24 garden party ideas – cheap and easy ways to get your backyard party ready (2022)

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Looking for some lovely garden party ideas to quickly change your backyard into the perfect space for outdoor entertaining? You are in the right place! We have loads of gorgeous looks that you can recreate in your own space no matter what size garden you are working with. Even if your outdoor space is a balcony or a small patio, we have you covered too.

Whether your garden parties are all about the barbecue, gathering around an open fire, or simply enjoying a cup of tea with a couple of friends in a gorgeous setting, we have lots of inspiring garden ideas to help you throw a party your guests will talk about for months.

  • When you're done being inspired, hop over to our feature on how to design a garden from scratch for more clever ideas.

1. Make a garden party feel special with textiles

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

24 garden party ideas – cheap and easy ways to get your backyard party ready (1)

(Image credit: John Lewis)

A really easy way to up your garden party game and make it feel like a really occasion is to simply lay down some lovely table linen. You want to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors and make the tables outside feel just as special as they would at a normal diner party. Layer a few table clothes on top of one another for a laid back, rustic feel and match your table decor to that country vibe with wooden chopping boards, Mason jars and small vases of fresh flowers.

2. Hang candles above a table

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(Image credit: Dobbies)

Love this idea! And imagine how special it would look at night, creating a lovely glow over the table. You could really easily DIY this structure using beams (or for a more rustic look use found wood) and then just hang candle holders at different heights to create a lovely atmosphere at the dinner table.

3. Decorate your tables with garden findings

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(Image credit: Ella James)

(Video) 60+ Amazing Backyard Party Ideas 2021

The key to create lovely, country-style table scapes is lots of textures, so place jars of flowers sporadically thorough out the food and plates and trail garlands so they fall natural off the sides. Rather than buy your greenery, have a look around your garden for decor and DIY your floral decor. This will create a nice link between the table design and the surrounding garden too.

4. Give your party a camp out vibe

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(Image credit: Boutique Camping)

Even for adults, there's something so exciting about camping, and that feeling of a party turning into a sleepover. So pop up a tent or tipi if you garden and surround it with rugs, chairs and floor cushions to create a really vacation feel. Get a fire going too as it gets dark and hand out marshmallows as an after dinner treat.

5. Create a garden party theme

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(Image credit: Talking Tables)

If you're decorating your garden for the party, choosing a theme will make it punchier visually. Wish you were throwing a garden party in the tropics somewhere? Why not recreate a luscious tropical atmosphere with colorful accessories and a piñata. Add some bright cushions and hanging decorations, and you're good to go...

6. Set up a shaded area

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(Image credit: Cuprinol)

It always a good idea to create a shaded area at your garden party for people who don't like being in the sun for too long, or if your guests want a shaded spot to relax away from the main event. A parasol would do the job, but we are loving sail shades this summer, they are just so simple and stylish and add a bit of a beachy vibe to a garden.

7. Light up the garden for a night-time party

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(Image credit: Lights4fun)

To make sure your garden party continues seamlessly into the evening, prepare with plenty of outdoor lighting. Mix and match different types, from tea lights to lanterns, for a really pretty, luminous effect.

  • Find more garden lighting ideas in our gallery.

8. Please a party crowd with fresh lemonade

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(Image credit: Rex London)

(Video) How To Prepare and Design a Big Backyard Party | Holiday Makeover | Tonic

Nothing screams 'garden party' like a lemonade dispenser. Plus it adds such a cute rustic feel to a garden party. You can pick them up really cheaply on Amazon (opens in new tab) and make your own lemonade really easily using just lemons, sugar and water.

9. Find a fire pit for cooler nights

24 garden party ideas – cheap and easy ways to get your backyard party ready (9)

(Image credit: Moda Furnishings + Sandra Baker (@the_idle_hands))

If you're throwing a garden party in autumn or winter, an open fire of some sort always helps to draw everyone together. Marshmallow toasting is one of the great pleasures of cold-weather partying, especially if there are children at the party.

  • Find all our fire pit ideas in our gallery.

10. Create an indoor feel with hanging lampshades

24 garden party ideas – cheap and easy ways to get your backyard party ready (10)

(Image credit: Mind the Gap)

Give your garden party table a real indoor/outdoor feel by hanging actual lampshades above. You could just hang them from string to a tree and wind around some battery-powered fairy lights to create a more... rustic but equally lovely version of this beautiful set up.

