Remember those long hot days and warm summer evenings when you can sit out under the stars till the early hours? We’ve had a taste already this year and with summer upon us at last can imagine that for once we really do live in the Mediterranean!
Now with a few well-chosen accessories, you can easily create the look, the mood and feel to complete the scene
For late evening alfresco dining, lighting is essential as the evening draws in. So as part of your preparation, hanging string lights through trees, along fences or wrap around pergolas. It’s a really easy way to add a touch of sparkle and now some solar driven lights have improved technology, you need not worry if there’s no outdoor socket nearby.
Don’t neglect the edges of your garden either, an ingenious way is to pop a few statement lights in either your borders, in a group in the lawn or if you have a small backyard then plant pots will be just as good.
Solar Starburst Lights are stunning at dusk when they just burst automatically into action!
Rechargeable lights are perfect for any alfresco parties too.
Charge them through the day on a USB plug and then in the evening hang them from trees, lamp stands or simply place on the table to allow the guests to see what they are eating!
Most good quality rechargeable lights will run from 8 to 12 hours, plenty of time for serious partying.
If you are a traditionalist at heart, then of course, nothing but candles will do! Then add a warmth and movement that technology struggles to match.
Look for good, large lanterns that are large enough to stand on the floor.
I always position lanterns on the edge of steps or pathways to light the way – especially important at the end of parties when the wine has flowed, the light is dimmer and the guests are a little less nimble on their feet than at the start of the evening.
Of course with the British weather, not every evening will be warm and balmy, so perhaps think about a fire bowl for your summer soiree?
You can choose simple fire bowls where you and your guests can snuggle round and get cosy – or have one which is big enough and tall enough to double up as a relaxed BBQ.
If contemporary is more your style, then the stainless steel and aluminum one by Dancook, just exudes Danish style.
With any fire pit or fire bowl the key is in the lighting, don’t leave it to the last minute, plan ahead.
Make sure the logs are dry and seasoned, light the logs well before the party starts, so that by the time the guests have arrived the fire is hot and smoldering, not just a pile of damp logs smoking away; no-one wants to smell like a bonfire the next morning.
Finally, if you strive to be the hostess with the mostess and are looking for an practical way to make life easy, carrying out drinks, nibbles, food etc, invest in an alfresco drinks trolley or some gorgeous outdoor tray tables.
There are trolleys or side tables now that have integrated trays, so the top of the trolley is a tray and a table top in one and still with great style.
We are not talking about the 1970’s Hostess Trolleys and choose colours that complement your outdoor furniture; be bold and enjoy!