How to Host A Great Family Garden Party

AD Warmer days are the perfect time for inviting family round and having a catch up. So why not make the most of the weather and have a party outside? In the summer, gardens are great for family gatherings because of the open space and relaxed atmosphere. 

Once you've agreed a date and invited everyone you'll need to do a little prep for your party, especially if your garden has been neglected over winter. These tips will quickly get your garden sorted and you on track to hosting a great family party without requiring lots of time or skill. 

Children sitting on a picnic mat at a garden party eating ice lollies
Making sure your family party is child friendly requires a little planning

Tips For Hosting A Child Friendly Family Garden Party

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Make It Safe

The first thing to think about when you have guests in your garden is safety. Even if your own children are regularly playing out there it is amazing how throwing even one additional child into the mix changes things. Your children might know that they are not to touch certain plants or go in particularly areas, but new children won’t. They will be looking everywhere and experiencing everything. 

  • If there are old broken toys or furniture now is the time to take them to the tip. 
  • Make sure that any tools and broken items are out of sight and ideally locked away. You might want to look at new garden storage options to help. Not only will this make your garden safer but it will make it tidier too. You can get garden storage sheds and boxes of all sizes to suit your space and many of the more modern designs are really fast to assemble and need very little maintenance. We choose the additional hassle of putting together and caring for wooden storage because I prefer how they look, but if you have a space out of the way then there are sturdy plastic options are a great option. 
  • One of the best tips I have heard for making a home toddler proof also applies to the garden: get down on your hands and knees and look around to see if there is anything you can see that’s a hazard at that level that’s not normally obvious to your adult level eyes. Maybe get your children to help too.
  • It’s not just children’s safety you need to think about; adults at parties can easily get distracted or unsteady, especially if you are serving alcohol, so check if there are any uneven paving stones or trip hazards that can be made safe or sectioned off.

A small storage shed with the door open and a lawnmower inside
Use garden storage to hide anyway tools and equipment (featuring Mercia 3 x 5ft Tongue & Groove Pent Mower Store from Very)

Plan Garden Party Activities For Children

Adults at a party are normally more than happy to sit around chatting and you can encourage this by arranging seating areas in an inviting way. Depending on how many guests you are expecting either have one main area where everyone can be in a group and talk to each other, or have a number of breakout areas so people can talk in smaller groups

Children need a little more consideration and while they will find a way to entertain themselves it can be hard for shy children to initially join in. To help parents relax have activities to encourage children to occupy themselves, and you can plan activities that might be less hazardous to your garden and party than what they may come up with on their own.

Football is an obvious and easy choice, but in the size of most gardens children will be playing close to food, drink and people so the last thing you want is a large ball flying around. Choose a combination of activities that are easy for children to share, that they can do on their own and that will cause minimum destruction.  Good options include:

  • Bubbles - you can get individual bubble wands or the supersize bubble kits that everyone will love.
  • An obstacle course - cones are particular good for this and versatile, but you can use most garden games you have like skipping ropes, hula hoops, ring toss and pop up tunnels
  • Egg and spoon race.
  • Colouring books and pens - a great option for if any of the children want some quiet time.
  • Board games - many of the games your children enjoy indoors can work well in the garden at a party. 
  • Fence painting - don’t worry I’m not going crazy, this great activity just requires a fence (some walls work too), paintbrushes and water. Wood, some bricks and even paving changes colour when wet. Give children water and a paint brush and they can create pictures which will vanish when dry leaving no permanent marks. Make sure you take a photo of any artwork you don’t want to lose forever.
  • Scavenger hunt - create a list of things to spot in your garden and print it out for children to tick off as they find them. You could include insects, types of plant (include a picture of the leaves so they know which ones to looks for) and even people who are going to be at the party.

A child looking through a large magnifying glass with lots of toys on a table behind
Have plenty of activities to keep children entertained at the family party (featuring home Vida 5ft folding table from Very)

A Low Maintenance Garden Makeover

You won’t want to spend a lot of money transforming your garden so start by tidying up by cutting the grass, sweeping up leaves and pulling up any weeds on the decking or patio.

Then you can quickly make your garden look party ready by adding some colour. 

  • You can buy ready filled planters and hanging baskets full of flowers if you want some instant flowers without any digging. 
  • Colourful garden furniture is lots of fun and Very have some great low cost options like the Everyday Hawaii Bistro set and sunlounger (shown in the images below) .
  • Balloons are an easy and cheap way to add colour, but you have to be careful with placement and securing them so they don’t pop or blow away. 
  • Bunting or paper garlands are another great option to make your garden look party ready and they are reusable. You can buy some, make your own from fabric or get the children involved decorating paper that you can staple or tape to string.
  • If you expect the party to go on late then think about lighting. You can get lots of outdoor lights that will add a bit of magic to your garden as the sunsets. Choose designs which are solar powered or battery powered with a timer for extra ease so they come on automatically.
  • You might also want to think about garden heating as the temperature can cool when the sun goes down.
2 blue fold up chairs and a small table in a garden in front of a flower bed
Garden furniture doesn't have to be boring or expensive (featuring Hawaii 3 piece bistro set from Very)

Organise your food and drink

People tend to naturally congregate around food and drink so if you want to keep everyone in the garden rather than heading inside you need to have the food and drink outsude. Ideally choose a shady area and lay out a selection of snacks and drinks for people to graze from. 

Choose foods like crisps and nuts which will be ok uncovered for longer periods and then bring out other food in one go so it won’t sit around for long. 

A BBQ can be a nice idea, but if you have children around it introduces an additional hazard as you’ll need at least one adult supervising at all times, even long after you have finished cooking as it will retain heat. 

Garden parties encourage a laid back relaxed atmosphere (featuring Everyday Hawaii Sunlounger from Very)

Plan For The Weather

Of course we live in the UK and the weather can not be guaranteed so you need to plan for it not being perfect, whether that's rain or extreme heat.

How To Prepare Your Garden Party For Rain

 If it’s going to rain all day you might want to move the party indoors, but if the weather is more variable then gazebos can help keep the party going outside. A good size gazebo with removable walls is an investment (I look on with envy every time I go camping), but if this is out of your budget ask around your friends and family to see if there are any you can borrow. There are also companies you can hire gazebos or small marquees from, which has the bonus that they will put them up for you and you don’t need to worry about long term storage. 

Children won’t necessarily want to be limited by wet weather so a few umbrellas can be fun, or for a less pointy option child size ponchos work well.

3 children having fun and eating ice lollies on a picnic blanket with red flowers
Keeping cool with ice lollies (featuring Regatta Orla Kiely picnic blanket from Very)

Ways To Keep Garden Party Guests Cool In The Heat

Really hot weather can cause problems for garden parties too. You need to ensure your guests don’t over heat, that they don’t get sunburnt and they stay hydrated. Ideas to keep guests call include:

  • Having a gazebo to provide shade if you don't have much natural cover.
  • Maybe have a selection of fun hats people can borrow
  • Have large buckets of ice and water to keep cans and bottles of drinks in.
  • Get multi packs of ice lollies or ice pops and offer them round regularly. Don't worry about posh ice cream as it will melt quickly.
  • Water play is a great way for children to keep cool. Water guns often end in tears, but reusable water bombs, or a small, shallow paddling pool are good options. 
Whatever the weather I hope you have a brilliant party and make lots of wonderful memories

Disclosure: this post is in partnership with Very, but all thoughts are my own.

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