11. Ensure your garden seating is super comfy

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(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Comfy seating is a must in the garden, party or no –and it's crucial for keeping everyone happy into the evening. We say padded with plenty of cushions is the way to go.

If your seating is naturally hard, for example, a corner bench or metal set, get plenty of cushions and blankets to create a cozy atmosphere.

12. Create a party ambience with an outdoor speaker

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Want to really get the party started? You need music. And while you don't want to annoy all your neighbors with an overly loud sound, a tinny old speaker won't do, either.Go for a portable speaker that you can easily bring out into the garden and move it around should you need to. Then you just make sure you have a banging playlist ready to go!

  • Find the best outdoor speakers in our buying guide.

13. Love garden party food? Build an outdoor kitchen

24 garden party ideas – cheap and easy ways to get your backyard party ready (13)

(Image credit: Ikea)

(Video) Party Appetizer Buffet Table - Galore Of Flavors

If you are seriously into your al fresco dining, then consider building an outdoor kitchen. This is a particularly worthwhile investment if you entertain frequently – imagine the time and effort saved by not having to carry endless dishes back and forth between your kitchen and garden.

  • See all our outdoor kitchen ideas.

14. Get an outdoor projector for garden movie nights

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(Image credit: Cuprinol )

There's nothing like ending a successful party with a late-night film screening. Technically, for an outdoor cinema, all you really need is a sheet, or a white wall and an outdoor projector (if you're not sure what to go for, check out our guide to the best outdoor projectors (opens in new tab)), but we think it's the extras that make it all the more special. Basically, that means string up A TON of fairy lights, the more the better. We love the look of festoon lights and you could also add some lanterns to create even more of a lovely glow. And if you are feeling really extra, bring out your duvet and hang up a net canopy to create an almost outdoor bedroom. Dreamy!

Make sure your garden furniture is extra comfy by adding plenty of cushions and roll out an outdoor rug to create an even more outdoor living room feel.

15. Create home bar – instantly

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(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Bar stools are fun and create a cool and intimate atmosphere; and – if you are very lucky and have a swimming pool – they can contribute to a poolside bar look that is just perfect for a garden party.

  • Find out how to make a home bar in our guide if you want to DIY yours.

16. Create an outdoor living room

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(Image credit: Oh So Kel)

If you want to create a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere at your garden party, switch the tables for floor cushions, outdoor sofas and coffee tables. Add to that living room feel by adding plenty of throws and pop down a rug too.Be sure to avoid indoor furniture outside though – it's one of the worst patio decorating mistakes!

17. Find a great garden party dining set

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(Image credit: Lights4fun)

For a complete garden party experience – think nice, long dinner, followed by a nice, long conversation – nothing beats a proper outdoor dining set. Set your expectations high: it should be well-built, spacious, and cater to all weathers. Oh, and, of course, it should be good-looking.

18. Throw an impromptu cocktail party

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(Image credit: Cuprinol)

There's nothing like a refreshing Margarita on a hot day – or a fruity mocktail, if alcohol isn't your thing. One thing's certain: no fab garden cocktail party is complete without a gorgeous cocktail shaker.

19. Minimise food prep with a cheese board

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(Image credit: Ikea)

Don't fancy doing lots of cooking for your garden party? Especially if you'll be hosting in a small patio or on a balcony, big plates of food might not be practical. Instead, serve a chic cheese and charcuterie board that people can dip in and out of as they choose.

20. Go full rustic with low seating in a country garden

24 garden party ideas – cheap and easy ways to get your backyard party ready (20)

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

We admit that to recreate this garden idea in your garden you probably would need to live on a farm, but what could be more romantic than the idea of enjoying an evening with friends on some hay bales? If you don't live anywhere near any hay, try bean bag seating instead.

21.

22. Go boho and relaxed for an easygoing garden party

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(Image credit: Ikea)

If you don't feel like hosting a sit-down dinner, but still want to make sure your guests are well-fed, go Scandinavian and create a buffet-style table with salads, sandwiches, and drinks. That way, you won't need to worry about everyone finishing eating at the same time.

23. Combine formal and rustic elements in your dining scheme

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(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Garden design is all about mixing modern rustic and more contemporary styles at the moment, and the same goes for your garden party. Think combining rustic-style, linen napkins and cushions with more formal elements such as a candle holder and crystal glasses.

