Top Garden Party Tips
Sun's out, fun's out! Turn your back yard into a party haven with our top tips for an al fresco soirée.
It’s SUMMER! Hoorah! If you’re anything like me, then this is the time of year to socialise and party ’til the small hours. And, what could be better than a party in your own backyard? No silly taxi rides home, just fizz, canapes and all your friends and family in one place.
With that in mind, Muddy’s put together a must-have list for throwing the perfect garden party with Hampshire and Isle of Wight suppliers.
I’ll just wait for my invite through the post, right?
DECORATION & FURNITURE
Whether you have a huge amount of rolling acreage or a bijou back garden, a garden party is a perfect opportunity to zhush up your outside space.
First places first, to the garden centre! And Rosebourne in Weyhill has absolutely everything you could possibly need. Garden furniture? Totally. Fabulous outdoor lighting? Of course! Brilliant plants to turn your garden into a tropical paradise? Certainly.
If you can’t quite get to Weyhill then Bridgman has a fab selection of outdoor furniture in its Winchester showroom. They’ve also launched a new range of garden lounge furniture this year called Cliveden, created in conjunction with the National Trust. Very nice.
For something a little more sparkly, then check out the fab foliage on offer from Twilight Trees. This Hampshire-based company create faux trees – with or without twinkly lights and foliage – that you can put in your garden and basically just enjoy. No watering, no pruning, nada. Sounds like my kind of plant.
To keep your guests nice and cosy, just in case the dreaded evening chill draws in, then throws and cushions are a must. There’s a brilliant range at Muddy Award-winner No. 64 Biscuit House down in Milford on Sea and this is perfect if you’re yearning for that super-cool Scandi aesthetic (they also do some amazing pieces of glassware and crockery as well).
And, if your taste is a little more Country House Chic, then Sarah Norton Interiors has some great pieces and can also do bespoke commissions as well.
It wouldn’t be a garden party without food. If you fancy racking up the grill and BBQ-ing like its a Bank Holiday (no rain, please!) then make sure to pick up meat from one of the fab indie butchers from around Hants and the Isle of Wight. We really rate Astles Of Portsmouth in Copnor, Barlows Butchers in Winchester and over on the Island, W. W. Woodford & Son in Bembridge (Fun fact: TV Chef James Martin says that they have THE best sausage rolls in the world, I’ve tried them and they are very good!)
For something slightly different, then how about your very own portable pizza oven? We’ve mentioned Gozney’s fab Roccbox before and the company supplies commercial pizza ovens to some of the top places across the country. You can whip up bespoke pizzas in less than 60-seconds in this baby, and it can be taken indoors for the colder months as well.
For something super classy then how about canapés? Don’t worry, you don’t have to fiddle around with bits of salmon and tiny pieces of melba toast. Call in the services of companies like Little Kitchen Company or Thyme Home Cook and you can have individually handmade, perfect canapés ready to wow your guests in a flash.
Arguably the most important part of any ‘do, we’re spoilt for choice for drink down this way. Jump in the car and make tracks to the Berry Bros. & Rudd Warehouse Shop in Basingstoke. Here you can get a huge range of excellent wine for no more than you would pay in the supermarket. The staff here know their stuff as well and will be happy to offer advice to get the perfect drink for your shindig.
For something slightly stronger, we absolutely LOVE Gorilla Spirit’s Silverback Mountain Strength Gin and if you team it up with this fab recipe from Helen McGinn from The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club, you’ll be the host with the most.
If you’ve got the space then I definitely recommend hiring The Gin Tin Bar. This vintage horsebox has been transformed into a fabulous gin-slinging machine. We had the bar at this year’s Muddy Awards, along with the team’s own Gin Rummy Spirit cocktails and it went down a storm. Even if your guests aren’t big gin drinkers, they can also create bespoke cocktails, have a large selection of real ale and cider and can even do non-alcoholic drinks for your designated drivers.
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While we can live in hope that the weather allows all this frivolity, we do live in the UK and thus we are at the mercy of the Great British Summer. If you want to make sure your guests can enjoy themselves without getting soaked – and you have the space for it – then definitely think about hiring a marquee. Southcoast Marquees operate in Hampshire and Coast & Country Marquees over on the Island, and both can cover almost all requirements, set up, take down… the whole shebang.