Photo courtesy of Proven Winners.

When summer heats up, it’s time to sit back and relax in your yard. After all that hard work of weeding, planting and mulching, what better way to enjoy the season than to throw a garden party? Celebrate with these festive tips.

COZY UP THE BACK YARD

Get the yard ready by updating your accessories for a fresh look.

  • Whether it’s a plush outdoor couch sectional or simple bistro chairs, make sure you have enough seating for your guests.
  • Keep outdoor living areas cool with portable umbrellas that can easily be moved or adjusted as the sun angle changes.
  • Extend time in the garden on cool evenings by adding an inviting fire pit. Gather your guests around, make s’mores, and swap your favorite stories.
  • Need more ideas to make your yard entertainment-ready? Check out these 5 tips to help make your outdoor areas comfortable.

ACCESSORIZE WITH CONTAINERS

Dress up the yard with decorative containers brimming with colorful plants.

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with varieties that have different foliage and flowers. See 5 designs specifically created for summer.
  • Design containers like a pro with these tips on how to choose dynamic plant combinations.
  • Brighten up those challenging shady areas with container combinations that will thrive even in low light.
  • Spend some time really upping your container game with an online course from gardening expert Karen Chapman.

PICK A THEME

Host a party based on a flower that’s in season—such as sunflowers.

  • Use matching décor and supplies like centerpieces, dinnerware, tablecloths and napkins.
  • Have guests dress up in their favorite floral attire, such as floppy hats, shirts or sundresses.
  • Continue the theme with food, serving roasted sunflower seeds, nut butter, bread or garnishes made with sunflowers. Check out these recipes from the National Sunflower Association.
  • Ask partygoers to bring their own vases and set up a floral arranging table where they can make their own sunflower bouquets to take home. This will give them something to remember the party by long after it ends.

SET THE MOOD

Design by: JJ De Sousa. Photo by Janet Loughrey.

Nothing says magic and romance more than twinkling lights at night.

CREATE A “HAPPY HOUR” GARDEN

Grow a medley of herbs, fruits and vegetables, and make cool drinks with ingredients fresh from your garden.

  • Learn more from C.L. Fornari in her book, The Cocktail Hour Garden.
  • Drinks don’t need to be complicated. Mix up some fruity sangria ahead of time—like this California Citrus Sangria—so you have more time to relax and enjoy your guests.
  • Have all you need to create garden-inspired cocktails at your fingertips. Plant-A-Bar from Gardeners Supply lets you grow what you need, right where you need it.

GROW YOUR OWN PARTY FOOD

Photo courtesy of Proven Winners.

Use fresh ingredients from your garden to whip up a delicious meal.

PLAY GAMES

After drinks and appetizers with your guests, set up some outdoor games and get active.

  • Bocce ball has become immensely popular in recent years. Learn how to build a bocce court in your own yard. Accessorize with this leather bocce ball set.
  • Invite your guests to play cornhole, a folksy, down-home game that people of all ages can play.
  • Nothing says garden party elegance like a game of croquet. Even your best-dressed guests will want to indulge.

TAKE THE BITE OUT OF BUGS

Keep pests off your guests without using chemical bug sprays.

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