24. Be prepared for rain and shine

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(Image credit: Ikea)

It doesn't matter where in the world you are, you can bet that, as soon as you set a date for a garden party, the weather misbehaves. So, we'd always advise preparing ahead for rain and shine. Gazebos are great, parasols look pretty and are forever useful and wind/sun sail shades are a quick fix. Whichever, just make sure there's enough shelter for all. Find more of the best garden parasols in our buyer's guide.

  • Find more of the best garden parasols in our buyer's guide.

FAQs

How do you throw a backyard party on a budget? ›

Hosting a potluck is a great way to throw a backyard party on a budget—and when guests bring their own food, there's sure to be something everyone will enjoy. Host a summer potluck and have your guests bring in a dish of their choice—this way, you'll save money and you won't have to worry about cooking up a storm.

How can I make my garden look nice for a party? ›

Set the mood

'Adding light throws and cushions in summer fabrics and colours adds texture and coziness on chillier evenings. I also like to dot lanterns and candles around the garden as the gentle glow of candlelight adds a real sense of occasion and will beautifully highlight your al fresco bar or dining table.

How do you make a backyard party? ›

  1. Pick Your Backyard Party Theme. ...
  2. Decide on Your Attendees. ...
  3. Plan a Simple Menu. ...
  4. Create a Fun Beverage. ...
  5. Add Ambiance with Music & Lighting. ...
  6. Go for Eclectic. ...
  7. Get Playful! ...
  8. Keep Pests Away.

What food is good for outdoor party? ›

Backyard Party Foods
  • 100+ Best-Ever Party Appetizers. ...
  • Joy the Baker. ...
  • Creative Slow Cooker Dinners. ...
  • Potato Chip Crispies. ...
  • Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken (Just 7 Ingredients!) | foodiecrush.com. ...
  • Beer Batter Hush Puppies Recipe. ...
  • Oven Baked Ribs with Chipotle BBQ Sauce. ...
  • Grilled Shrimp with Mustard Sauce | foodiecrush.com.

How do you have a low waste party? ›

How to Throw a Waste-Free Party
  1. Make a plan to divert food scraps. ...
  2. Opt for reusable cups, plates, napkins, and silverware. ...
  3. Use reusable bags. ...
  4. Use reusable food storage containers. ...
  5. Keep decorations simple. ...
  6. Set recycling and food scrap bins next to trash cans.

How can I make my garden look good with no money? ›

These budget garden ideas will get you inspired to transform your space, without splashing the cash.
  1. Repurpose old wooden crates to make stylish shelves. ...
  2. Use old jars as mini planters. ...
  3. Try DIY terracotta candle holders. ...
  4. Create a cool, industrial-style aesthetic with oversized planters. ...
  5. Make an upcycled hanging planter.
1 Apr 2022

What time should a garden party start? ›

The best time to start your party is at around 1 pm – serve up some snacks upon arrival of the guests that they can pick at throughout the day, and you could bring out the BBQ at around 4 for a feast. The earlier you start the party, the earlier it will finish.

How do you entertain guests at a garden party? ›

Giant Games

When it comes to party games, you can go big in the garden – try giant Jenga or chess, chequers or connect four. For great summer party entertainment you can also make up your own fun games, like scattering the garden with giant cushions for a big game of 'floor-is-lava'!

What do you put in the ground for an outdoor party? ›

What Can I Use As Temporary Flooring Over Grass?
  • Portable Outdoor Tile.
  • Matrax Light Duty Pedestrian Mats.
  • StayLock Tile Perforated Colors.
  • Black Diamond VersaMats.
  • Liberty Ground Protection Mats.

What kind of music do you play at a garden party? ›

Garden party music can be anything from a soothing string quartet or string trio to an enlivening steel band or an exotic Mariachi band.

How do I make a party vibe at home? ›

To have a good house party, make a killer playlist in advance so you can play great music all night without having to think of good songs on the spot. You should also come up with a few games or activities to play, like cards, karaoke, or beer pong if you're old enough, so your guests don't get bored.

What should I serve for 25 guests? ›

20+ Inexpensive, Easy Meals for Large Groups
  • Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
  • Hearty Baked Penne Pasta.
  • Tasty Taco Bar.
  • Crockpot Breakfast Casserole with Bacon and Gruyere.
  • Killer Carnitas.
  • Chicken Spaghetti.
  • Easy Ham and Cheese Sliders.
  • Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos.
7 Nov 2022

How much food do I need for 30 people? ›

The easiest rule is the “One Pound Rule.” Provide one pound of food for each adult guest (not including drinks or dessert).

