneas are freestanding structures in which you can build a fire. They are an inexpensive and attractive addition to a winter garden party, perfect for keeping guests toasty. Stay safe when lighting a fire in your garden. All fire pits and chimeneas should be situated on a level layer of concrete or stone to prevent them from tipping over.
You can also get portable outdoor electric heaters which are easy to use and with none of the risks of an open flame. Portable heaters are available in a wide range of styles and are a great option if you need a quick and easy heat source for your guests!
Outdoor Rugs & Blankets
As well as keeping your guests warm with heaters, if you’re entertaining outside it’s a great idea to get some outdoor soft furnishings. There are few things better than snuggling up under a thick blanket with a warm drink. Make sure you have plenty of cosy blankets and throws for your guests to use as they like.
An outdoor rug is a brilliant way to keep your guests warmer by covering a cold patio or lawn. This also uses to colour and texture to bring your party together.
Create an inviting and cosy atmosphere by using outdoor lighting. Light candles (you can never have too many) and string warm white LED fairy lights around your garden for an enchanting and welcoming environment for your guests. It gets darker earlier and earlier during the winter months. If your guests are arriving after nightfall, make sure the front of your house is well lit with soft, welcoming lights to guide them and set the mood for the party.
Warming Food & Drink
When you’re having a gathering or throwing a dinner party outside, your guests will thank you for making sure they have plenty of warm food and drink. Some good ideas for food when entertaining outside include: -
- soups and stews
- hog roasts
- hot pastries and finger food
- shepherd's pies
Hot drink ideas include mulled wine and cider, eggnog, hot chocolate and coffee. Always be sure to stock cold drinks as well as hot so everyone is catered for (warm beer isn’t generally received well!). Cheese and chocolate fondues are also a favourite for outdoor dining as they involve everyone and require a minimum amount of cutlery.
Part of the fun of entertaining around a fire is that guests can cook their own food. Marshmallows, sausages and toast on sticks is a great way to get people involved and gives your guests an excuse to gather around the fire.
Patio Curtains & Gazebos
For that extra bit of luxury, construct a stunning contained space in your garden using patio curtains or a gazebo. This keeps out the wind and creates an inviting and cosy atmosphere.
You can use outdoor curtains or roll-up bamboo screens to give your party more privacy and contain the heat. If you have a fire pit or chiminea, make sure you keep your curtains at a safe distance from the flames to avoid a fire hazard.
Make It Fun
Make staying warm part of the fun of hosting outdoors. Ask your guests to wear their warmest winter jumper. Play party games that get you moving like charades, and play music to get people up and dancing. Entertaining should be fun for the host, too. Your guests will have more fun if you’re enjoying yourself as well. Don’t get stressed: pour yourself a hot drink, wrap up warm and enjoy a beautiful winter evening in the comfort of your garden!
Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean you can’t throw amazing outdoor events. With our tips, you can throw the perfect evening, dinner party or small gathering that is as stylish as it is welcoming. Stay warm!