What can I use instead of a party bag? ›

10 Alternatives to Birthday Party Goody Bags
  • A Storybook Surprise. Scholastic offers a large selection of books for all ages at reasonable prices, some as low as 99 cents. ...
  • Charitable Children.
  • Customized Cookies. ...
  • Activity to Go. ...
  • Music. ...
  • Earth Friendly and Fun. ...
  • Personalized Pillowcase. ...
  • Personalized towels.

What are 5 things you can do to reduce waste? ›

Eight Ways to Reduce Waste
  • Use a reusable bottle/cup for beverages on-the-go. ...
  • Use reusable grocery bags, and not just for groceries. ...
  • Purchase wisely and recycle. ...
  • Compost it! ...
  • Avoid single-use food and drink containers and utensils. ...
  • Buy secondhand items and donate used goods.

How long should a backyard party be? ›

When planning an outdoor party, one should plan for the gathering to last around five to six hours.

How do you throw a perfect party? ›

9 Ways To Throw A Successful Party
  1. Create an Enticing Invitation.
  2. Invite an Interesting Group of Guests.
  3. Use Festive Décor.
  4. Lighting is Super Important.
  5. Create a Lively Playlist.
  6. Incorporate Thoughtful Details.
  7. Offer Mouthwatering Food.
  8. Serve a Mix of Cocktails.
1 Jun 2021

How do you style a small backyard? ›

For small backyards, position your patio table and chairs against a fence or wall to take advantage of the privacy, but angle the chairs outward to create the feeling of more space. Containers with colorful blooms and an outdoor rug give the space interior-like comfort.

How do you entertain guests on a budget? ›

How to entertain on a budget
  1. Plan ahead. Pre-planning your menu can save you plenty. ...
  2. Decorate with white. There's a reason top stylists love white. ...
  3. Set the mood. ...
  4. Serve one signature drink. ...
  5. Swap a cheese board for spiced haloumi skewers. ...
  6. Prepare food to share. ...
  7. Finish with a crowd favourite for dessert.

What music do plants like the most? ›

For most plants playing classical or jazz music caused growth to increase, while harsher metal music induced stress. This may be because the vibrations of metal music are too intense for plants and stimulate cells a little too much. We think of this like massaging your plant with a song – they prefer a gentler touch.

What is the best music for a party? ›

Top 20 Party Songs
  • Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars- “Uptown Funk” ...
  • Pharrell Williams-“Happy” ...
  • Bon Jovi-“Livin' On A Prayer” ...
  • Usher ft. Lil Jon and Ludacris-“Yeah!” ...
  • Journey- “Don't Stop Believin'” ...
  • Beyonce- “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It” ...
  • House of Pain- “Jump Around” ...
  • Silento- “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”
1 May 2022

What songs do you play at parties? ›

Song Selection for a Dance Party

“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. “Don't Stop Believin'” by Journey. “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars.

What are some cool party ideas? ›

Classic party themes (16)
  • Halloween Party.
  • Pirate Party/ Treasure Island.
  • Hollywood.
  • Fancy Dress (anything goes)
  • Wild West.
  • Under the Sea/ Nautical.
  • Famous Dead People.
  • Heroes vs Villains.
1 Apr 2022

How do you throw a last minute party? ›

With such a short time to plan, there was no planning.
...
5 Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Party
  1. Post an event page on Facebook. Keep the message simple. ...
  2. Tell people what to bring. ...
  3. Serve cheap (but good!) ...
  4. Hit up Trader Joe's for snacks. ...
  5. Don't forget the music.
6 Sept 2017

How do I make my house party special? ›

Top Tips To Make A House Party Amazing
  1. Lighting will set the mood. Whatever you do, don't leave overhead lights on, the brightness will kill the atmosphere before the party has started! ...
  2. Decorate. ...
  3. Move furniture around. ...
  4. Hire a DJ. ...
  5. Book a photographer. ...
  6. Serve bowl food. ...
  7. Stock up on drinks. ...
  8. Plan a midnight snack.
25 Aug 2017

How do you make a small party fun? ›

20 Fun Things to Do at Any Party
  1. 01 of 20. Have a Themed Dance-Off. ...
  2. 02 of 20. Plan an At-Home Trivia Night. ...
  3. 03 of 20. Opt for Board Games. ...
  4. 04 of 20. Turn Your Place into a Casino. ...
  5. 05 of 20. On a Budget? ...
  6. 06 of 20. Put on a Scavenger Hunt. ...
  7. 07 of 20. Throw a Pizza or Cheeseboard Making Party. ...
  8. 08 of 20.
5 Jul 2022

What can I cook for a small gathering? ›

Crowd-pleasing dishes that look super impressive but are actually so easy to pull off.
...
  • Cheater's Skillet Paella. ...
  • Italian Bruschetta Bar. ...
  • Cedar Plank Salmon With Blistered Tomatoes. ...
  • Slow-cooker Beef Ragu With Pappardelle. ...
  • Jambalaya. ...
  • Easy One-pan Ratatouille. ...
  • Prosciutto And Fig Salad Board. ...
  • Slow-cooker Shrimp Boil.
23 Mar 2020

How do I turn my backyard into an oasis on a budget? ›

10 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Creating an Outdoor Oasis by Emily Farris Last Updated: May 12, 2022
  1. Set the mood with string lights. ...
  2. Make your space more private. ...
  3. Create a seating zone… ...
  4. … ...
  5. Add plants (real and fake). ...
  6. Tie the room together with an outdoor rug. ...
  7. Get a sprayer nozzle for your hose.
12 May 2022

What should I put on my backyard party ground? ›

However, having people over and putting furniture on top of your yard or other items it can damage your grass.
...
7 Temporary Outdoor Flooring Ideas to Lay Over Grass
  • Interlocking Patio and Deck Tiles. ...
  • Carpeted Plywood. ...
  • Mini Wooden Decking. ...
  • Rubber Tiles. ...
  • Artificial Grass. ...
  • Rental Staging.
15 Jul 2020

How do you plan a simple party? ›

The ultimate party planning checklist template
  1. Choose a theme. ...
  2. Determine your budget. ...
  3. Choose a few date and time options for the event. ...
  4. Book an event venue. ...
  5. Arrange entertainment. ...
  6. Make a guest list. ...
  7. Order supplies if you're making your own decor.

How can I make my yard look nice cheap? ›

20 Cheap Landscaping Ideas
  1. Add a walkway. Nancy Buron, Pixabay. ...
  2. Save with perennials. Coreopsis / JamesDeMers / Pixabay. ...
  3. Spread some mulch. F. D. Richards, CC BY-SA 2.0. ...
  4. Plant flowers around your mailbox. Mohan Nannapaneni, Pixabay. ...
  5. Plant a tree sapling. ...
  6. Raise your garden bed. ...
  7. Repurpose items as planters. ...
  8. Landscape with lighting.
9 May 2022

How do I host an outdoor party? ›

15 Tips for Hosting an Outdoor Party
  1. Pick a party theme. ...
  2. Send informative invitations. ...
  3. Consider party favors. ...
  4. Design your décor. ...
  5. Plan your menu. ...
  6. Come up with a signature cocktail (or mocktail). ...
  7. Get your outdoor living areas guest ready. ...
  8. Make sure you have enough seating.
26 May 2019

What is the cheapest way to cover ground? ›

Cheap Natural Perennial Ground Cover Options
  1. Creeping Periwinkle – $1.07 per plant.
  2. Walk-on-Me Thyme – $3.99 per plant.
  3. Moss Phlox – $4.59 per plant.
  4. Violets and Pansies – Seeds range from $0.95 to $2.95.
  5. Early Snow Glories – $2.40 per plant.
15 Jun 2022

What are the do's and don'ts of a party? ›

From hostess gifts to gracious goodbyes, following these dos and don'ts will guarantee you're the best guest at the party.
  • DO RSVP. ...
  • DON'T show up empty-handed. ...
  • DO dress to impress. ...
  • DON'T assume you can bring a plus one. ...
  • DO arrive fashionably late. ...
  • DON'T hang on your host. ...
  • DO ditch your phone. ...
  • DON'T get sloshed.

What should you not forget when planning a party? ›

What Not To Forget When Planning A Party
  • Signage. It's almost guaranteed that some of your guests won't have been to your venue before, even if it is just your home. ...
  • Think Ahead. Like a boy scout, be prepared. ...
  • Check For Allergies and Dietary Requirements. ...
  • Have Activity Options. ...
  • Relax and Go With The Flow.
23 Oct 2018

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